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Very similar to the way that one cannot predict the future of climate change by looking at weather conditions through the office window, the energy sector’s future cannot be assessed by solely observing current events. Energy markets are volatile and complex.
Big headlines such as Google’s promise to have its data centres and offices powered entirely by renewable energy from next year can seduce to become over optimistic for the energy and renewable energy market future. 2017 will most likely be a road to recovery and renewable energy industries will continue to evolve throughout the next year.
New information technology has already had vast effects on the energy sector over the past years, but it is far from done. New technologies enable the realization of intelligent grids and interconnected assets, but also introduce new threats i.e. the possibility of cyberattacks.
The overall inexperience in handling large-scale cyberattacks, combined with the greater capabilities of state and non-state actors, has increased the likelihood that future wars and attacks will have a larger cyber component.
The market shift towards more renewable energy is creating opportunities as well as challenges for the global energy infrastructure. Renewables are already a fixed part of the global energy portfolio but are still gaining market share. While renewables are important to further drive the battle against climate change and have many benefits such as energy mix diversification, changes in regulatory policies and the electric utility business are required to ensure continuing reliable supply.
China has already taken leadership in photovoltaics manufacturing and deployment and has now the opportunity to close the sack and do so it in policy making as well.
Fueled by the uncertainty surrounding new U.S. energy policy, China has the opportunity to move its policy positions forward and it is safe to assume it will.
The Paris Agreement is now in force. And although President elect Trump has made wild promises to “cancel” the agreement, there will be a need for substantial global investments in renewable, clean energy sources. (If nothing else sparked by other economical and political changes, such as Germany closing all its nuclear power plants.)
Philipp Lobnig, 15. December 2016, 10:59