The energy market is undergoing a far-reaching structural change. On one hand, a large proportion of energy is becoming electricity-based. On the other, “electricity” itself is changing: from predictable to more volatile sources and from centralized to decentralized production (where residential and corporate customers are not only consumers, but become producers themselves), while the individual producing and consuming assets need to be connected & controlled for better use.
The current grid is not designed for this new reality. To solve the volatility challenge, a smarter grid, storage capabilities (incl. using EV batteries) & more self-sufficiency through microgrids are solutions.
Alphabet Inc.-backed Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP) funded OhmConnect seeks to build a smarter, more connected grid, incl. the possibility for a bi-directional flow of electricity. To find strength in numbers, VPPs (virtual power plants) bundle various energy resources – from individual PVs on the roof of homeowners to wind farms – and offer them on the open market. But blockchain-based direct trade is another opportunity, which is already being tested.
Car manufacturers can play an important role as well: With concepts like vehicle-to-grid (redistributing EV battery power back to the grid) and vehicle-to-home (using EV batteries to power a home especially during peak prices), the home energy market is developing into a strategic market for OEMs. Recent indicators (Ford Motor Company‘s F150 Lightning strategy, Volkswagen AG‘s move with their MEB platform) show the potential for energy optimization and savings for end-consumers. Other actors (especially Shell or Tesla) have positioned themselves as well.
In a future in which electricity is generated as close as possible to where it is consumed, individual private and corporate customers, but also multi-family homes or neighborhoods, business parks or industrial facilities will strive for self-sufficiency as prosumers through their own grids with production (e.g. PV), storage (e.g. vehicle-to-grid) and intelligent consumption management.