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Survey Report: IEEE PES Future Directions

IEEE PES Future Direction Sub-Committee of Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC)

IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES) is one of the most dynamic societies in IEEE in terms of long-term vision, mission and planning. PES members have been consistently contributing in the advancement of relevant technologies to keep up with the future demand. It is not an easy task to predict future trends in generation, transmission, and distribution sectors due to dynamic changes in technical, financial, social, environmental and political situations. However, there is always a great demand of knowing future directions in power and energy sectors all over the world.

The Future Directions subcommittee of IEEE PES Long Range Planning Committee took initiatives to explore the future directions in various sectors based on an extensive survey. The questionnaires for the survey were designed in such a way that major concerns in predicting future trends in generation, transmission, and distribution sectors were addressed considering technical, financial, social, environmental and political situations. A quick overview of the survey result is presented here.

Survey requests were sent to over 700 people, 28% opened the link and 67 people from 22 countries successfully completed the survey. A fair participation from industry/utility (57% ) and academia (43%) was observed. Distribution of the participants according to the geographic locations is as follows: North America = 51% (USA=45%, Canada = 6%), Asia = 13.5%, Europe=12%, Latin America=10.5%, ANZ = 12%, and Africa =1%. In view of exploring the future trends in power and energy sector, various questionnaires were divided broadly into three categories:

Technical Issues:

  • Technological breakthroughs having the greatest effect on power system
  • Possible grid architecture
  • Storage technologies to be adopted
  • Priority challenges regarding their implications for power and energy systems

Policy Making Issues:

  • Future regulatory policy
  • Priority relationship with other stakeholders/organizations
  • Relationship with other technical communities
  • Primary impediments in the progress of the power and energy sector

Financial Issues:

  • Investment in generation technologies
  • Reduction in emissions

In each case, several possible thoughtful answers were provided for the participants. Analyzing the responses provided by the participants, some quick findings are presented below.

  1. Energy Storage and Integration of Renewable Sources
  • Energy Storage is viewed as the most important technological advance.
  • Integration of renewables is the grid’s biggest challenge.

Energy storage is identified as the most vital technological breakthrough by 93% of the participants. One major reason is the rapid adoption of electric vehicles which brings down the battery costs. Among other storage elements, Li-ion and pumped hydro are expected to be adopted at large scales, fuel cells and thermal energy storage at moderate scales, and compressed air and flywheel energy storage at small scales. Integration of renewable sources is identified as a priority challenge by 40% participants considering its implications for power and energy systems.

Technological breakthroughs that will have the greatest effect on power system performance and operation

  1. Distributed Generation (DG) & Hybrid Model of Grid
  • Unanimous expectation of future hybrid grid
  • DG is identified as a potentially significant technological breakthrough

It is very interesting that no expectation is shown towards large scale decentralized or centralized grid but all participants expected the future grid as partly centralized and partly decentralized. 61% of participants identified DG as a potential technological breakthrough, which will have significant effect on power system performance and operation.

  1. Data-driven Technologies and Cybersecurity
  • Majority participants identified big data and AI as technological breakthrough
  • Cyber-security is marked as the third most important challenge

Utilities are using many digital systems and thus need to handle huge digital data with security. Cyber-security is expected to one of the major challenges considering its implications for power and energy systems. 53% of the participants identified big data and artificial intelligence (AI) (rank 3) and 45% of the participants identified cyber defense (rank 4) as potential technical breakthroughs, which will have significant effect on power system performance and operation.

Storage technologies expected to be more adopted by the grid

  1. New Business Model
  • Majority participants identified inappropriate business model as a primary impediment
  • New targeted performance based incentive policy is required

In order to deal with increasing energy storage and distributed generation, new business policies/ strategies are required. Regulation policy is expected to address targeted performance based incentives. 60% participants feel that inappropriate business model is a primary impediment to the progress of the power and energy sector and 49% participants indicated lack of government incentives/funds. On another question 54% believe that new targeted performance based incentive policy is required.

  1. Relationship between IEEE PES and Policy/Regulatory Groups
  • Participants gave top priorities to relationship with government
  • Participants also gave priorities to regional regulators and national standard boards

Given limited resources, participants expected that IEEE PES should focus strengthening the relationships with government, regional regulators and national standard boards.

Challenges regarding their implications for power and energy systems

 

  1. Engaging Multidisciplinary Experts
  • Strong relationship to be developed with computer engineers
  • need for economic and financial experts

Relationship with different technical community needs to be enhanced. 70% participants believe that strong relationship is to be developed with computer engineers and 56% participants indicate need for economic and financial experts. Some other disciplines to be noted are: Automotive and Material Engineers, Economist, Finance/risk management.

The above six findings from the survey results are expected to serve the PES community interested to know about the future trends in power and energy sectors. However, further detail statistical analysis on this survey is required to get more insights on various issues. Readers are encouraged to share their feedback and comments via e-mail (hederman11215@gmail.com) to assist the detail analysis.

William Hederman (Chair, FDSC), Chris Root, Madhur Behl, Shaikh Fattah, C.Y. Chung, Jessica Bian, Chongqing Kang, Saifur Rahman (PES President & LRP Committee Past-Chair), Frank Lambert (PES President-Elect & LRP Committee Chair)