The Cavendish Group's second Future Energy Systems Conference & Expo was held from 15–16 June, uniting leaders from across the utility and energy sectors to discuss the critical role of technology and digitalisation in delivering a future decarbonised energy system.
More than 700 energy professionals from all over the world logged into Future Energy Systems to hear a warm welcome from our Managing Director, Adam Soroka, followed by a Keynote Q&A with Lucy Yu, CEO of the Centre for Net Zero, Octopus Energy Group and one of the Financial Times' 100 most influential BAME leaders in tech.
With a revised format, this year's Future Energy Systems featured a series of 1-2-1 interviews with highly esteemed business leaders, including Ian Funnell, CEO of UK & Ireland at Hitachi Energy, Alejandro Macho Aroca, GEM Digital Strategy at Iberdrola, Miguel Ribeiro Ferreira, Director & Senior Management at EDP (Energias de Portugal), Lasse Jamt, VP Renewables and Utilities at Kongsberg Digital, Devrim Celal, CEO of KrakenFlex (Part of the Octopus Energy Group), and Michael Jansen, Chairman and CEO of Cityzenith.
During the event, more than 50 influential speakers from around the world explored the key themes of Smart Grid Transitioning, Energy Storage Technologies, Energy Transition, Microgrids Modernisation, Regulation and Conformance, and Change Management.
And after two days of bitesize interviews, thought leadership presentations, detailed case studies, and eight lively panel sessions, speakers from global utility, energy, and innovative technology companies agreed that we will not achieve Net Zero without digitalising energy services.
Delegates were told that as the world moves away from fossil fuels and towards the electrification of heat and transport, the future energy system will require not only new technologies, including Digital twin, AI, machine learning and IoT, but also new habits for consumers, new business models, new collaborations, and new regulatory and governance frameworks.
The current energy system is not fit for purpose, and Future Energy Systems underscored the sheer scale and complexity of the challenge ahead. Decentralised generation and storage, as well as clean power trading from millions of devices, including interconnected EVs and grid-scale batteries, will demand a high level of automation with a two-way flow of electricity and information.
There's no doubt that data and digitalisation will drive change towards the consumer-driven energy system of the future. It won't be easy, and although our expert panellists and presenters were optimistic about the exciting opportunities being created, they impressed the need for utilities to speed up innovation. Collaboration across different sectors will be critical, as will ensuring that every decision is taken with every customer in mind to ensure a fair and just transition.
The good news that came through the two days of Future Energy Systems is that utilities do not need to deep dive into new technology solutions. There's a lot of excellent technology out there that has already been tried and tested. The challenge now is to encourage the take-up and scale-up of these solutions at pace!