A top executive at Siemens innovation unit, next47, sparked some debate at an energy summit in London last week, when asserting that distributed energy would rule the future power mix.

Susana Quintana-Plaza, Partner at the unit dedicated to fostering disruptive ideas and new tech development, was a panellist at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit when she stated, ‘the long term future of energy will be different . For me it’s in distributed energy.”
Susana Quintana-Plaza speaking at the Bloomberg Summit
“The long term future of energy, especially when you look at developing countries, is not going to look anything like what we have here”.

“In developing countries there will be no need to build large plants, transmission and distribution,” Quintana-Plaza, a former senior vice-president of technology and innovation at E.ON, pronounced. “You need billions to make these plants. With renewables it is accessible to those with millions so they are no longer the big players.”

“It is what happens with (for example) solar PV – the fact that everyone could have a solar panel on their rooftop. Renewables is a revolution. A bigger revolution is distributed renewables. That’s where the true revolution lies– it’s not about managing the big assets, how do you deliver the equipment, install and maintain it – we will see compulsive microgrids and localised systems connected.”

Her views did not go unchallenged during the emerging technology plenary discussion, with Austin Delgado Martin, Chief Innovation and Sustainability Officer at Iberdrola, of the opinion that distributed energy was part of, but not the total, solution.

District energy will be 10-15 percent of energy but for me in a world that’s connected- with all of that district energy interconnected. I think we are here to think big. It’s not about two power systems that are able to charge electric vehicles during the night. The power system will not be isolated but the opposite.”

Steven Martin, VP and Chief Digital Officer of GE Energy Connections, agreed that microgrids will be at the head of future disruption, while in an earlier session at the same event, Innogy boss Peter Terium said decarbonizing the power sector alone would not be sufficient in meeting climate targets set at Paris, with agriculture, heat and transport through electromobility also important, along with reducing demand through energy efficiency.

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