“After COP26, no-one would dispute that the energy sector is ripe for disruption. We have to go through profound change.”
So said Thomas Kiessling, Chief Technology Officer of Siemens Smart Infrastructure, at Enlit Europe in Milan today.
Delivering one of the keynote speeches to a packed – but socially-distanced audience – he said: “All of us will go through disruption and opportunity.”
He said the industry “has entered a much greater degree of uncertainty. And uncertainty needs entrepreneurs; it needs trial and error; and it needs system-scale innovation.”
He said the energy sector was facing similar upheaval to that already witnessed in telecoms and factory automation and said the energy system needed to move to one “resembling a patient-monitoring system during heart surgery” – one that was dynamic, self-healing and would evolve into a “system of systems”.
Did he think the energy sector was ready for this disruption? “Yes. We have a massive opportunity and we have the technology. We just have to wrap our minds around it.”
Earlier in the keynote, Antonio Cammisecra, Chief Executive Officer of Enel Global Infrastructure and Network Division, highlighted that he believed there are two pillars of the energy transition: decarbonisation and electrification.
“The past decade has been the decade of decarbonisation: the next will be electrification – to reach technology levels that were inconceivable before.”
And he added that “grids will be the core of the energy transition”.
“The networks of today are not designed to meet modern needs: we need a widespread renovation and evolution of infrastructure. We need a dedicated investment roadmap backed up by policy and companies need to implement a roadmap to net zero.”