Forward thinkers at DTU High Tech Summit 2019: Professor Poul Erik Morthorst, DTU Management. A comeback for Denmark as a frontrunner in renewable energy is within reach.
“The Danish history of being first mover in wind energy has provided Danish industry and academia with unique knowledge and experience on systems that are able to manage the interplay between fluctuating, renewable energy sources and other types of energy. Known as Smart Energy Systems, this field will be the key to further transition towards a fossil-free energy system,” says Professor Poul Erik Morthorst, DTU Management. He heads an ongoing DTU sector development project involving a range of private companies and other energy sector stakeholders.
Professor Poul Erik Morthorst, DTU Management
Smart Energy Systems are needed in order to achieve the international climate change mitigation goals stated in the Paris Agreement. Further, the field holds vast business opportunities. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the required investments up till 2030 will total 13,500 billion USD.
In international negotiations, 1990 is always the baseline year. Up until now, Denmark has done really well, currently being the country with the highest degree of transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Danish leadership is challenged
In recent years, Danish investments in energy research have been modest, and other nations have adopted ambitious programmes.
“Today, Denmark is challenged for the title as an unofficial world leader in renewable energy. But the growing importance of Smart Energy Systems is a chance to remain in the lead”, Poul Erik Morthorst notes: “It was realized early on in Denmark, that integration of wind energy was only possible in combination with advanced tools where we’re able to balance supply and demand of energy smoothly. By its nature, wind energy fluctuates both during the day and as the seasons change.”
Also, the timing for pushing Danish know-how on Smart Energy Systems is right.
“We see a surge in the general development of digital technologies these years: Industry 4.0, Internet-of-Things, and Big Data. Thanks to these developments, the prices of the devices and software products needed for operating highly flexible energy systems have come down. It seems realistic that it will be feasible to implement sensors widely in the energy system, and process data, and utilize analysis results in the management of the energy system,” says Poul Erik Morthorst.
Cybersecurity needs priority
At DTU High Tech Summit 2019, several sessions will address Smart Energy Systems. The focus will include concerns for IT-security and privacy issues, Poul Erik Morthorst underlines:
“It is necessary to be able to share data across the many energy sector stakeholders if we really want to create Smart Energy Systems. This obviously raises concerns about cybersecurity and privacy. We need to strike a balance between preserving consumer ownership and control of data, while at the same time allowing energy operators the possibility to make use of data. Hopefully, the overall societal goal of creating a renewable energy system and mitigating climate change will motivate policymakers to find the practical solutions necessary – and the general public to accept them.”
“It’s no use closing your eyes to the changes. We need to constantly keep up and try to influence the process.”
Professor Jan Madsen, DTU Compute