Business vision on zero carbon energy by Felix Zhang

Business vision on zero carbon energy by Felix Zhang

“The future of the energy industry is zero carbon,” said Felix Zhang, group executive director at Envision Energy, a smart energy management company. He said the existing energy industry is mostly based on fossil fuel, and the new energy system focuses on wind and solar, but it’s still young ‒ ‘a teenager’, he said. Innovation is required to address issues and challenges. The ‘levelised cost of electricity’ (LCOE) is key for utility-scale power, said Zhang, and commented: “If we get rid of subsidies, then wind and solar are cheapest by far.” Zhang said two issues need to be addressed: the cost of energy, and the cost of synergy, and gave a recent example: when Australian power back-up systems didn’t kick in, wind farms were blamed. “Now, the Australian government is putting an auction on energy saving solutions. But how are we combining intermittent wind and solar generation in smart grids, e-vehicles and many other things to come?” The zero carbon energy system exists but the cost of synergy is key. He said big data, robotics and communication – and the Internet of Things ‒ are evolving very fast. What’s needed is ‘smooth trading action’.

Trading needs a connector

Zhang told the audience about Envision in Shanghai. “The massive transformation in trading of energy commodities needs a connector. We need a platform – he introduced Envision’s new Energy Internet, and the importance of secure technology in a trading platform. “We need to focus on being an open, cloud-based system, and we need deep insights to deal with politician and policy makers.” Zhang said it’s important to be at the forefront of ecosystems, innovations and start-ups ‒ Envision produces wind turbines and solar panels as well as applications, and is a global investor. He gave the example of SonnenBatterie energy storage, which has developed a new business model to engage consumers.

“Energy is no longer going to be a commodity, it will be free. It will be integrated in energy contracts,” he commented. “When you talk to financial investors and tell them the energy is free they freak out.” The value is in the back end, in the transaction, but the product is free at the front end.