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Part 2 Transformation: Change in the Energy Ecosystem

August 21, 2017
The global energy ecosystem is changing. That is an ecosystem where collectively the world spends over US$6 trillion annually. That amounts to roughly 6% of global GDP.

GE is a company with world-leading experience operating throughout this ecosystem, whether that’s upstream production or generation and delivery. This is a landscape we understand, and it’s a landscape which is experiencing huge transformation. Here are 9 key areas to look out for.


6. Universal Access


1.2 billion people globally live without electricity. The energy industry must work to reduce that figure whilst ensuring reliable, affordable electricity to the global population in the face of a 50% increase in demand for electricity over the next 20 years.


While the number of people without access to electricity in Southeast Asia has fallen by two thirds since 2000, there are still 120 million people who lack access. Initiatives like Bright Indonesia, as well as other rural electrification programmes throughout the region, show the increasing transformation of governments to focus on those individuals missing out, assisted by innovative technology.


7. Age of Gas


Efficiency demands and a reduction in transport costs will see a growing shift towards gas-powered energy, with an estimated 28% increase in new power plants fuelled by gas in the next 10 years. This is further spurred by the increasing supply of US-produced shale gas.


In Southeast Asia we are currently suffering from a short-term oversupply of LNG which puts strain on both storage and the economics of continued production, but as the demand for gas continues to rise, this transformation will see a growing global need for this cleaner fuel source.


8. Water-Energy Nexus


There are currently 650 million people who lack access to clean water. Addressing that need in the face of a global population estimated to reach 9 billion by 2040 will require a significant transformation in the energy industry.


Water withdrawals related to the energy sector are expected to rise by 20% by 2035, with water loss in closed loop systems rising by 85%. Zero-water technologies and increased use of waste water in industrial applications will be key to offsetting this figure. Efficiency improvements throughout the energy supply chain are already saving water in ASEAN, in everything from municipal settings to oil and gas installations, and we can expect this transformation to continue as managing the water and power nexus becomes more important.


9. Digitisation of Energy


Digitisation is an opportunity which runs consistently through the challenges of this global ecosystem transformation. Digitisation can deliver greater understanding and increased efficiency throughout the entire energy supply chain. 2017 will be a seminal year in delivering these digital assets to power production in order to ensure future-proofing and increased efficiency.


Currently less than 2% of all data in the energy industry is captured, creating a huge opportunity to realise significant transformative benefits. A typical gas digital power plant could increase fuel efficiency by 3% and reduce downtime by 5%. Aside from centralised power, digitisation offers insight into every element of our consumption chain, driving efficiency through the entire ecosystem.