News, Power Generation & Electrical

Digitalization will guide future renewable energy investment strategies

New industry-wide report from DNV GL highlights benefits and challenges of digital technologies for renewable energy financing as market moves away from subsidies. DNV GL surveyed nearly 2000 senior stakeholders from across the energy industry. A lack of digital mindset...

Arnhem, The Netherlands – Renewable energy investors and developers are increasingly turning to digital technology to build effective investment strategies, with almost half (47%) of the finance industry saying they have digitalization as a core part of their publicly stated strategy. This is according to new research by DNV GL.

The survey of nearly 2000 senior stakeholders across the energy industry found that with renewables projects increasingly exposed to the full volatility of the market by the phasing out of subsidies; financiers and developers are increasingly turning to digital technologies to better inform their assessment of the value and risk associated with projects, with technologies such as big data analytics being used to provide insight into optimized forecasting of asset performance, lifetime and generation levels.

The survey also highlighted the impact of blockchain, with 30% of finance respondents claiming that the technology is having an impact on their industry vs just 15% across all energy respondents. However, despite the hype around blockchain, 40% of finance industry respondents said they were not using the technology at all.

A general reluctance to take advantage of new digital technologies is born out of a lack of clear revenue streams coming from the digital world with uncertainty about clear revenue which could be generated in the future. A lack of senior level buy-in, and a lack of digital mindset was also highlighted in the survey as a bigger barrier to digitalization in the finance industry compared to other sectors in the energy industry.

While the benefits of digitalization for the finance industry are growing, the unproven nature of new technologies and how to use them, coupled with a lack of digital mindset means the finance industry leaves itself open to disruption by new market players.

“Digital technology and digitalization are instrumental to ensure the returns that will drive continued investment in renewable energy, as market mechanisms evolve away from subsidies. But for investors to make their financing decisions with confidence, the finance industry needs to better understand both the risk and opportunity of new technologies and their long-term viability, commented Lucy Craig, Vice President of Technology and Innovation at DNV GL – Energy. “By combining an open-minded approach to new technologies and an understanding of risk, the industry can take full advantage of the opportunities that digitalization brings, for a profitable future.

The new report Digitalization and the future of energy finance is available to download here.

Energy Digitalization

At DNV GL we combine our deep energy domain knowledge with cutting-edge digital technology to provide world-leading digital solutions across the power and renewables industry. We manage real-time operational data from over 24GW of solar PV, wind and storage assets through our Green Power Monitor solutions, including 25 utility scale PV plants of over 100MW each. We have analysed over 65GW of operating wind assets and our analysts review data from over 12,500 wind, solar and grid sensors each week. Smart Cable Guard, a digital system for grid reliability, detects the location of electrical cable network failures with an accuracy of greater than 99%, preventing 65% of such failures. Dutch distribution operator Alliander has recently installed 1000 Smart Cable Guard systems in its grids, aiming to become the most reliable grid in The Netherlands. We help utilities implement data-driven energy efficiency programs which have saved over 7.9TWh over the last 3 years.