Not many people saw that coming. And certainly none of the pollsters.
So what impact will a Trump presidency, and a Republican controlled Congress, mean for distributed energy expansion both in the US and globally? Here is a first Delta-ee view.
What will change
US support for the global effort to fight climate change will weaken. Trump has said he will ‘cancel’ the Paris agreement. Since most distributed energy systems are also low carbon, this is not good news.
However, in the US, many of the support programmes are State rather than Federal based, so that will mitigate the impact. And at a global level, the rest of the world will carry on, slowly but surely, responding in its own ways.
China will continue to act because of its air quality problems. India has similar problems – consider this week’s crisis in Delhi. And Europe will continue to act because Europeans generally think that it should. We therefore expect energy consumers and companies in these regions to continue to deploy distributed energy, CHP, microgrids and energy storage increasingly strongly.
In effect, arrival at the long-term destination of a decarbonised global energy sector remains, in our view, inevitable. Trump won’t be able to change that, but he might delay it.
What won’t change
Consider three of the main drivers of distributed energy systems and emerging microgrids:
- Energy system resiliency challenges will be with us for decades. Distributed systems and smart network controls are already playing a growing role in responding to this challenge. Fragilities in global energy infrastructure, and in the US especially, have not gone away. If anything, we expect this driver to strengthen.
- The costs and performance of clean energy technologies will continue to improve. While US deployment and support for low carbon technologies will fall, global deployment and associated cost reductions will continue to expand.
- Energy consumers will continue to demand better service, more reliable supply, more control and lower prices. We expect these needs to be increasingly met by an integrated mix of traditional infrastructure upgrading alongside new distributed systems.
Overall therefore, after the drama of election day it’s easy to think that the world will never be the same again. In reality, we think it unlikely that we’ll be radically changing many of our distributed energy deployment forecasts (our US gas engine deployment forecasts are shown below) and when it comes to global macro energy drivers - we don’t expect much to change.
Delta-ee. US stationary power gas engine deployment. 2015.
Note: This does not include the portable and rental gas genset market.
For information on both Delta-ee’s Global Distributed Power Service and our upcoming international Micro-grid research, contact [email protected]