Energy transition: The time has come for the prosumer

Prosumers, people who are capable of both producing and consuming energy, are a key figure in energy transition, decarbonisation and the smart cities of the future.

Family and solar panel.

This is a unique moment for energy transition towards a world without emissions and in this scenario there is someone who is becoming a key player: The prosumer. This term was coined in 1980 by the American Alvin Toffler, to describe a type of consumer who not only consumes but also produces.

Even though this concept has been known for several decades, it has only now started to play a leading role in the energy sector. This is someone who has gone from playing a passive role to one playing an active role, and is destined to becoming a leader in one of the greatest energy transformations in history. An era in which generation and consumption will take place at the same point.

Currently, the electrical system has transformed from a rigid, unidirectional model to one that is increasingly decentralised and multidirectional. Until recently, energy production was concentrated in large plants far from where it was consumed. But this has changed. For years, individuals, companies and communities have been entering the territory of self-consumption. That is, they have become able to produce the energy they need from renewable sources.

 

The prosumer and smart networks

The relationship between prosumers and companies in the electricity sector involves having electricity networks that are increasingly flexible and efficient. Endesa is investing in innovation to develop projects and initiatives that will help improve the processes related to the distribution network.

The Enel Group, to which Endesa belongs, currently has more than a million prosumers connected to its network worldwide. This is directly related to the group's commitment to placing the customer at the centre of its activities, thus favouring the integration of prosumers and the production of renewable energies with zero emissions. 

Solar panels in a city.

All this would not be possible without smart electricity distribution networks, also known as smart grids. As they are bidirectional, they are able to transmit electricity in both directions. This has many advantages, including the ability to transform consumers into producers. This type of network can also offer a simultaneous view of consumption and demand, which enables more efficient management.

We are involved in a number of projects to ensure that there is an effective response to the needs of users. For this, we are relying on two basic pillars: Digitalisation that will enable us to achieve greater efficiency in the processes, as well as making the electrical system work safely and securely and flexibility to be able to match the supply and demand of electricity

The Smartcity Málaga Living Lab project is one of the initiatives we are promoting to develop smart grids inside and outside the urban environment. We are also collaborating in projects to research and demonstrate the possibilities of network flexibility. This is the case of Coordinet, an initiative that is bringing together European electricity transporters, distributors and consumers to jointly design the foundations for a more open, participatory and safe electricity system.

To summarise, electricity networks are heading towards a distributed generation model, where renewable sources will play an increasingly prominent role. This will lead to people capable of generating and consuming energy making a contribution to decarbonisation and becoming pioneers of the cities of the future.

 

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