Energy Policy Scenarios to 2050
10.1.2. Stationary End-Use
Stationary end-use is an important and growing area, encompassing innovative energy efficient technologies. In this area, technological innovation is likely to lead to significant change through the application of more and more novel materials and processes, e.g., nanotechnology for energy supply, or ceramics and other materials to improve the efficiency of electricity transmission and distribution.
The pervading cultural and socio-economic climate will heavily influence the implementation of innovative technology. Key is the development of working and living practices and the development of the "knowledge society." As society becomes ever more knowledge-based, driven by increasingly intelligent systems, the pattern and form of energy consumption will likewise change. Telecommuting and virtual teaming will change the face of our social interactions and also significantly influence energy consumption (hence, supply). Matching the energy supply to these evolving, and potentially more efficient, usage patterns is essential.
Step changes are also important to recognise and encourage. In recent history, technology has gone through evolutionary stages, from slow improvements (e.g., water-heating efficiencies) to large leaps (e.g., compact fluorescent bulbs). Both processes will undoubtedly continue; however, encouraging technological leaps is essential to long-term management of the demand side. The process of innovation should not be stifled and methods for testing and deployment should be encouraged.