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Over the coming decades, the world will consume much more energy than it does today. After all, wherever access to reliable and affordable energy escalates, the people are going to enjoy higher standards of living.
That's good in a way!
But, at the same time, there is a huge population in the world that even lack access to most basic energy services. Not only this, but the climate change too remains a serious concern.
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This need gave rise to the demand of coming up with some innovations that can help both co-exist in a way that suffices the growing need of humans as well as contributes to climate control.
Energy Innovation - The Need of the Hour
Energy is primary and used everywhere - schools and commercial areas keep running, the city lights keep shining, vehicles keep moving and so on!
With the world facing an urgent need to transform its energy system, the stress on developing and deploying low or zero-carbon technologies increased on a dramatic scale.
The developed countries like the United States and Europe are already willing to change their consumption patterns and businesses to incorporate energy - precisely, clean energy, but the developing nations won't be able to afford to pay the required premium for this access.
The reason for this is simple - today's clean energy technologies like wind, solar, electric vehicles, smart grids, and energy storage are more expensive. So, there has to be some way out that these renewable energy sources are available to the world in such a way that their increasing needs are met with, but without burning a hole in their pockets.
For this, various trends have been coming up that can let the countries embrace sustainable energy solutions in a way that they even prove to be an energy saver.
Let's explore them!
Significant Energy Innovation Trends to Watch Out for in 2019
Innovation in everything, including energy storage, smart grid, and electricity generation technologies will affect each and every sector.
The energy storage will facilitate the viabilities of wind and solar power - the two energy sources that are too expensive due to the costs related to the batteries that would store the generated energy.
Presence of smart grids will regulate the flow of energy throughout the city or state.
Developments in electricity generation will improve efficiency while using fossil fuels and other renewable energy sources optimally.
But, how will all this happen?
Listed below are the trends that we can expect to not only contribute being the energy saver but also in catering the increasing energy needs of the world.
Find them below!
1. Innovative Energy Storage Facilities
You can very well balance the power supply and demand if you have an ample amount of energy stored. In fact, this is key to tackling the intermittent issues of renewable energy.
So, how to ensure the required access to energy storage?
How about pairing the energy storage system with a renewable source? This can provide you with a smooth and steady power supply even during the conditions when the weather is not in favor of generating energy.
As said earlier, batteries are a good option to store energy, but still, on account of their expensive nature, you can expect improvement in other energy storage technologies that can not only make them viable but also affordable at once.
It is anticipated that the new emerging technologies will have energy storage as a core component. Due to this, all types of storage solutions including domestic energy and utility-scale will also become price competitive - ultimately surpassing the benefits of conventional energy sources.
This significant energy storage innovation has already begun on the Caribbean island of Barbados. Here, the old electric car batteries are being reused to provide grid energy storage with the purpose of extending their usual lifespan.
2. Power of Artificial Intelligence in Microgrids
The best part of the microgrids is that they are the local energy grids which can operate both ways - freely or even by staying connected to a bigger conventional grid. These grids are not only energy savers, but also offer energy independence, efficiency, and protection during the time of contingencies.
So, how can it assist in the energy system as a whole?
Well, you must have heard about AI i.e. artificial intelligence - one of the popular technological innovations of the present time. Using the machine learning potentialities of AI with microgrid controllers, you can promote operation improvements while experiencing continuous adaptation.
This technique is spreading far and wide. Along with WorleyParsons Group, a San Diego's tech company called XENDEE has come up with an advanced toolkit for microgrid design. This toolkit aims to cater turnkey solutions in up to a 90% less time and expense as compared to other traditional methods.
3. Blockchain and IoT Can Work in Favor of Energy Systems
Blockchain is not limited to just cryptocurrency in today's time. It is used by different industries and energy market is no different. If you don't have much idea about what blockchain is -in simple parlance, it is a distributed ledger that records all the transactions through a peer-to-peer network.
The best part of using blockchain technology is that it is incorruptible.
So, using such technology in the energy system can eliminate the need for middlemen for electricity suppliers. This, in turn, will not only solve the issues of inefficient and unequal energy distribution but also empower you i.e. the end consumer to trade energy directly.
Pairing this distributed ledger with everyday devices that are used for receiving and conveying information - today known as the Internet of Things (IoT) can have a significant impact on energy systems.
Brooklyn Microgrid has already begun using these technologies, and it is perceived that with correct applications will lead to success and this technology will begin to be implemented on a wider scale.
4. Grid Parity with Diminishing Costs
If alternative energy has the potential to produce power at the cost and performance level equal to or less than traditional methods, grid parity occurs. This is the situation with sun and wind presently.
They have reached parity in both - price and performance. Above all, the backing of the new technologies is literally giving them a competitive edge over other energy sources.
In short, the renewable sources of energy are becoming efficient and self-optimized majorly because of the innovative technologies like blockchain and AI. Earlier, it was not possible to integrate the energy into the grid, but it's not the same now.
These technologies are contributing significantly to strengthening grid reliability and flexibility.
Solar and wind energy are definitely efficient and cost-effective, and with these evolving technologies, so we can expect to see renewable energy sources to be the most preferred ones of all.
5. Switching to Renewable Energy Sources from Fossil Fuels
With the aim of limiting the rise in global temperature, an increasing number of countries are coming up with emission reduction targets along with climate action plans.
If we go through the survey, around 100 cities across the globe have confirmed that 70% of their energy comes from renewable sources. Even the corporate sectors and municipalities are welcoming the transition to 100% renewable energy system whole-heartedly.
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As and when the world is getting aware of their impact on climate change, you can expect to see the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources soon in the future.
6. Advancement of Energy Access in Developing Countries
While talking about new innovations and technologies, it is also vital to remember that a significant part of the world's population is unable to get access to energy at all. Our aim should not just be finding innovative ways for energy consumption, but it should also consider global development challenges that include making energy accessible to every corner of the world where there are signs of human existence.
For this, we can come up with community-based microgrids as they can provide a cost-effective way of bringing affordable and reliable power to that section of the world that is living with no electricity. After all, the developing countries too, have the right to taste the benefits of technological advancements.
So, providing them with clean, modular and renewable energy systems should be at the forefront of our developments as this will, in turn, help these communities big time.
7. Enhanced Energy Management
This is a fact that the demand for energy will never decrease, in fact, it will definitely rise with the enhanced standard of living. Thus, looking at this situation, it is wise for the industry leaders, manufacturers and traditional leaders of energy management to come together to set some new standards that can aid in enhanced energy management.
On Ending Note:
The international groups like the World Bank and SEforALL are coming up with new energy saver technologies that will further lay a foundation for providing access to the developing countries. Once the cost and performance metrics begin to improve, you can expect to see renewable sources to be increasingly deployed worldwide.
This will, in turn, provide power to areas that have been in the dark for years.