The future of energy is a global concern. This includes searching for new energy sources and transitioning away from fossil fuels.
No single power source will replace fossil fuels, but a combination of solutions will likely create a greener energy mix. These include microgrids, renewables, and efficiency.
The Future of Energy
Best Innovations by Electricity Companies
The Smart Grid enables more renewable energy to be utilized and improves the efficiency of existing electricity networks. It is also a way for consumers to become more aware of their electricity usage and its environmental impact.
It provides direct communication between power companies like the electric company in Abilene, Texas, and consumers through smart power meters. This allows for better monitoring of electricity usage and helps to eliminate the practice of estimated billing. The smart grid also makes it possible for electric vehicles to charge at night, reducing the demand on the electrical system during peak hours.
The smart grid enables more distributed generation from home and business photovoltaic systems, wind power, biogas, and EV batteries. By facilitating this, it is easier for households and businesses to become “prosumers,” a term that refers to those who produce and consume energy. This capability also helps to reduce the risk of catastrophic failure in the network due to weather events and cyber-attacks. Smart grid technology also helps to identify and isolate problems faster, preventing them from causing widespread blackouts.
As renewables gain momentum and become cost competitive with fossil fuels, they will require a reliable, efficient way to store energy. Fossil fuels are easy to store, but solar and wind power can only be produced when the sun is shining, or the wind blows — they cannot be stored for use on demand.
Energy storage solutions can take many forms, from the lithium-ion batteries that have made mobile phones sleek and powerful to more advanced thermal and chemical storage systems like pumped hydro, ice storage tanks, and green hydrogen generated through water electrolysis.
The IRENA study notes that battery costs will continue to fall as manufacturers optimize manufacturing facilities and combine components to achieve economies of scale and performance gains.
Storage can also help reduce energy costs by reducing the spike in electricity prices during peak periods. One of our clients is deploying a hybrid system with batteries to keep the power flowing at a local microgrid, even during high demand.
The technology can also be used in e-mobility applications such as electric cars, bikes, scooters, and fuel cell vehicles running on hydrogen.
More electric buses are on the roads from New York to Mississippi than gas ones. Electric vehicles (EVs) use big rechargeable batteries. Plug-in hybrids have both a gas engine and an electric motor. Fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen to make electricity for their motors.
EVs are greener than gas cars, no matter where their power comes from. If they link to green power grids, they’re even better for the environment.
People want more EVs. New ideas like better batteries and two-way charging will lower their cost. Special charging prices can make people charge their EVs when power demand is low. Solid-state batteries are coming. They might let cars drive much farther on one charge and last over 200,000 miles.
Smart homes, from thermostats to smart speakers and electric vehicle chargers, are gaining popularity (the Smart Home business is expected to grow 14 percent yearly, according to Statista). Coordinating these devices is critical for utilities looking to manage demand without sacrificing comfort or convenience.
Utilities are taking a new approach to customer engagement with energy-driven smart home solutions. They offer bundles of energy services, including domestic heating packages, intelligent tariffs, and energy consultation. A survey by Oliver Wyman found that these types of offerings influence more than 30 percent of customers’ choice of utility.
Smart home devices with two-way communication with the grid offer electricity generator tools to help flatten peak demand, right-size generation, and boost resiliency in times of stress on the power system.
For instance, a utility can instruct an intelligent thermostat to lower air conditioning during a period of grid stress and then turn it back up when rates and demands are low.
Utilities are also exploring strategies to give consumers a hand in managing their energy use by giving them access to real-time energy data
Many people are moving to cities for better services like clean air, water, Wi-Fi, and safety. But, this quick growth is putting pressure on city energy systems.
To handle this, cities are using smart technologies. These tools include sensors, data analysis, and communication systems. They help cities use energy better and give people more information.
For instance, Copenhagen in Scandinavia wants to have zero carbon emissions by 2025. The city is testing new tech.
This tech connects traffic lights, electric vehicle chargers, and energy meters. The goal is to use energy more efficiently and give people updates on electricity use. Copenhagen aims to be more competitive and plan a greener future for its people.