At Switch Engineering, we’re not surprised by the recent renewable energy trends propelling solar and wind energy to new heights. We’re dedicated to renewables and make sustainable design a priority for each project, which is why we pay attention to the latest developments in energy and other sustainability practices.
Renewable energy has officially moved from a lofty goal to an efficient reality. Countries, cities, and large corporations are employing renewable energy methods enhanced by the latest technological advances. The overall shift in preference for renewables, such as solar and wind, highlights a promising future as coal and oil are gradually phased out of demand.
We’ve selected five renewable energy trends to watch in 2019.
1. Falling Costs of Renewable Energy
A BloombergNEF report projects that wind and solar technology will provide nearly 50% of total electricity globally by 2050. Experts say “grid parity” plays a major factor, bringing renewables up to par with traditional resources. In many regions, solar and wind power can generate electricity at a cost and performance level equal to or less than conventional methods. Rather than hindering grid performance, today’s renewables are strengthening grid reliability, largely due to advances in technology and microgrids.
2. Energy Storage Systems
Renewable energy’s greatest weakness is consistency and reliability when environmental factors are less than ideal. Energy storage solves this problem, providing a steady power supply when the main system isn’t operating at optimal levels. The energy sector relies heavily on batteries for energy storage, and recent advances have dramatically increased battery capacity, allowing for a greater dependence on renewable energy sources. In addition, advanced energy storage can be used to offset electricity use and cost during times of peak demand.
3. Microgrids and AIA microgrid could also be described as a “sub-grid” that can operate alone or connect to another, larger power grid. They tend to be “smarter” and more efficient than traditional grids. The latest trend pairs them with an Artificial Intelligence that operates the microgrid controls to improve operations and continuity. The result is an ultra-responsive, ultra-efficient microgrid that easily integrates solar and wind energy with traditional energy methods for comprehensive management.
4. Energy Blockchain and IoTBlockchain technology, coupled with IoT, is decentralizing renewable energy distribution, cutting out middleman electricity suppliers. Developed for the purpose of regulating cryptocurrency transactions, blockchain is a digital ledger that’s proven incorruptible and uses a peer-to-peer network to conduct and record transactions. The current trend pairs blockchain technology with IoT (Internet of Things) to create autonomous systems that buy and sell energy (usually renewable) at prime times. The effect? Consumers and smaller, entrepreneurial companies can trade electricity with accountability, regulation, and real-time monitoring without relying on a third-party. Technology virtually eliminates energy inefficiency and inequality.
5. Corporations and Cities Seek RenewablesThe latest advances in renewable energy have prompted a growing number of cities, corporations, and even entire countries to seek 100 per cent renewable electricity goals. As of February 2018, over 100 cities worldwide reported that at least 70 per cent of their electricity came from renewables. “Smart” electricity focuses on renewables and technology to create a new level of efficiency in energy production and distribution. Today’s renewables not only reduce pollution like greenhouse gases, but they also provide companies and governments with reduced costs and a welcoming social image, which matters greatly in the current culture.
Switch Engineering: Helping Companies and Municipalities Embrace Sustainable DesignWe engineer and manage our projects with the future in mind. We’re experts in integrating quality structures with efficient sustainability designs. It’s our goal to provide our clients with cost savings and social capital while reducing greenhouse gas effects.