Strategy and Best Practices
Article | July 8, 2022
Energy is an important feature in the economic and political development of a country. In developed nations like the USA, energy expansion has now reached a point where renewable energy sources also play a large part in the production of electricity.
To meet the energy demands of the country, most production of renewable energy comes from fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources.
Around 25% of the world’s energy is generated with renewable energy resources- mainly solar, wind, hydropower, and in some cases, geothermal. It is one of the fastest-growing electricity sources.
Renewable energy is collected from resources that are abundantly available in the environment, like the sun or wind. There has been a growing interest in renewable energy production as fossil fuels are depleting. In most parts of the world, renewable energy has become a primary source of energy production.
Renewable energy is preferred as they produce fewer greenhouse gases than non-RE sources. There are several other advantages to renewable sources like lower carbon emissions, reduced air pollution, and other socioeconomic benefits.
However, unlike non-RE sources, there are challenges in renewable energy like economic, political and regulatory barriers, structural, social, and technical challenges which require advancement in technology, and a heavy investment with a proper understanding of obstacles it faces. Some obstacles are due to technology associated with renewable energy, whereas others are because of policies, marketplace, regulations, and infrastructure.
Impact of Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the world to a grinding halt. It has severely impacted individuals and businesses alike, with many of the latter being closed down permanently. Similarly, the pandemic has also impacted the expansion of clean energy systems by forcefully curbing any investments.
The technology and adoption of renewables have been making uneven but sure progress. The global pandemic has slowed down this development. According to International Energy Agency, the global share of electricity supply from renewables had reached 28% in 2020 from 26% in 2019, but the growth is expected to slow down further. The total energy supply is set to reduce by 13% from 2019. This substantial decline can be attributed to supply chain disruptions, lockdown, and emerging financial problems. Transport biofuel production and renewable heat consumption are projected to decline due to lower industrial activity.
Governments have an opportunity to promote and accelerate the use of clean energy by incentivizing building, technology, and infrastructure across the country. This would be crucial to rebuilding the economy, create jobs, and build efficiency.
Capital Costs and Investment
The most obvious challenge of widespread adoption of renewables is cost, predominantly infrastructure costs like building and installing solar and wind power plants. Although it is quite cheap to operate and maintain solar and wind power plants, installation becomes more and more expensive.
Over the last few years, even though the prices of installation of solar panels has fallen significantly, it remains higher than non-renewables. On average, a 2-kilowatt solar panel system costs $4,159 after tax credits, whereas the capital cost of a gas-fired power plant would cost lesser than that.
In the last two years, investment in renewables has increased, but that is only because the investments in fossil fuels have been rapidly falling. Clean energy investments still fall short of what is necessary to convert into a more sustainable future. To ensure continuous investment in sustainable energy, policymakers have to focus on short investment turnaround, focus on rapid environmental gains favoring cleaner energy generation.
Power on demand
One of the most significant challenges of renewables is the ability to provide power on demand. In the case of solar power, you only get energy during the day and only when it is sunny. As for wind energy, power is generated only when it is windy. There is an intermittent generation of power in renewables which wouldn’t be a problem if there were appropriate energy storage solutions. The biggest test in providing power on demand is storage. Even if homes, businesses, or states install wind energy systems or solar panels, storing the generated energy is still an unsolved issue.
Opponents of renewable energy highlight the reliability factor on solar and wind to augment support for coal, gas, and nuclear plants, which provide baseload power. This argument is used by lobbyists to drive out investment into renewables, thus becoming a barrier to widespread adoption of wind and solar energy.
Renewable energy plants have grids that require a large area of land. It can be unappealing to customers to switch to renewable energy sources as it is conditional depending on the size of the land. Not all states and regions are apt to build solar panels or have wind turbines as they are dependent on the geographical location. For example, building solar panels in California makes more sense than building them in New York as the former has an abundant supply of both sun and land.
Renewables operates on what is known as a decentralized model. In a decentralized power plant, small generating stations are spread across a larger area that works collectively to deliver power. In the case of coal, nuclear power, or natural gas, they are highly centralized and depend on fewer high output power plants.
Decentralized systems prove to be a problem for siting and transmission of energy created by solar or wind. Siting is needed to move blades or solar panels to large pieces of land. To do so requires to draw up contracts, negotiate, acquire permits, or build community relations; all of this can delay or kill a renewable project even before it begins.
Businesses can incur additional charges due to demand and delivery which seems like a significant challenge for them. Utility services apply these charges to recover costs of purchasing energy and maintaining power lines and energy lost in the transmission system. Moving power sources closer to your business will help you avoid such preventable expenses.
The next challenge to overcome in renewables is the transmission of generated electricity. Transmission means the transfer of electricity from where it is generated to where it is consumed. Most transmitters that exist in this day and age are built for coal and other fossil fuels and not renewables. To make things easier for transmission of clean energy, there needs to be a significant infrastructure and technological development, which cost a lot of money.
Making the economics work with financing and siting can prove costly for developers and customers alike.
Policies and Regulations
Unfortunately, the fossil fuel industry is backed by multi-billionaires who wield a considerable amount of political influence. This severely affects the chances of expansion for the renewable industry. Industry experts estimate that the USA spends upwards of $60 billion on subsidies for fossil fuels every year. The taxpayers have helped fund the industry’s research and development, drilling, mining, and generation of electricity. Renewables like wind and solar enjoy much lesser subsidies and political backing. The fossil fuel industry has used its enormous power to spread misinformation about climate change.
To increase public interest and investment in renewables, there need to be clear and concise legal procedures and regulatory policies. Having proper regulations in place creates a stable environment for investment and overcome hurdles and can anticipate the revenue streams. Large-scale renewable energy projects require a large amount of capital which is hindered by the failure of proper policies that fail to attract private players.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a major challenge with using more renewable energy?
Renewable energy is competing with fossil fuels and nuclear technology. Other major challenges include underdeveloped infrastructure and lack of economies of scale.
What are the benefits of using renewable energy?
Some benefits of using renewable energy are lower energy costs, reduction of emissions, massive positive impact on environment, and marketing opportunities for businesses.
Is renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuels?
Fossil fuels are subsidized which makes it cheaper at the beginning. However, renewables get cheaper to maintain over the years hence making it cheaper than fossil fuels.
What is the cheapest source of renewable energy?
Solar PV and on site wind are the cheapest sources of renewable energy sources.
"name": "What is a major challenge with using more renewable energy?",
"text": "Renewable energy is competing with fossil fuels and nuclear technology. Other major challenges include underdeveloped infrastructure and lack of economies of scale."
"name": "What are the benefits of using renewable energy?",
"text": "Some benefits of using renewable energy are lower energy costs, reduction of emissions, massive positive impact on environment, and marketing opportunities for businesses."
"name": "Is renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuels?",
"text": "Fossil fuels are subsidized which makes it cheaper at the beginning. However, renewables get cheaper to maintain over the years hence making it cheaper than fossil fuels."
Article | June 14, 2022
While most businesses presently strive to achieve environmentally friendly operations and lower their carbon footprints, this argument might not sway all businesses or company executives. While using renewable energy sources or energy management systems has clear environmental benefits, businesses that want to improve their operations and decrease overhead expenses should also consider such technologies.
A steady and high-quality power supply is required for the smooth running of any kind of industry. Energy management systems (EMS) are used by a variety of industries to provide a consistent and dependable supply of energy.
Energy Management Systems: Advantages for a Business
Businesses and industries that use energy management solutions often achieve considerably bigger savings than those that do not use such systems. EMS examines all of the company's processes and enhances them for energy savings. The savings realized by the usage of energy management systems have a direct influence on the bottom line. Some of the most significant benefits of energy management systems are listed below.
Improved Brand Image
Using energy management systems result in lower power usage and, as a consequence, more environmentally friendly operations. Process optimization is recognized by business clients, customers, and suppliers because it shows excellence in planning and management.
Better Productivity and Competitive Edge
Reducing energy consumption via process optimization and effective load planning not only increases the overall productivity of industrial operations but also helps businesses to catch up with their competitors through continual process development.
Energy management systems can ensure at least a 20% decrease in energy bills. System administrators can save up to 10% of their total energy expenditures with modest investments and no upfront costs. Supervisors can save up to one-third of their initial overhead expenses by using energy management solutions in a planned and methodical manner.
An energy management system can help any organization save money on energy bills. There are many different energy management systems on the market, so make sure you choose one that is the right size for your business. If you're unclear about which system to buy, a good energy monitoring system can help you assess your performance and point you in the correct direction for process improvement.
Article | June 8, 2022
It all started about four years ago, when SUVs and pickup trucks drove uninvited onto their lands, remembers Olimpia Palmar, a member of the Indigenous Wayúu peoples, who historically have occupied the La Guajira desert in northern Colombia and Venezuela. "We started seeing these arijunas [Wayuúunaiki for non-native peoples] wearing construction helmets and boots and vests, getting out of the cars, checking the desert, and then leaving," she recalls.
Word soon began circulating across the Guajira Peninsula, from the rancherías — the community’s rural settlements — to the few urban centers: The arijunas were offering money to those who would let them plant tall, slim towers on their lands to measure the wind. On La Guajira’s dusty earth, where few things grow, towers began to sprout. By 2019, at least 30 wind-measuring towers had risen on Wayúu land, according to a report by Indepaz, a nonprofit research center.
Article | July 15, 2022
As the worldwide use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the energy market is expected to reach $7.78 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 22.49% from 2019 to 2024, it is easy to see why it's a popular topic on the minds of many leading brands in the energy sector, as well as investors looking to reap the future perks that AI could bring to the energy industry.
According to BIS Research, North America is expected to be the largest market for AI in energy through 2024. However, Asia-Pacific is expected to rise rapidly over the same time due to the rising need for more decentralized power production.
Investment Opportunities in AI-based Energy Industry: Economic Visibility
AI's economic viability and progress in the energy business can be attributed to numerous factors, including:
The desire to increase operational efficiency.
Increased interest in energy efficiency.
Decentralized electricity generation is being expanded.
Battery storage solutions are gaining popularity.
Since artificial intelligence has a wide range of applications, there are several investment opportunities in the energy industry.
Upstream Oil and Gas
Enhance efficiency and decrease downtime, which is critical for hydrocarbon companies owing to volatile oil prices and demand, to lessen the environmental implications of energy generation and consumption.
AI has the potential to enhance interactions between contact centers and consumers. Utilities that outsource to contact center providers can suffer significant fees. This is where AI, particularly when combined with natural language processing (NLP), can assist contact center operators by listening to conversations and automatically noting information in the appropriate apps, helping operators to make calls more reliable, effective, and satisfying to customers.
Smart Homes and Cities
AI integration benefits smart meters and smart energy management systems as well. Many residences and towns can utilize AI to collect real-time data and apply it in a number of ways to function more effectively and efficiently, enhancing sustainability while also making a living more comfortable and cities more accessible.
Monitoring Trends in Energy Generation and Consumption
Artificial intelligence is being utilized to assist energy companies and customers in recognizing and tracking patterns in energy generation and consumption. AI, for example, can predict the potential output of a certain wind or solar plant.
Banking, finance, and trade are some of the suitable businesses that can profit. For example, AI and machine learning can be used in algorithmic trading, which involves utilizing computer programs to make trades in the energy business at speeds and frequencies that any human trader would consider inconceivable.