As the world aims to limit the increase in global average temperature to 1.5 ° C with more than 100 countries making net zero commitments at the recently concluded COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, the The focus is now on the energy sector which spits over 70 per 100 of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To counter this, renewable energies are ready to rise to the occasion, holding the key to bringing global warming under control.
Attention in the renewable energy sector should be focused on photovoltaics (PV), advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, big data, distributed energy storage systems, grid integration, blockchain, l hydrogen, bioenergy, hydropower and wind power, according to a new report.
Solar power will continue to be the preferred choice. PV is expected to experience more floatovoltaic and agrivoltaic projects. More attention will be paid to more environmentally friendly thin-film cells and the use of materials like perovskite for better energy conversion. Advanced robotics will be used to help improve production and process efficiency.
Grid management is expected to move up the energy agenda and distributed energy storage systems will not be left behind. Big data and artificial intelligence algorithms would be increasingly deployed for real-time decision making in the management of energy networks and would facilitate the applications of the Internet of Energy (IoE) to enable commerce and autonomous pricing. Solutions with and without battery for distributed energy storage systems would help in the local management of renewable energies, from production to storage. The need for grid integration would emphasize vehicle-to-network (V2G) solutions to help stabilize the network at peak times and network-to-vehicle (G2V) solutions for storage at other times. The blockchain would be useful for carrying out trusted transactions in the sector.
Developments in the green hydrogen segment, which will attract more attention, should focus in particular on improving the storage, transport and distribution of hydrogen. Bioenergy, hydropower and wind power are also expected to emerge. Bioenergy will see the raw materials of algae and microalgae be increasingly used for energy production from biomass sources. In hydropower, the deployment of energy converters should lead to more efficient energy production. The development and deployment of offshore and airborne wind turbines will complement onshore wind turbines in wind power, according to the Renewable Energy Innovation Report.
Such developments may seem rare at the moment, but it won’t be long before they become mainstream, with the recently energized clean energy ecosystem further catalyzing such developments.
For example, the Breakthrough Agenda unveiled at the Glasgow conference aims to bring countries together to enable clean technologies and make sustainable solutions affordable and easy to access while helping less developed countries equip themselves with the tools to achieve net zero goal.
Supported by the leaders of 40 countries that represent 70% of the global economy, the program aims to reduce global emissions by 50% by 2030. The plan is to get countries and businesses to work together to promote development and develop green industries through initiatives such as Glasgow’s breakthrough on electricity to make affordable and reliable clean energy available for all needs in all countries by 2030. Three of the initiatives that are expected to make the breakthrough of Glasgow on Electricity are the Disruptive Energy Catalyst, the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, and the Green Grids Initiative.
The Breakthrough Energy Catalyst aims to reduce the costs of clean technology in spaces such as green hydrogen, direct air capture, long-lasting energy storage, and sustainable aviation fuel. The new initiative, which reports to Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy, aims to promote a net zero economy by 2050 by encouraging businesses, governments, philanthropists and individuals to invest in critical climate technologies for net zero emissions. In addition to financing the commercialization of technologies, it will also finance the development of new technologies.
With $ 10 billion in seed funding, the Global Energy Alliance for People And Planet seeks to catalyze $ 100 billion in public and private funding to promote green energy. The alliance of philanthropists, multilateral development finance institutions and governments aims to expand grants and technical assistance to bring reliable and renewable energy to one billion people, reducing four billion tonnes of emissions from carbon footprint and contributing to the creation of over 150 million jobs.
The India-UK-led Green Grids initiative, One Sun One World One Grid (GGI-OSOWOG) aims to mobilize political will and financial and technical resources to catalyze the establishment of interconnectivity between power grids and the development of mini-grids and off-grid solutions to reduce energy poverty around the world. Building and connecting clean energy grids can easily meet all the energy needs in the world. For example, solar power plants built on just 400 km X 400 km of part of the world’s deserts will suffice for the entire world population. The initiative will also promote the sharing of good practices and resources in its attempt to accelerate the transition to clean and affordable energy. The initiative has already been approved by more than 100 countries.
Other advances of this type have been or are being deployed in the energy sector. These are just the tip of the iceberg, and hopefully such developments would become standard sooner rather than later in the effort for a net-zero world.