The top sustainability practices of the year
Sustainable energy processes and clean technology are progressing at an incredible rate – and in 2019 they need to be doing so. The threat of climate change is growing more serious with every passing year, making the changes to energy systems required to correct it of pressing importance.
Couple this with a growing global population and the need to address worldwide development needs, and the work of pioneering clean technology engineers becomes all the more necessary – and impressive.
More companies, countries and regions are embracing change with the help of expert problem solvers such as those at Weir to make their operations safer, more efficient and more sustainable. So how is the landscape changing this year?
Alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower are now generating power at a cost and performance level on par or above conventional methods. The advances in renewable energy offer economic benefits as well as environmental, as modular, consumer-driven power generation now stands able to viably replace traditional top-down, centrally distributed methods.
A key element of the progress made with alternative energy sources has been in strengthening their efficiency and reliability. The installation of AI and automation technology is helping renewable systems to self-optimize, and these technologies are only expected to advance further to improve their performance and cost-efficiency.
Energy storage is an innovative method that has become key to enabling renewable energy sources to provide consistent power supplies, even when weather conditions are not best suited.
Energy storage technologies such as batteries are expected to become more widely used in residential settings as well as grid-wide scales. They help to balance power supply with demand, and will likely become increasingly central as they become more competitive on price with traditional energy methods.
Blockchain and the Internet of Things
While traditionally associated with cryptocurrency, the energy market is adopting the use of blockchain to combat energy inequality among consumers as well as improving efficiency. It’s security as a digital ledger and lack of centralization may even cut out the need for energy suppliers altogether as consumers become able to buy energy from each other through its peer-to-peer network.
When combined with everyday in-home connected devices – known as the Internet of Things – we may see applications being used to buy and sell energy at optimal times and optimize energy-consuming devices in real time, without any need for human input.
Along with the technological advances discussed, we are likely to see more and more companies and states make statement commitments to reducing their emissions in an effort to slow down climate change.
Global movements such as the 2015 Paris Agreement are only likely to gather speed after the International Panel on Climate Change released its 2018 report calling for widespread changes in energy use.
Is your company using renewable energy efficiently?