How has Technology Affected Renewable Energy?
The history of innovation and energy development dates back to early human civilization. In the beginning, individuals of the stone age didn’t have the extravagance of tuning TV, air conditioners, long-term food preservations, convenience to travel, etc. Rather, they had to design instruments and tackle the power of fire. Their primordial technology led to the innovation of TVs, mobiles, airplanes, etc. Furthermore, the invention of wheels conceptualized techno-energy and has been implemented in products, administrations, migration, transport framework, etc. The most punctual human characteristics were startled by fire. However, they utilized the fire for an assortment of energy, intensive processes like burning the woods, hunting, cooking, making tools, and a few other inventive activities. As a result, advancement in tool making led to them developing, gathering, and eating crops. The technological invention has made human society more comfortable, luxurious, effective in communication, and provided greater access to information.
Amid industrialization, numerous advances such as the development of electricity, weaving machines, the first steam trains, the invention of ICs, the discovery of Morse code changed the lives of individuals. A few of these innovations gave rise to manufacturing and production businesses such as the Silk industry. Throughout history, nations have progressed their relative productivity performance, but a critical crevice in market productivity between developed and developing countries remained, largely due to lower levels of capital intensity and skills.
Agreeing to Deloitte’s “2018 Outlook on Renewable Energy,” solar and wind energy have been viewed as reasonable substitutions for conventional fuel sources when under satisfactory conditions for storage. Unfortunately, one of the challenges of using renewable energy has continuously been the cost of storage due to the decrease in the cost of lithium-ion batteries for more than 70 percent. From the beginning of 2012, vital capacity deployment in numerous nations has expanded. The expectation is that by 2020, it will become cost-competitive with grid electricity. This is a step in the right direction in offering renewable and accessible energy to the masses.
Digitalization is enabling and further developing renewable energy integration. New developments such as analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) are helping plant owners and operators to optimize their renewable energy output. For example, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) developed AI software to improve wind forecasting and solar forecasting, which allow greater innovation to take place in the science field.
In Europe, "Blockchain technology" has already put renewable energy on the grid. The new innovation, “blockchain technology” offers a way for untrusted parties to reach consensus on a common digital history. Blockchain is what enables Bitcoin transactions to be possible. As a result, digital assets and transactions cannot be easily faked or duplicated which allows for more safety measures. The blockchain pilot enables excess output from wind plants in northern Germany to be discharged as needed into a networked pool of home battery storage systems. The exciting part about these two technological innovations is that renewable resources such as wind and solar energy may soon replace traditional fuel sources permanently, which is a fundamental step toward environmental protection and energy storage in the future.
Experts agree that the advancement of electrification in the upcoming decades will super-charge the shift and encouragement to use renewables. As a result, the renewables-based electrification of the European industry, buildings, and transport will allow the continent to reduce its energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by 90 percent by 2050, according to some predictions.
This trend is already obvious. For instance, Wärtsilä and Pivot Power are introducing a world-first 100 MW of utility-scale transmission-connected energy storage alongside high-volume power connections that will provide essential capacity for a national network of rapid electric vehicle charging stations. The project is anticipated to play a huge part in accelerating the UK’s energy transition push towards net-zero emissions by 2050. Moreover, information from the Wärtsilä Energy Transition Lab shows that in the first few months of 2020, the rate of renewable vitality being utilized to generate electricity in Europe has expanded dramatically with a corresponding drop-off in electricity created by traditional sources.
There will also be modern uses for electricity, such as the generation of hydrogen from water through the use of electrolysis, and the reuse of carbon dioxide and nitrogen through extracting it from the atmosphere. In the long run, power demand would increase as much as 3-4 times in European nations, and the cost will drop, because of the boom in renewable power. Switching to electricity is the key to accomplish the de-carbonization of economies, but there are other, less self-evident, knock-on benefits including improved energy security, freedom from fossil fuel exporters, and better air quality in urban areas.
One of the game-changing modern innovations is Power-to-X, an umbrella term that incorporates various processes transforming power into heat, hydrogen, or renewable engineered fuels. It offers a crucial opportunity to accelerate the shift to renewables by ramping up manufactured fuel production and quickly lessening fossil fuel emanations in sectors ranging from steel industries to chemical industries, and from fertilizers to food production. Moreover, such innovation can play a key part in tackling long-term energy storage challenges, addressing the concerns for supplying renewable sources. The entire infrastructure of technologies, such as aviation, shipping, heavy-duty, and even electric cars, cannot be reformed without the presence of Power-to-X.
An effective transformation within the field of renewables is distributed generation due to its increasing affordability and popularity. This implies that a local power generation is either in the retail or commercial division: from solar panels in private homes to combined heat and power frameworks in factories. There are various advantages of distributed generation, such as diminishing dependence on centralized power sources, expanding grid reliability, and increasing viability of small-scale renewable resources. When combined with keen frameworks, which are controlled by computers to fine-tune transmission, the distributed era is even more compelling. There has been a quick growth in a distributed generation in recent years, and the trend is expected to continue. It has been estimated that the distributed era market will be worth 147.5 billion euro by 2026.
Wind and solar
It is the wind turbines and solar panels that mark the biggest revolutionary march of renewable energy. The two power sources are visible in many rural landscapes and have possibly dominated most of the tech industry.
“The biggest impact has been wind and solar technologies leading to a very rapid drop in the production costs of electricity,” says Petteri Laaksonen, Research Director at the School of Energy Systems at Finland’s Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT). Renewable energy is anticipated to form up 30 percent of the world’s energy by 2024, according to the International Energy Agency, and most of this is driven by solar and wind projects that proceed to be rolled out at a startling pace. This is a development within the use of solar panels, which made up 60 percent of the renewable energy capacity introduced in 2019. Even technology giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon have invested in solar.
As more technological advancements are discovered and more innovations are produced, society is one step further towards building a sustainable environment. Technology is being challenged to reach its full potential as it becomes a revolutionary instrument to address climate change. Unraveling new opportunities and expanding knowledge on renewable energy can very well change the future of the science field.