The New Year has officially arrived, bringing with it exciting goals and predictions for the clean energy industry around the world. According to projected trends published by Forbes and the Open Energy Market, there are several key developments to look for in the upcoming year.
- Energy Management & Storage:
As the demand for clean energy usage increases in 2019, effective energy management and storage will be essential for grid flexibility, the ability to balance supply and demand under uncertainty. Manufacturing and industrial sectors will likely need to draw on the support of diverse industries in an effort to standardize the management and reporting of increased clean energy use. The viability and efficiency of energy storage will need to increase as well, so that power is available regardless of weather conditions or time of use. In order to achieve this goal, energy storage devices will likely be a core component of clean energy technology research and development throughout the year. As of now, batteries are the most common storage tool, and can be expected to increase in use residentially and commercially.
- Technological Advancements:
Discussion of the clean energy industry will likely go hand-in-hand with the following topics this year: microgrids and artificial intelligence. A microgrid is a local energy grid that operates independently or in conjunction with a larger conventional grid. When paired with continuous feedback from artificial intelligence, microgrids are able to autonomously adapt to improve operations. A goal for tech companies is to produce this technology in a more timely and cost-effective manner, to increase the feasibility of microgrid usage.
- Blockchain Networks:
Blockchain technology is a type of digital transaction ledger that utilizes a peer-to-peer network that eliminates middlemen (such as electricity suppliers) by allowing consumers to buy and sell directly with each other. Blockchain network development is expected to increase in 2019, in an effort to streamline clean energy transactions. According to Forbes, this blockchain technology would allow customers to use everyday devices to “autonomously buy and sell energy at optimal times, optimize energy system settings in a real-time context and monitor and analyze performance of energy-consuming devices.”
- Grid Parity:
Solar energy has already reached price and performance parity in roughly half of the United States and in regions around the world, meaning that power is generated at a cost level equal to, or less than, conventional methods. According to a U.S. Residential Solar Economic Outlook Report published by Greentech Media Research, solar grid parity is anticipated in 42 states by 2020. As technology quickly increases in efficiency, clean energy sources are expected to transition from an acceptable energy source to a preferred, more cost-effective source.
- Renewable Energy & Climate Action Plans:
Companies, cities, and countries around the world continue to commit to clean energy usage. Over 100 cities rely on clean energy for at least 70% of their energy sources, and over 40 cities are 100% reliant on clean energy. This trend continues to spread, as hundreds of other cities and companies have dedicated efforts to transition to clean energy in the future. In the United States, for example, members of the Democratic Party in Congress are developing a proposal for a “Green New Deal,” a plan to update infrastructure across the United States to meet a green standard.