Renewable Electricity: Future Energy Predictions
It probably comes as no surprise that the way we generate and use energy is due to change drastically over the next twenty years.
From placing consumers at the heart of energy decisions, to finding innovative sustainable solutions, here are some predictions about energy of the future.
Consumer Led Energy
In the future, consumers will have more and more control over their energy use and management. Energy suppliers will need to have consumers at the forefront of their minds when sourcing and delivering services.
This move towards consumer autonomy means we’re likely to have a bigger say in how energy is generated. Locally produced energy could become a major player in the industry as environmental concerns become more important to consumers.
Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power will continue to grow, becoming cheaper and more efficient. This shift could see locally produced energy becoming more affordable than major, centralised energy generation.
With the advancements in green energies and digital technologies, local and renewable are set to be the next big things.
Localising Energy Production
Making energy production local means that much of the energy currently wasted in the UK (currently around half of all energy generated) could be prevented. Producing energy in power stations and distributing it across the country isn’t particularly efficient.
If energy is generated locally, local producer/consumers will have more control over its management. New digital technologies will be able to help with energy storage and management, making it more demand-focused and flexible.
Digitising the energy sector will allow for more seamless and collective energy management. For example, IoT (Internet of Things) technologies will connect electronic devices in the home in order for energy to be distributed or saved where needed.
Lowering Costs with Renewables
At present, sustainable energy alternatives are often dismissed as being too expensive to be feasible.
However, advancements in technology are bringing down the costs of renewable energy. It is getting easier to generate solar or wind power- so on particularly sunny or windy days, an excess of energy could be produced. This could allow consumers to take advantage of periods in which prices are lower due to the overproduction of energy on the grid.
The trend for households generating their own electricity through solar technology is set to rise. This means homeowners can sell any excess energy back to the grid and save money on energy bills.
Going Green Across the Board
For these predictions to come to fruition, the larger energy suppliers and consumers need to play their part.
The temperature-controlled supply chain in the UK relies on around 14% of all electricity produced for use in refrigerated food storage. Innovate UK is currently funding a project involving Tesco to come up with a flexible energy control system for refrigeration in the food retail sector.
The aim of the scheme is to demonstrate that these systems can continue to provide optimum food safety whilst being linked to DSR electricity tariffs. DSR, or Demand Side Response is an intelligent energy tool which allows companies to smooth peaks in energy demand and supply.
Innovate UK Future Predictions
These predictions have been developed by Innovate UK, part of the UK Research and Innovation funding body dedicated to driving science and research innovation.
To see more future predictions and projects they’ve helped grow, subscribe to the Innovate UK YouTube channel.