What will energy systems of the future look like?
The scale of change in upcoming years will be dramatic, completely transforming the face of what we currently know.
We’re moving away from a centralised, carbon-based system.
This is giving way to a cleaner, greener, localised approach. What does this mean? How does this benefit us as consumers? What changes are happening already? Let’s delve a little deeper.
We’re making strides towards a more sustainable future, with our energy systems leading the way. Currently, most of our power is generated through fossil fuels in large power plants. However, we’re seeing a shift towards more renewable sources, such as:
- Solar energy
- Offshore wind energy
- Tidal energy
The concept of this isn’t new, but we’re constantly uncovering new ways to utilise this technology to its full potential.
For example, the Active Building Centre is a demonstration of how buildings can generate their own energy through sustainable means. It’s paving the way for others to follow in its footsteps, transforming the face of construction. This will help reduce fuel poverty, as energy bills will decrease if our domestic buildings conserve energy more efficiently.
We will soon build our homes and places of work will sustainability in mind, ensuring they meet societal needs.
Centralised power plants will make way for smaller-scale, localised production.
There are an abundance of benefits to be found here. Firstly, it will reduce waste – as energy can be lost by up to 50% when it travels across power lines.
This also gives people more freedom. Local consumers will be able to flexibly manage when and how they use their energy. Energy can be stored more easily, while the Internet of Things will connect all household appliances. Those not in currently demand can be set to run at minimum power, conserving energy where necessary.
This presents a number of exciting opportunities for Internet of Things businesses, as they can find new ways to improve the lives of consumers with this technology.
Energy as a Service
Consumers are primarily concerned with what energy gives them, such as heat or warmth.
In the future, as people have more choice, energy companies will be encouraged to provide the best possible service to their customers. They will have to compete for the consumers – showing them their environmental impact, equipment used and how they will deliver the required service.
People can then choose the best deals for them.
Energy can benefit entire communities, but they need to be equipped with they knowledge they need to make it happen.
The Local Electricity Project is just one example of this in action. 95% of people in rural areas of Zambia don’t have access to electricity, despite having the necessary resources and talent to make it happen. They simply required the missing puzzle piece: education.
We are teaching students how to build their own electrical supplies, designing their own energy system. Beginning with handcranks, communities soon learn how to make wind turbines. After completing the programme, students have all the knowledge they need.
Projects such as this are a demonstration of how communities will be in control of their energy: how it’s generated and how it’s used.
Free energy is a relatively new concept, but one that’s soon to be part of our daily lives.
During very windy or sunny days, there can be more energy than necessary on the grid. The result? Negative prices.
Consumers can take advantage of this – essentially using power for free. Alternatively, they could also sell energy back to the grid during times of high demand.
The most notable change is that we’ll see consumers move from being detached from the energy system to being at its heart.
Renewable energy partnerships will be central to making this happen, bringing likeminded companies together to change our future for the better.