Societal pressure and emissions policies are speeding up innovation in the world of energy. At the same time, increasing competition is pushing companies to become more efficient.
A range of businesses are now opting to use more sustainable energy sources such as solar and wind. However, to make the most of renewable technology, business will need to embrace new technologies.
Long-term success however requires a rethink of energy and the incorporation of new technology, from generation to distribution and the management of excess power.
Here are 3 technologies with the potential to change our outlook on energy:
1. Microgrids: empowering the local market
Today there is a shift from a highly centralised power system and a return to smaller scale, localised systems that optimise power demand, consumption, and management. Microgrids are emerging as one of these decentralising technologies. They bring together a combination of clean technologies such as distributed generation, batteries, and renewable resources to help organisations operate autonomously from the traditional electrical grid.
Commercial, industrial and institutional energy buyers can now see instant cost savings by implementing technologies embedded within a microgrid. These insulate their facilities from the risk and changing cost components of an ever-evolving energy market.
2. Energy Storage: an opportunity to decarbonise at scale
Batteries and other types of storage play a vital role in enabling companies to embrace clean, low-cost, renewable energy at a higher level. Renewable power sources can face intermittency issues. Energy storage helps remove this significant barrier which previously prevented greater adoption of wind and solar resources.
As the price for batteries and other storage solutions drops, corporate buyers will be well positioned to maximise energy investments, while contributing to the clean energy transition. Additionally, with microgrids on the rise, energy storage, in conjunction with other new energy opportunities, may become commonplace for companies
3. Fuel Cells: Investing in the future
Fuel cells electrochemically combine a fuel with oxygen and convert the resulting chemical energy into electricity without any form of combustion. Because they require a constant, steady source of fuel to produce electricity, fuel cells are able to provide a continuous, source of clean electric power. This provides facilities with a need for a reliable minimum supply of energy, from manufacturing plants to hospitals, to incorporate renewables into their energy mix without compromising the safety and stability of their baseload. Although the technology is new, and expensive as a result, in the same way other clean technologies have found success, they should become a vital technology to consider.
Combining the benefits of all three technologies is vital to the future of energy efficiency. Businesses must take control of their own energy to avoid potential disruption from changes which are out of their hands, from price fluctuations to the intermittency often associated with renewables.
Thinking strategically can transform a company’s energy management and should be the foundation of implementing these new technologies. By developing an efficiency and sustainable energy strategy, businesses can tackle whatever the future brings.