The Renewable Energy space has come on leaps and bounds. Particularly over the last few years, with an average annual rate of 13.7% over the past decade in terms of renewable energy consumption. Renewable Energy covers numerous assets including the more traditional areas such as Solar PV and Wind Farms, but also newer technologies like Battery Storage, Hydrogen and EV Charging.
In this article I am going to be discussing these newer technologies within renewable energy in more detail and the impact they will have on the future of renewable energy.
In recent years, Hydrogen has been gaining a lot of momentum with assisting in the decarbonisation of the environment. Its increase in popularity is also supported by several government incentives that encourage investment in Hydrogen technologies across multiple countries. Due to its zero emissions output, hydrogen is a definite competitor as a leading energy source, however the costs are not yet competitive with other types of energy generation. Hydrogen is making a stand in the Renewable Energy space and is one of the leading options for storing Renewable Energy, it is extremely important in buildings, transport, and other areas of society, so will we continue to see a steady increase?
Battery Storage is an evolving technology that is typically used alongside Solar PV and allows the electricity generated by the Solar Plants to be stored. Battery Storage can provide cheaper and more reliable electricity not only to large communities but also isolated off-the-grid locations, making it an extremely useful technology. Currently, these storage systems are largely in locations such as Australia, the UK, the US, and other European countries, however moving forward we are likely to see an increase in other geographies. Research has also shown that although utility-scale batteries are momentarily dominating the energy storage sector, by 2030 it is likely that small-scale projects will increase significantly.
Electrical Vehicle Charging
There has been rapid growth in the development and use of Electrical Vehicles (EV). EV charging incorporates integrated renewable energy generation which in turn reduces the CO2 emissions along with other pollutants. This has been a huge breakthrough in the attempt to transform the transportation industry into a more environmentally friendly sector. There has also been a push to install Solar charging points in car parks, schools, railway stations and other tourist attractions to help facilitate this. Although there have been huge changes in this area, the main issues the sector is currently facing is both the cost and convenience of Electric Vehicles. However, there have been recent changes in terms of the efficiency and Battery Power which in turn led to a boost in sales of hybrid cars by around 1000% since January 2015. I personally think this will increase even further, resulting in a complete transition to fully electric cars in the future.
Traditional Renewable Energy Technologies
First of all, what do we consider to be more traditional types of Renewable Energy? Wind and Solar would be the main culprits, but do we also consider Hydropower? Biomass? It depends on who you talk to, but for the purpose of this article we are just going to investigate Wind and Solar technologies.
If we were focusing purely on the UK, it is noted that Renewable Energy assets provide nearly a third of the UKs power, and then half of this is generated by both onshore and offshore Wind assets. Worldwide, Wind technology accounts for around 5% of power generation, which makes it the second largest renewable energy source behind Hydropower. The first ever wind turbines first came around over a century ago and in 1985, turbines had a capacity of around 0.5 MW compared to today where onshore tend to have a capacity of about 2 MW and offshore 3-5 MW.
Similarly, to Wind power, Solar has also grown massively in the UK with reports that is has increased from 5,488 MW in 2014 to 13,259 MW in 2019. It is also rapidly increasing throughout the rest of the world and due to evolving technology and support mechanisms, costs of Solar PV projects are beginning to decrease. It is now cheaper than new coal or gas fired power plants in most countries. This is a huge success in moving towards a more sustainable economy.
On reflection, it is clear that there have been numerous changes in the renewable energy space including the arrival of energy efficiency technologies and the increase and spread of the more traditional technologies.
Wind and Solar are continuing to dominate the renewable energy sector across the world and have become huge competition against the less sustainable methods of powering different countries. Due to the decreasing costs of these types of projects, we are going to be seeing this trend continue into the future alongside the rise of alternative assets.
If you are considering your next hire within the Renewable Energy Investment sector and would like assistance with the search, I would be happy to arrange a conversation to discuss in more detail.
Louise Edwards firstname.lastname@example.org