November 17, 2020 marks exactly one year since the first case of coronavirus was registered in China. Since then, the erupted pandemic has changed the world in many ways, influencing every aspect of our lives. These changes were mostly devastating, causing harm to people and the economy. However, what about the environment? Despite the fact, that worldwide lockdown and subsequent drastic cutback on noise and pollution had a major positive impact on nature, there’s also a downside. Poaching, deforestation and falling demand for investment in renewable energy sources were predicted as the main negative outcomes of the economic crisis of 2020.
With the year coming to an end, it is time to analyse how much has the clean energy market suffered from the pandemic. According to the eia outlook, the part of renewable energy is growing steadily, not heavily affected by the crisis.
At the same time, as shown by the iea report, despite costs of wind and solar being record low, many countries are postponing electricity auctions, creating uncertainty for the market. This instability may have dangerous long-term consequences for sustainable energy companies. There are a couple of possible solutions that can mitigate such a risk.
Innovative Policy Strategies of 2021
At the times of uncertainty it’s impossible for enterprises to take all the responsibilities and dig themselves out of the difficulties. Government should take the lead, introducing beneficial policies for green energy producers and providers:
- Support the mindfulness of the population, while increasing the purchasing power. Educating end-users about power conservation should come a joint effort from government and utilities, as in the end, all benefit from it. Additionally, encouraging purchases of the more eco-friendly appliances and machinery can result in long-lasting results, improving energy efficiency across entire countries and boosting economy.
- Create more investment opportunities in the clean energy supply chain. Despite alternative energy sources becoming more and more popular each year, investors are still hesitant to go into this sector, especially after the crisis. Government-driven support of the supply chain may positively influence the state of affairs.
- Ignite the demand for upgrading buildings in the eco-friendly fashion that will result in better energy preservation and create more jobs, boosting economy.
The above policies would create a backbone, that could support the smooth recovery of the clean energy market. However, companies need to put in maximum efforts to expand their area of influence and prevent the world from going back to the same (or even higher) levels of pollution after the economical recovery. If there is a perfect time for green initiatives to shine, it is now.
Shaping the New Grid for the New Normal
Since the beginning of the health crisis, many people found themselves relying on their electricity provider more than before. With the largest portion of the population confined to their homes, it became vital for the power grid to deliver the uninterrupted flow of electricity to households.
The current state of the network is not ideal for this kind of load. It requires updates, with the addition of smart digital technologies and independent sources of energy. A distributed, decentralized grid model is in the spotlight now. Microgrids provide more opportunities for independent clean energy providers to join the market, give more power to local communities that support the recovery of the economy, and increase the demand for green power.
A complex distributed grid while possessing a lot of advantages also has some major pain points. It requires a lot of intricate management to remain stable and secure. To help planning engineers handle the complexity of such a grid, intelligent and automated tools are necessary. Only by removing the burden of the operations from human employees can utilities succeed in meeting their carbon reduction goals.
Creative Solutions for Green Energy Providers
In order to help sustainable initiatives develop, vendors should come together and offer solutions that would support such a system. A wide variety of new technologies will contribute to the innovation in this sector, however, 5G, IoT, AI, cloud computing and process automation are the main tools.
The Industrial Internet of Things combined with the 5G connectivity and smart metering will provide the means for residential households to create clusters. Each one of them can become a self-reliant ecosystem, getting clean energy from the renewable sources, distributing it among the cluster participants, and being able to sell it to the larger grid or buy the necessary energy if the need arises.
AI and process automation will make sure that the system is reliable and intelligent enough to handle the routine operations without the need for human intervention. For providers, it will mean more opportunities for fine-tuned customer service, faster issue fixing and transparent relationships with the end-users.
Taking all of the above into account, vendors have to pay attention to the trends in technology and equip their partners with solutions to match the new reality. Together, we can ensure the speedy economic recovery of the clean energy sector and even its further expansion.