Please note this post was contributed by Innovate UK
Everyone is aware of the benefits of green energy and the importance of replacing fossil fuels.
But, the future of energy is constantly changing. Smart energy will not only be renewable, but it will be generated by thousands of smaller producers locally and managed digitally.
How will this affect our day to day lives? Here’s our take on the future of energy.
The Importance of Local Power
Sourcing power locally will reduce energy wastage, saving both consumers and energy suppliers money.
Large power plants not only harm the environment, but they’re also around only 50% efficient, as they give off huge amounts of heat. This means almost half the energy they generate goes to waste, which can be extremely costly.
Locally sourced power solves this problem.
With locally sourced energy, any excess heat can be recycled, and used to heat nearby homes and businesses.
Currently, a few large power plants are expected to power a vast amount of towns and cities. Inevitably, many of these power plants are a great distance away from the places that require energy.
Therefore, due to power plants being few and far between, a vast amount of energy is lost when it travels a great distance along the power lines.
With local power plants, the energy generated has a much shorter distance to travel.
As a result, this locally sourced smart energy will not only be energy-efficient, but cost-efficient also.
The Internet of Energy
The internet of energy is a way of using interconnected digital systems that control the use and storage of energy.
The internet of energy will mimic the interconnectivity of everyday household appliances. Similarly to how a fridge can be programmed to either use or not use energy, the internet of energy will manage the supply and demand of power.
This interconnected system will balance out energy demands. Appliances can be powered down to counterbalance energy surges.
Renewable energy can help make everyday people and businesses money.
Energy bills can be kept down by powering down certain appliances in homes and businesses.
However, it will also be possible to profit from smart energy. Due to the production of large amounts of renewable energy, there will occasionally be an excess supply, for example in good weather.
As a result, people will be paid to use it. Alternatively, people can store the unused energy to save for another time. This means that, at times, smart energy will be free. And could mean lower business electricity prices in the long term.
The Benefits of Smart Energy
Locally sourced renewable power will have a positive impact in many areas. Local businesses and homes will be the first to benefit from this smart energy.
In their everyday lives, people will be able to balance their energy usage to ensure they don’t waste too much power.
As well as this, people can profit from storing energy they don’t need. If a large amount of power is required at a specific time, other areas and appliances can be powered down accordingly.
Smart energy will be cost efficient, which is great news for homeowners and businesses alike.
What Does This Mean for Energy Companies?
Energy suppliers will be pressured to switch to renewable energy sources that use local power plants.
Renewable energy is often criticised for being costly. However, smart energy will be controlled digitally, allowing consumers to only pay for what they need.
The map above shows the locations of wind farms across Europe and comes from the European Commission’s SETIS (Strategic Energy Technology Information System) website.