With a new year upon us, there are several energy trends to watch out for.
The most important one is that the fundamental shift toward slow-carbon technologies is continuing. This shift is taking place despite diminishing government policy support and even active government efforts to thwart it. There is just too much momentum to stand in the way of low-carbon energy technologies.
Analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimate that over the next 30 years over 11 trillion dollars will be invested in energy power generation and power storage assets with 85% of it aimed at zero-carbon emission. Dramatic reductions in green energy costs have resulted in legitimate cost competition between zero carbon sources of energy and fossil fuel generation.
In the coming year, battery technology will continue to play a growing role both as a storage medium for energy generated by sun and wind and for powering vehicles.
Another trend is that the world’s wealthiest economies are learning to grow without growing the demand for electricity. This is important in the battle to reduce overall emissions.
Another key issue is addressing the energy needs of people who have no meaningful access to it and there are around 1.5 billion people in that category. Emerging technologies based on solar power, wind energy, microgrids and other innovations mean that traditional power grids that remain out of reach to these people are not necessary. There is the potential to address those needs without contributing to climate change.
The world is struggling to deal with the growing problem of the changing climate, but there are trends that provide at least some hope that we can move in the right direction.
Photo, posted April 5, 2013, courtesy of Flickr.