There are major trends going on in the renewable energy world. Several will merit close attention this year.
Energy storage is becoming increasingly important. As solar and wind energy become more and more widespread, there is an increasing need to be able to store energy when it is easy to make and use it when it is needed. Last year, there were pilot, demonstration and trial projects all around the world. These are building up the knowledge and experience needed to deploy energy storage in a big way. At the beginning of January, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an initiative to deploy 1.5 gigawatts of energy storage in the state and to employ 30,000 New Yorkers in the growing storage industry.
Combining solar energy with storage is already a growing enterprise with companies like Tesla in on the action. Now, utility-scale wind energy is starting to use storage in a big way, providing reliable, on-demand electricity. More and more of these installations are likely to happen this year.
Last year finally saw the beginnings of an offshore wind industry in the U.S. Offshore wind projects take time to work their way through complex approval processes, but it is likely that states like Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts and even New Jersey are going to be making real progress towards making use of this important energy resource.
And around the world, waste-to-energy technology is going to be a growing presence. Waste management in general is a rising crisis globally and making the transition from ever-growing landfills to a new energy sources is becoming a real opportunity in many places.
In our country, it remains to be seen whether current administration policies will simply be ineffectual or will actually throw a monkey wrench in renewable energy progress.
Photo, posted October 15, 2017, courtesy of Mark Michaelis via Flickr.