The future of renewable energy is shaped by developments in IoT, artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies. Would you believe if we said that one day the energy sector will work with a subscription and sharing economy business model?
This transformation has already begun, thanks to remarkable advances in renewable energy and the maturation of disruptive technologies such as IoT and artificial intelligence. According to the REN21 2019 Renewable Energy Global Status Report, renewable energy will soon become the main source of electricity generation worldwide. Installed renewable energy capacity has reached 1,246 GW and currently accounts for 26% of total global energy production. IoT, artificial intelligence, blockchain (blockchain) kazanInternally, renewable energy breathes new life into the traditional electricity grid, thus on its way to becoming the world's main power source.
Cellular IoT Delivers New and Flexible Business Models for Energy Producers and Consumers
Australia began promoting energy privatization in the 1990s. These days, thanks to advances in the energy-oriented IoT, Australian consumers can choose their own energy provider. This freedom paved the way for more flexible energy supply contracts between energy producers and consumers, creating new business models such as different energy packages and subscriptions.
For example, Australian online green energy provider Powershop uses smart meters with cellular IoT connections to ensure meters are checked at all times. This allows Powershop to adjust usage fees according to peak hours with the data obtained from usage routines.
Powershop customers can monitor their energy consumption and better understand their energy usage and needs through a mobile application. According to their needs, they can choose from the energy packages offered by Powershop and purchase the energy they will use in advance at a discounted price. They can also provide some energy saving conditions by reducing energy use during peak hours. Because smart meters can monitor energy usage instantly and accurately, Powershop can offer its customers different energy packages, such as green energy from a more environmentally friendly source.
Virtual Power Plants Powered by Artificial Intelligence Open the Way for Intelligent Energy Storage and Distribution
After the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi in 2011, Japan began to actively promote renewable energy development. Between 2003 and 2012, Japan achieved a weak growth rate in renewable energy, on average 5-9%. However, after 2012, Japan experienced a boom in renewable energy, increasing its average growth rate to 26%2.
As renewable energy became more available, Tokyo Electric Power Company began collaborating with Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions. These two companies linked renewable power plants scattered across the country with energy storage systems using IoT technology and artificial intelligence. In 2019, they built a virtual power plant in Yokohama. Based on weather and historical energy use data, it was decided by artificial intelligence when to store excess energy production in storage systems. Thus, when the demand for electricity increased, the system became able to transfer the stored power to the smart grids. This not only reduces the purchase of non-renewable energy, but also generates additional income by selling excess power.
Another example of using smart technologies with energy storage systems is to combine traditional power plants with green energy and virtual power plants. When traditional power plants face high electricity demand, virtual power plants can deliver green energy stored in energy storage systems to the grid.
Blockchain Disrupts the Traditional Buyer-Supplier Relationship
Lition Energie and LO3 Energy are newly established energy trading companies in Germany and the USA. Their uniqueness is that they have created a reliable energy transfer and trading platform based on decentralized structure, transparency and security, which are the key benefits of blockchain. In this way, consumers may prefer to buy energy from greener and more cost-effective suppliers instead of centralized institutions. Blockchain makes this possible by simplifying the transaction process and ensuring transaction traceability and security. We can foresee that in the future, consumers will be able to sign contracts even with small suppliers close to their homes.
Although there are many possibilities on the horizon, the biggest challenge is still that renewable energy is heavily dependent on government subsidies. Renewable energy can only compete with existing traditional energy producers by reducing costs with these incentives. One of the main reasons electricity bills have risen significantly over the past few years in Germany was the addition of a renewable energy surcharge, which was formerly subsidized by government incentives. Although this change increased public awareness of energy savings, it resulted in higher costs for industrial activities and daily life. Now, by using smart technologies that have matured in their operations, renewable energy providers can both pave the way for cheaper energy consumption and meet the demands of environmentally friendly consumers.
blockchain and environment
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REN21, Renewables 2019 Global Status Report, Paris, REN21 Secretariat.
re.org.tw, Renewable Energy Information Knowledge Center.