23 Jan 2020
These trends will revolutionise energy in 2020
Through all the massive changes of the past few years, a few trends in energy and natural resources have become clear. Companies that want to stay afloat in these uncertain times need to take note of these key factors.
Effective Energy Storage
Today’s consumers want clean energy and less wastage - so companies must promote better energy management and storage. This calls for grid flexibility to balance supply and demand, as well as more diverse sources of energy to support manufacturing and industry.
With energy storage becoming more viable, this could actually be a positive for power companies too.
The data-crunching capacities of AI enable companies to make more informed predictions and create more cost-effective strategies. Energy and mining companies can use AI to predict and head off problems before they occur, as well as to drive faster and more accurate production.
The inexorable rise of solar power continues. It’s expected to reach grid parity with coal in the UK this year - generating power at a levelised cost of electricity equal to the price of power from the electricity grid.
Despite the need for short-term investments, this will mean savings in the long term, especially as consumers are hungry for sustainable electricity. It looks as if supply just needs to catch up with the overall market - a great opportunity for companies that can enter the market quickly.
Climate Action Plans
Companies and countries are having to take action to cut CO2 emissions. This has boosted the popularity of renewable energies like solar and wind.
This is connected to the grid parity trend, with consumers demanding more green power. It’s another reason for firms to get ahead of the game and start switching to renewables sooner rather than later.
Blockchain technology and the IoT will allow customers to buy and sell energy at optimal times without any environmental costs. Customers will be able to trade energy with energy companies or even from peer to peer in real time.
This will boost the performance of energy-saving devices, and the transparency of blockchain may also help to build more honest and friendly relationships between companies and consumers.
Supply Chain Digitisation
The IoT, as well as AI, is disrupting the supply chain in a good way. Energy suppliers will be able to make better decisions, robotics will drive faster and more accurate production, and all these different pieces of equipment will be connected and able to monitor each other.
This will mean machines can be repaired pre-emptively before they break, reducing downtime.
Inclusivity and Diversity
Mining and energy companies want to attract diverse talent, but may have an uphill struggle on their hands, even with quotas in place. A genuine shift in company culture and attitudes will be needed to attract more women and minorities into the industry.
Battery tech is evolving fast, with battery life and output expanding in response to the need to power electric cars. Tesla has demonstrated that large-scale batteries can add up to a high ROI. While this is a big investment, energy companies who can break into the electric car market at this point will reap massive rewards.
The growing role of tech means a need to hire more techies. Unfortunately, there’s a skill shortage in the industry; many companies have responded by training home-grown talent or looking to attract talent from other industries. Computer engineers, programmers, and others are bringing welcome new perspectives to the energy sector.