As more communities turn to renewable energy for their power needs, more developments are being made to meet the increasing demand. These exciting changes are making it easier for people to access renewable energy, promoting its use throughout entire communities, and paving the way for future developments. Each represents a major step forward in the widespread adoption of renewable energy as the world’s primary source of energy. This necessary shift will ultimately decrease the amount of oil, gas, and coal used to power our planet, saving it from devastating damage to its oceans, wildlife, and atmosphere. Here are 5 trends in renewable energy to watch during the upcoming year.
1. Community Based Power Systems
In a community based power system structure, an entire group receives access to renewable energy through a private energy system. These systems include district heating and cooling, as well as electricity generation stations that are linked with wire electricity systems. Thanks to this connection, excess energy generated by one station can be sent to another. Community based power bypasses the traditional power grid, cutting down on transmission losses while providing more reliable power.
Communities throughout the world are turning to this form of energy for their electricity needs. The London Climate Change Agency is currently constructing a community based power system in London. This model is based on the first sustainable system in the UK, which supplied residents and non-residential customers in Woking Borough with energy via photovoltaics, a phosphoric acid fuel cell, and other methods. In Germany, the town of Wildpoldsried began building a community based power system in 1997. The system was made with wind turbines, biomass digesters, water power plans, solar energy cells, and energy conservation projects. As a result of the cost savings achieved through this system, the community has built nine new public buildings, with plans to continue expanding the power system.
2. 2019 Renewable Energy Conferences
As renewable energy increases in popularity, so does the desire to study and understand it. There are therefore hundreds of renewable energy conferences scheduled for 2019. These conferences can range from scientific forums in which experts discuss the latest developments, to more accessible gatherings that educate consumers on how they can begin using renewable energy through widely available methods. Many of these conferences also discuss the effects of global warming and the amount of nonrenewable energy resources left to provide context for the importance of renewable energy initiatives.
3. Electric Buses in California
In December 2018, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved a mandate that will gradually convert all of the state’s buses into electric, zero-emissions models. Beginning in 2023, one fourth of newly-purchased buses must meet these terms, with the goal of increasing this number to 100 percent of buses purchased by 2029. This law, known as the Innovative Clean Transit rule, is the first large mandate for zero-emissions vehicles in the United States.
According to CARB, 50 transit agencies within the state are already purchasing zero-emissions buses, including those in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Stockton, and Pomona. California already provides transit agencies with funding to purchase zero emissions vehicles, and cities will further save money on diesel fuel costs by converting to electric. Small agencies that may otherwise struggle to purchase electric buses can take advantage of this funding and may also be eligible to apply for exceptions, depending on their circumstances.
4. Affordable On-Shore Wind and Solar
Thanks to increasingly efficient technology, the cost of accessing wind and solar power has decreased. Since 2010, the cost of generating wind power from onshore systems has fallen by about 25 percent, with solar costs decreasing by an astounding 73 percent during the same time, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. As a result of these decreases, renewable energy costs consumers in the U.S. between six and 10 cents per kilowatt hour, representing a significant savings to those who choose to use renewable energy rather than oil or gas. These costs are expected to continue decreasing as technology becomes better. These improvements and cost savings will be instrumental in convincing more consumers and communities to make the switch to renewable energy options when it comes to accessing electricity.
5. Compact Fusion Reactor Technology
Further advancements in renewable energy technologies could pave the way to even greater access of renewable energy for society’s ultimate benefit.
Lockheed Martin has already committed to bringing sweeping change with their renewable energy R&D of a compact fusion reactor. This proposed reactor would be small enough for a household and could potentially produce unlimited clean energy. By introducing this technology, the entire world’s energy crisis could dramatically shift, and combating climate change in the coming decades could become even more effective than our current renewable energy technologies.
Another example of such an innovative technology is cold fusion, which produces energy harnessed from an environment of significantly lower temperatures than traditional hot fusion. Industrialization of cold fusion generators could alter the course of renewable energy production and play a key role in spearheading the reduction of climate change.
Get Involved With Renewable Energy
One of the fastest-growing renewable energy trends is increased interest and involvement among the general public. As we learn more about how greenhouse gasses and oil drilling are affecting our planet, more people are turning to renewable energy sources for their power. By making a commitment to renewable energy practices, you in turn support these efforts and show that more funding should be dedicated to their advancement. Continuing to stay up to date on renewable energy news can help you become an early adopter of new practices and educate others about their benefits, spreading awareness and promoting renewable energy measures in your community.