Renewable energy sales counted for more than 26% of global energy generation in 2018. By 2040, that figure will reach a projection of 45% due to the global transition away from fossil fuels towards renewables.
The global wind turbine market will top $123-billion by 2025, rising from $90-billion in 2019. As governments attempt to reduce emissions output, we can expect this trend to continue at breakneck speed.
The renewable energy sector experienced setbacks in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with a slow recovery expected throughout 2021. Let’s unpack the coming trends in solar sales and renewables moving into 2022 and beyond.
The COVID-19 Pandemic and Renewable Recovery
The lockdowns of early 2020 saw massive changes to wind energy supply chains. Leading renewable energy suppliers like Vestas, GE, and Siemens experienced slowdowns in productivity as delays to deliveries of turbines, components, and blades.
Despite the economic slowdown, the EU saw 40% of its energy consumption satisfied by renewable sources, with coal lagging at 34%. As more wind projects come online in 2021, we can expect this figure to increase.
The Journey to Coal-Free Energy
The UK managed 67 coal-free days during 2020. It was the first time the country managed to wean itself completely off its reliance on fossil fuels for its energy needs. During these two months, the UK wholly relied on wind and other renewable sources for its energy requirements.
Britain plans to phase out all fossil fuel use by 2025, ending production of petrol-powered combustion engines by 2030. The UK also intends on using two central hubs to pull carbon from the atmosphere in a $1-billion project.
With the UK leading the conversion to renewables, we can expect other developed nations to follow suit over the coming decade. Even China, the world’s biggest polluter, claims it intends to reach a carbon-neutral position by 2060.
The US also continues its march to a renewable revolution. 2020 was a breakout year for renewable companies, creating sustainable infrastructure to pave the way for progress over the next decade.
Onshore Over Offshore
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) announced that onshore wind installations improved to 594,253 Mega Watts in 2019, up from 177,790 Mega Watts in 2010. However, it’s important to note that the complex infrastructure governing production at wind farms means that the consumer ends up paying a higher price for their electricity from offshore wind farms.
As of 2021, onshore turbines and solar PVs lead the way in low-cost energy solutions. Solar sales are skyrocketing across the US, and the globe, as are alternative solutions like smaller wind turbines for residential use manufactured by companies like WindEnergy7, TUGE Energia, and Enessere. So, we can expect further declines in energy costs to consumers.
There are hundreds of onshore wind turbine sites offering renewable companies the opportunity to harvest power from high-speed land winds. Compared to the high cost of setting up offshore infrastructure, it’s not surprising to see onshore taking precedence over offshore wind-based energy generation.
In the investment sector, offshore projects require significantly more capital to start and maintain than onshore operations. As a result, investors prefer onshore investments over offshore, providing a faster return of capital and profits.
Navigating the Internet-of-Energy (IoE)
Centric architecture dominates the development of electric power supply systems. Along with operational advantages, centric systems offer consumers and wholesalers delayed price settlements and hub connectivity problems.
The Internet-of-Energy (IoE) can potentially mitigate issues with settlement and connectivity. IoE power systems involve the use of diverse renewable energy grids that connect to a network. From this network, investors, consumers, and providers can communicate over blockchain-based platforms, creating a decentralized environment.
As a result, users can own resources, raise funding, and trade energy while avoiding the risk of loss and fraud. IoE systems distribute electricity intelligently over the decentralized network, allowing the simple distribution of rights between users.
As a result of this decentralized network, users and distributors can skip centralized systems’ third-party multi-tier settlement practices. Users can adjust and set pricing based on relevant market dynamics.
IoE intends to improve all energy distribution through the market, creating a lightweight environment that reduces the pressure on systems, improving efficiency. The distributed model is the fastest-growing stream in the renewable sector and energy as a whole, resulting in convenient methods to purchase and sell electricity. IoE continues to offer a fantastic investment market with promising profit potential.
The coronavirus pandemic saw the implementation of “force-majeure” and its effects on the market. Surprisingly, the speed at which these situations can arise is somewhat shocking. The Texas blackout is a prime example of unseen risks causing havoc with renewables, and wind turbines froze in the wake of the polar vortex.
As a result, more energy companies are looking into hi-tech energy storage solutions to circumvent future problems. Intelligent energy storage collects power from providers, keeping it available until distribution into the grid.
This storage potentially delivers stable electricity supplies at given times, at a stable price, unlike centralized systems. The next generation of energy storage systems offers dedicated storage for providers to stock up on energy during market periods providing the best pricing.
The benefit of storage has the potential to prevent blackouts while providing an innovative trading platform. Buyers and providers can access these platforms to exchange resources. They store power without incurring the transmission expense of moving it between locations.
Swiss startup Energy Vault developed next-generation storage facilities to store output from renewable sources in storage plants relying on water and gravity for power generation. This system offers long-term storage options with low response times.
Renewable Energy into the Future
As we move through the decade, it’s clear that renewables are the focus of energy generation around the globe. The introduction of IoE and blockchain technology into energy generation continues massive adoption, with distribution and storage networks.
As the digitization of economies accelerates, we can expect the adoption of other technologies into the renewables market. Leaders must keep an eye on the latest industry trends and emerging tech developments to stay ahead of the pack.