Renewable energy storage and the future of smart cities

Richard Molloy, Manager, UK Energy Storage at Eaton, explains the business advantage of renewable energy storage technologies. Renewable energy storage and the future of smart cities image

‘Smart cities’ are no longer considered to be just a buzzword; they are a topic of constant conversation, and they’ve already come to fruition across the globe. From Singapore to San Francisco, organisations, government officials and city planners have made incredible efforts to support the development of intelligent communities.

According to a recent report by IHS Technology, there will be at least 88 smart cities all over the world by 2025, up from 21 in 2013. And while the majority of these are likely to be located in Asia, Europe is expected to be home to more than thirty.

With smart cities and the general population on the rise, one of the major issues facing industry leaders today is how to power these interconnected cities effectively and efficiently. As a result, many global leaders have publicly asked for a suitable and sustainable answer – one that would support critical infrastructure yet not add to the global emissions challenge. The increasing need for such a solution, coupled with the dropping costs of renewable technologies, has made the transition to a fossil fuel-free environment more likely than ever before. In the last year alone, global renewable energy investment has increased to the point where it’s now surpassing investment in fossil fuels, according to a recent UN report.

>See also: How smart cities and the rise of urbanisation will transform your …

From wind to solar, nations all over the globe are utilising this shift to create innovative and energy efficient solutions from natural power. In Saudi Arabia, a $200 billion solar power development has just been signed off, potentially tripling the country’s electricity generation capacity. Over in China – one of the most highly populated countries in the world – the Jiuquan Wind Power Base, also called Gansu Wind Farm Project, was recently approved by the government. The wind farm, which is currently installing capacity of more than 6,000 MW, is projected to grow to a total of 10,000 MW, solidifying China’s ambition to be a global leader in renewable energy.

What’s next

Though renewable energy is the way of the future, there are still some concerns about how this will all be feasible – especially as our cities continue to get bigger, smarter and more demanding. This uncertainty has led many industry leaders to start asking valid, but tough, questions. For example, as renewable energy from wind and solar is weather dependent, will we be able to be permanently independent of coal, oil, and natural gas? And with the shift to electric cars, will our energy system be able to handle the increased demand on the grid?

>See also: How are different sectors getting ready for smart cities?

The answer? While clean energy technologies are evolving tenfold, much more flexibility will be necessary for these energy sources to provide the reliability we require. This includes investing in interconnected systems, having ample control over when and how we use energy, and most importantly – safe, reliable and efficient energy storage.

Business benefit for energy storage

Today’s energy storage solutions provide business owners with the unique opportunity to not only invest in renewable energy projects but to also benefit from their excess. The surplus energy that is generated from renewable sources, such as solar or wind, is stored and used later when they are no longer generating energy – further eliminating emissions from imported electricity. This excess energy can also then be sold back to the grid, giving business the chance to improve on their own return on investment, while lowering overall energy costs.

Investing in battery storage projects also enables businesses to ensure reliable power continuity during grid outages – especially during peak times. This is particularly interesting for financial investors, as many see this as a way to play on the grid service markets.

>See also: The security challenge for smart cities: how sensors can be exploited

There is no doubt that smart cities are the future – and many would even argue they are our present. But given their environmental impact, and their ability to put vast amounts of pressure on the grid, the way that they’re currently set up is simply unsustainable. The need for renewable energy sources has come to a head, and while many nations are taking the right steps forward, more needs to be done. A strong, efficient, and sustainable future depends on the creation of smart technologies to provide flexibility – and energy storage is just the first step. Because without sustainability, the smart cities we envision are likely to remain closer to fiction than reality.

By Richard Molloy, Manager, UK Energy Storage at Eaton.

Latest news

divider
Government & Public Sector
Government responds to UK critical national infrastructure and cyber skills report

Government responds to UK critical national infrastructure and cyber skills report

13 November 2018 / The UK Government has today vowed to build its cyber security capacity across the critical national infrastructure [...]

divider
Research
Is London’s reign as Europe’s data capital under threat?

Is London’s reign as Europe’s data capital under threat?

13 November 2018 / Work is needed to maintain London’s reign as Europe’s data capital, as the UK’s most [...]

divider
Legislation & Regulation
The GDPR and Brexit

The GDPR and Brexit

13 November 2018 / Background It is difficult to think of a piece of legislation that has generated as [...]

divider
Data Protection & Privacy
Organisations need to improve data protection and compliance protocols

Organisations need to improve data protection and compliance protocols

13 November 2018 / Data is quickly becoming recognised as an organisation’s most important digital asset, or as some [...]

divider
Research
Are millennials a threat to business cyber security?

Are millennials a threat to business cyber security?

13 November 2018 / New research from SailPoint, the identity governance platform, highlights how despite the prevalence of data breaches, the [...]

divider
Events
Tech Events Calendar

Tech Events Calendar

13 November 2018 / With the aim of bringing our readers a extensive tech events diary, Information Age will [...]

divider
Cloud & Edge Computing
How to cut through the complexities of the enterprise cloud in the era of IoT

How to cut through the complexities of the enterprise cloud in the era of IoT

13 November 2018 / Enterprise adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) has exploded over the past few years. [...]

divider
Business Skills
The CTO: the ‘ultimate integrator at any company’

The CTO: the ‘ultimate integrator at any company’

13 November 2018 / Dmitri Tcherevik, CTO at Progress, is a serial entrepreneur, having founded and run two successful [...]

divider
Cybersecurity
Should we be saying goodbye to SIEM and hello to SOAR?

Should we be saying goodbye to SIEM and hello to SOAR?

13 November 2018 / Back in 2005, when SIEM was first popularised as a way of helping organisations to [...]

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!

Pin It on Pinterest