Against a backdrop of surging subsidy deficits and public outcry against escalating energy bills, policymakers are faced with tough decisions as they debate ways to support green growth.
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Yet despite these hurdles, bright spots can be seen on the horizon in the global renewables market for 2014, due to the innovation, creation and transformation by leaders in the field.
Efficiency is Improving
2013 was the year of intelligent efficiency. The IT revolution in the energy industry, driven by innovations such as energy management software, virtual audits and better data crunching abilities, has led to cheaper energy across the grid. The ability to access real-time data providing to quickly take action saves money as well as time delivering more value to the industry.
Innovations in everything from light bulbs to home construction to smart cars all add to energy efficiency. If the current trends continue, we will see marked improvements in 2014 for energy transportation, storage, and distribution.
Clean Energy is making headway, with more progress needed
Clearly, in terms of ‘bang for the buck,’ government programs for renewable energy still need adjustments.
While some renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar still need R&D for economic functionality, other clean energy options have emerged as winners.
Natural Gas revolutionized the energy industry in 2013. The fracking revolution has unleashed a bounty of fossil fuel production in the United States that seemed unimaginable only five or 10 years ago. Energy production is booming and the long-sought dream of North American energy independence is fast becoming a reality.
As more renewables are developed and implemented into the ‘energy-mix’ let us hope they follow in the footsteps of the natural gas revolution.
Distributed Power is in the Future
Storing electricity has been one of the great challenges and promises for the power sector since its inception. The ability to store power at low cost and easily access it for distribution would in a moment eliminate many of the thorny problems that plague transportation and transmission transformation efforts today. Real advances are being made in storage, but current business and regulatory models fail to support further evolution. Storage is the game changer for the power sector and the technology that needs the most dedicated attention and external support to make meaningful gains in the next year and over the coming decade.