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2020 Trends That Will Make Waves In The Energy Industry

Solar panels located in a green field, producing energy for grid modernization

Big things are coming in 2020. With increases and changes in technology, politics, climate, and regulations, renewable energy and the energy industry as a whole will see significant shifts over the coming years. Here are the biggest trends our load bank experts expect to see in 2020.

Energy Storage

In the renewable world, energy is generated by weather and the amount of energy that can be produced depends on the current conditions. Energy storage can ensure a power supply is maintained when weather conditions are not optimal for generating energy. While energy storage products have already been introduced to all levels of the market there are several technology hurdles to overcome before energy storage will reach maximum potential. We believe there will be great advancements in 2020 on:

  • Recharging rates – developing ways to advance the process for how fast a battery can recharge when depleted.
  • Effective long-term storage – current products work well in the short-term (capturing solar power at noon to use at 8 p.m.) but are ineffective for longer stretches required for cost effective seasonal storage from peak summer production to peak winter demand.
  • Cohesive system planning – there is currently no effective process for controlling millions of energy storage devices on both micro and macro scale to ensure reliable and efficient power availability.

Grid Modernization & Smart Cities

For years, grid modernization has been discussed and as states and local governments continue to push for an increase of clean energy and legislative actions on broad grid modernization, it will continue to be a hot topic. Regardless of the popularity of this topic, grid modernization will always be slow to develop and will likely take decades to reach the desired level of maturity.

One step towards grid modernization that states will likely continue to take is the emphasis on smart cities. The smart city trends we expect to see in 2020 are:

  • Small scale advancements – because there is no standard for how new technologies will interact with existing systems or on a solidified vision of what “smart” looks like, smart city advancements will continue to be completed as small scale projects where there is a political, financial, or PR advantages for a unique scenario by a private owner.
  • Purposeful smart grid investments – since most grid owners and operators do not have the financial assets to invest in massive changes or upgrade, we will continue to see “campus” type systems that are designed around a specific need for a specific user.

Energy Sources

As companies, cities, and countries continue to make pledges to reduce their carbon footprint, there is increased attention and scrutiny on energy sources. While the long-term goal for many will be to shift from using fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, this will be a slow transition. In the meantime, there are some prominent energy source trends we expect to see in 2020:

  • Wind and solar will play an increased, but not leading, role – while renewable energy will increase in the market share, wind and solar will not be able to provide baseload power until there is a massive amount of energy storage integrated into all areas of the grid. Renewables will likely be used to phase out coal, but nuclear and natural gas will continue to be the main energy sources
  • Commercial businesses will continue to use fossil-fueled emergency generation for backup systems – diesel and gas systems are more affordable, and this cost advantage will prevent commercial businesses from transitioning to electrochemical storage or other renewable solutions for many years.

Next year promises exciting growth for the energy industry and we are excited to witness the advancements in energy storage, smart cities, and renewable energy. Find other trending topics, perspectives, and insights from load bank experts.

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