There’s always something exciting going on in renewable energy, and this year is no exception. There has been so much news about renewable energy production and storage within just the last few months, that it can be hard to keep track of all the latest developments. Here’s a list of a few of them that you’ll be hearing more about we move into the next year.
Mini-grids, or micro-grids, have become an important part of the conversation about the future of renewable energies and the deployment of their infrastructure. These small, independent grids are light enough enough that they can be powered by renewable energy technologies that already exist. They can be deployed to allow certain structures or small communities to be powered only by renewable fuel while in a grid powered by a traditional power plant—or in a place where there is no grid at all.
This allows for low-budget deployment of renewable infrastructure, and will likely play a major role in philanthropist missions to expand electric power in developing nations.
Many renewable energy companies are intensely interested in batteries, and other portable means of energy storage. The introduction of drones—which replace an entire vehicle while being powered with only a light battery—as delivery vehicles for food services and shopping services like Amazon is going to have a major impact on the market demand for batteries. This may have several positive consequences for renewable energy investors, including an infusion of interest and funding into the promising science of storage.
High-Performance Renewable Fuels
Renewable liquid fuels have received a cold reaction from the market compared to other preferred sources such as batteries. Perhaps part of the reason that renewable fuels have had trouble catching on is their (undeserved) reputation for low performance compared to gasoline. That reputation is likely to change soon, however, because renewable fuels have reached a level of refinement that allows for extremely high performance. The first renewable jet fuel has been successfully tested this year, and it may lead the way to renewable fuels being used for many more applications.
China Leading the Way?
If you want to know what’s next for renewable energies, look to China. While countries like Germany have made a name for themselves with ambitious national energy projects, no one seems as excited or as ready to go all in on renewable energy as China. China has overtaken the rest of the world in the development of solar power production, surpassing their ambitious goals and moving years ahead of the schedule they set for adopting solar power.
China is now home to many of the largest solar panel manufacturers in the world, and it’s citizens use more solar panels than any other nation in the world. China’s eagerness to adopt solar power and played a large role in pushing the price of solar panels down until more consumers all around the world could afford them.