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How Technology is Poised to Change Renewables in 2022

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Renewable energy is something on everyone’s mind as countries around the world try to take the necessary steps to reduce or eliminate their carbon footprint. We’re a long way off from the ultimate goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, so the renewables market is constantly shifting and changing. How are new technologies poised to change the renewable energy industry in 2022 and beyond?
How Technology is Poised to Change Renewables in 2022
Courtesy of NREL

Changes in Global Electricity Generation

Everyone is looking for ways to reduce their emissions and right now, power generation is one of the worst culprits when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. In 2018, the global CO2 emissions directly to energy generation reached 33.1 gigatonnes (Gt), 1.7% higher than the previous year and marking a historic high. The United States was responsible for 85% of that net increase all by itself, with other major players like the UK, France, Mexico and Germany reporting declining emissions.

Between 2000 and 2018, renewable energy generation has increased by more than 100% in the United States alone and currently accounts for more than one-third of the world’s energy generation capacity. This is expected to increase to 45% by 2040.

Growth in the Wind Turbine Market

Wind turbines require a very specific set of criteria to function, but that hasn’t stopped countries around the world from adopting this technology and tweaking or changing it as needed to help them function. The global wind turbine market was worth $90 billion in 2019, and is expected to increase to $123 billion by 2025.

To keep up with the major changes in the market, new technologies are going to be necessary. In 2013, there were 63 different equipment manufacturers creating wind turbines for the market. By 2019, that was down to 33, with six major suppliers controlling more than 75% of the wind turbine market.

Overcoming COVID-Related Supply Chain Disruptions

COVID-19 threw one massive wrench into nearly every industry, including renewables energy. Equipment installations have slowed around the globe, marking the first decline in more than two decades. Lockdowns, in addition to international tariffs and trade wars, have disrupted global supply chains and made it more difficult for companies to get the tools and components that they need to complete their installations. The pandemic, as well as new wage laws for franchisees, have also made it difficult for companies to find the skilled labor that they need to complete their tasks.

As we move into 2022 and the pandemic begins to wane, we’ll likely see a resurgence in this industry. Things will slowly get back to normal, but the changes will be slow as we learn to navigate the new normal that is post-pandemic life.

Reaching the Goal of Coal Free

For 67 days, 22 hours and 55 minutes during 2020, the UK ran entirely on renewable energy. This is the first time that the country has gone without any coal-fired power since the Industrial Revolution, 138 years before.

The country’s grid has changed dramatically in the last decade. Just 10 years ago, more than 40% of the UK’s power generation came from coal-fire plants. The pandemic lockdowns in March of 2020 played a large role in this because the demand for things like shops and restaurants dropped dramatically, reducing their draw on the national grid.

It may be some time before countries like the UK are able to go completely coal free, keeping up with all the necessary demands as they change seasonally, but this is an incredible step in the right direction.

Looking Toward the Future of Renewable Energy

20 years ago, renewable energy was a great theory on paper, but not something that was achievable on a large scale. Today, it’s becoming an essential fact of life. We can’t wait until it’s too late to make a difference with climate change before we start focusing on renewable energy. 2022 is shaping up to be one of the best years for the renewable energy industry in recent history.

 

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