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In the spotlight: Renewable Energy & Industry 4.0

  • 8/1/2018 1:14:00 PM
In the spotlight: Renewable Energy & Industry 4.0

In October, it will be two years since the Paris Agreement went into force. The Agreement, signed by the UNFCCC, puts forward certain nationally determined contributions (NDCs) over the coming years, each of which is targeted at combating climate change.

Adopting renewable energy strategies are just some of the many ways in which climate change can be addressed. And of the 179 Parties that have ratified, considerable headway is being made on this front.

Sweden, Finland and Denmark are leading the way with radical policies in place supporting the decarbonisation of energy by 2050. In Germany energy from wind, solar and other renewables have recently surpassed coal.

According to the 2018 Global Status Report (CSR) by REN21 , 26% of the global electricity requirement could be supplied from renewable energy. Currently, a fifth of the energy consumed on the planet is from renewable energy sources.

 

Renewable energy goes hand-in-hand with smart technologies that require less energy to function optimally. As we head into the fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), where more advanced, more streamlined and smarter technological advancements are at the order of the day, energy, and in specific green energy, is central to digital transformation’s success. Why? Because renewables are a cheaper, greener, more accessible way for countries, especially undeveloped ones, to access power. Therefore as we transition into Industry 4.0 we also have to transition into smarter, more efficient ways of generating and distributing energy. Smarter technology can create opportunities for the smarter use of renewables, and vice versa. The two can feed off each other. In fact, they already are.

A simple example of how renewables and Industry 4.0 can complement each other is through smart Micro-grids. Distributed energy resources (DER) are making it possible for even remote areas to gain access to electricity from solar power.

Together with the internet of things (IoT), Micro-grids also provide users (residential and commercial) with real-time data relating to energy usage, which could translate into more flexibility and more efficient consumption.

Opportunities also create challenges. Challenges that are leading to innovative solutions from the world’s best. A synergy between Industry 4.0 and smarter energy will require more powerful batteries. Last year, Tesla successfully built and launched a 100-megawatt lithium battery in Australia capable of providing 30 000 homes with one hour of power when fully charged. This year, Tesla in partnership with Pacific Gas & Electricity (PG&E) aim to build a 185-megawatt lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS) as part of a 1.1 GWh powerplant in California.

As part of the 4Sight Group, we at AGE Technologies are capable of bringing our clients even more innovative, Industry 4.0-aligned renewable energy solutions. Talk to us about the strategy best suited to your facility.

 

Contact Michael Powell
michael@age.co.za
Skype: michael_andrew_powell

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