Connectivity has been a lifeline over the past year. Innovative technology has enabled remote working, learning, shopping and socialising. Helping to keep the world afloat during a global pandemic. At the same time, more countries are beginning to take strides towards a net zero target. And the UK’s green recovery plan will rely heavily on green tech, especially when it comes to transforming the energy industry.
This makes the development and widespread adoption of sustainable technology inevitable. We ask the question: what’s on the horizon for green tech in 2021 and beyond, and what part will it play in the energy sector?
Green tech software development
Thanks to Covid-19, the software development industry had a remarkable year with significant breakthroughs and advancements. This growth is expected to continue in 2021 as the world recovers. With more money flowing into green tech, and consumers expecting smart digitalisation.
Internet of things (IoT)
Connectivity has been vital over the course of the global pandemic, and in this way IoT has become an integral tool. There are billions of IoT devices currently in operation around the world, from Fitbits and smartwatches to smart homes and security systems.
But IoT isn’t only good for fun, handy gadgets. IoT applications are already used across various sectors including industry, education, commerce, and of course energy. It has helped keep businesses afloat through providing remote access managing unused buildings. And as the energy grid evolves: metering and energy management systems will have to adapt with it. This means all software will have to provide advanced connectivity, flexibility, and data analytics.
Consumers now expect the same smart digitalisation from their energy management as in other parts of their daily life. t-mac’s IoT building energy management offers an innovative solution for your energy admin and building controls. It communicates with, controls and reports on any system in your buildings, including heating, lighting and ventilation. This approach enables you to implement, amend, and control strategies on a wide portfolio of sites with the touch of a button.
Artificial intelligence represents a kind of swiss army knife for the future. Since it can apply to an increasing number of industries – proving especially useful in manufacturing – it has the potential to improve efficiency across every sector. Especially in the energy sector, where AI is being used to predict wind power capacity and replacing high-risk jobs such as surveying high-voltage power lines. It’s hard to imagine a green tech that could be more transformational to our society than AI.
Enterprise risk management (ERM)
While not necessarily energy technology, enterprise risk management (ERM) is likely to take centre stage in 2021 after the radical economic consequences of Covid-19. It will most likely tie heavily into carbon reporting and identifying environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk factors. This will mean that business leaders will be forced to engage more closely with ERM to ensure their long-term survival.
Cloud distribution software
Distribution software oversees a vast array of critical business functions such as accounting, customer service, sales and supply chain management. Housing this software on the cloud makes the data and control easily accessible to any device with an internet connection. The double benefit of security and accessibility makes it hard to imagine that cloud distribution software won’t spread rapidly this year – especially into energy technology.
Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG)
More and more technology projects are incorporating some aspect of environmental or social responsibility, which has aligned with the rise of responsible investing. Some are calling this the ESG revolution.
Responsible investing means taking environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into account when making financial or planning decisions. ESG factors cover how corporations respond to climate change, treat their workers, and manage their supply chains. It can also take into account their corporate culture and the efficiency of their resource management.
By enabling the transparency and data gathering required for the rise of ESG, technology has played a prominent role. And as companies are changed by the growing wave of consumers who favour smarter and cleaner products, this trend will continue to grow. Responsible investors are increasingly interested in AI and IoT energy tech projects that have a sustainability benefit such as smart energy management systems and national grid technology.
The sale of new petrol and diesel cars will now be banned by 2030 in the UK, making a transportation revolution inevitable. While certain hybrids will be permitted under the new legislation, electric vehicles are expected to be the driving force behind the transition.
The EV market enjoyed a 40% year on year growth from 2018 to 2019. This will fuel the development of charging stations and battery storage to make EVs a more realistic option for the average consumer. Fortunately, these changes have all been set out in the new energy white paper, released in December 2020.
Public transportation is also expected to undergo a green transformation, with electric buses rising in popularity across the globe. This is good news for China who began prioritizing electrification of its public transit a decade ago. They now dominate the global electric bus market.
China has also started setting the roadmap for hydrogen vehicles with significant policy changes, ambitious targets and bold initiatives. They have already begun replacing hybrid buses with hydrogen fuel cell buses in pilot cities.
Energy storage will play a crucial role in the increase in renewable generation. Whilst wind is one of the UK’s strongest renewable energy sources, it can be unreliable. So, while an increase in wind power is good for the planet, it could make energy prices more volatile in the future.
One solution for this could be improved energy storage. This would help to fill the gaps during hours of peak demand on low wind days. And would make energy storage just as important as the electricity generated. Which is why energy storage is expected to become a part of Power Purchase Agreements, or PPAs.
This could be another gap for hydrogen to fill. Converting electricity into hydrogen by electrolysis means the hydrogen can be stored until eventually re-electrified. While this process is currently less efficient than other storage technologies, it does provide much higher storage capacity compared to small-scale batteries.
Where we come in
At t-mac, we take pride in being ahead of the curve in anticipating both the trends of our industry and the needs of our clients. That’s why the t-mac platform is designed with the future in mind. It is able to adapt to new and emerging green tech. Ensuring it remains valuable to our customers long after installation.
If you are interested in t-mac’s next-generation energy management solutions, get in touch.