What will be the top Disruptive Energy Technologies in 2014?
So do we really need to build lots of new power stations, transmission lines (pylons and cables) and spend lots and lots of people's hard earned money?
Or should we move away from the business as usual route towards a more bottom up approach to energy management and energy security?
These questions are raising their heads across numerous countries as people try to come to terms with the significant investments people are constantly told, by industry and politicians alike, that we have no choice but to make. But is this really the case?
Most energy modelling forecasts do not look at technology specific improvements already available to the general public and so probably require significant updating. Also the planet is getting warmer, so less energy for heating (though some more for cooling) will be required. So what should you look out for in 2014 as disrupting the energy markets as they currently stand?
Lighting - LEDs. Simply put they are already blowing the competition away. Most of the main issues have been resolved such as warmer light, brightness and price. Ikea now supply LEDs for most types of spot lights saving up to 90% on energy consumption, and it is only going to get better. As for the price, well at €5 a bulb each will typically already save its upfront investment in less than a year.
New Cars - Yes we said it. NEW CARS, and not just electric vehicles. The fuel consumption of most new vehicles is light years ahead of where it was only a few years ago. With hybrid technologies, stop start technologies, lighter materials and electric vehicles the energy consumed in our transport systems looks set to drop for the first time in recent memory. As older cars over 10 years old are phased out, these newer, more efficient vehicles will mean less fuel being used and less air pollution also.
Bicycles - What? No this is not a new technology and it is not likely to change much in principle design but people love of bicycles, especially in urban areas in growing massively. This can be witnessed daily by the increasing number of commuters swishing their way to work, college and school each day.
Smart Demand Management Tools - Also known as virtual power stations. As our homes, cars, businesses and industries become smarter, with embedded computing power and controls, bundling of energy savings could see us reducing the need for peaking power stations and other storage systems. Think about it, we can use a few thousand electric vehicles (or any other battery) as a giant virtual battery charging up when the electricity is green or cheap and maybe even feed back into the grid when there is a jump in demand. The use of social media will mean we can reach a wider audience than ever before. For an example already out there just see https://energyelephant.com/page-traffic-light/