The energy industry is undergoing a shift towards more electrification and renewable generation sources. This shift presents a need for new solutions as power providers adapt to meet higher energy demands. Utilities will have to adopt new and emerging technologies that connect power infrastructure and improve efficiencies in order to provide reliable, low-cost power to end users.
Electrification is Driving Higher Demand for Renewable Energy
Achieving economy-wide net zero emissions by 2050, in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement, will require electrification of several industries, including transportation, power, residential and commercial buildings, and manufacturing.
Transportation and building electrification will drive an estimated 60% increase in electricity demand and a 40% increase in peak load by 2045. Power providers need to start preparing for how they’ll meet this higher demand for electricity while shifting to renewable energy sources.
Renewable Generation Sources
Renewable energy sources currently account for over 20% of U.S. generation, according to a January 2022 Energy Information Administration report. However, this rate will have to increase in order to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
In the United States, the shift to renewable sources has focused largely on wind and solar farms. Utilities can expect even more diversification of renewable generation sources in the future, including:
● Green ammonia
Emerging Technology for Energy Integration
Utilities are shifting from a model in which we forecast demand and schedule supply, to one in which we forecast supply and schedule demand. Power providers will need to embrace flexibility in order to capitalize on this shifting dynamic. A variety of emerging technologies will be key to more efficient use of renewable resources and the grid itself.
In-Home Smart Devices
We use smart devices to track health and fitness, home security, package delivery, and so much more. Smart devices can help end users understand their energy usage and increase efficiencies in the home. They can also inform utilities about usage and peak load times with accurate real-time price and system information.
Distribution System Platforms
Distributed energy resources (DER) are small-scale power generation sources located close to where electricity is used. They increase reliability, lower cost, and balance the variability of renewable sources. Forecasting demand from consumers requires advanced analytic technology to make meaningful insights out of an overwhelming body of granular data from in-home smart devices. Distribution System Platforms will accelerate the growth of DER, smart devices, energy efficiency, and microgrid technology.
Wind and solar generation is booming. However, large wind and solar sites are often located in less-populated agricultural areas, sometimes hundreds of miles from more densely populated cities and commercial customers. Connecting these consumers to renewable generation will require a combination of building new high-voltage transmission lines and improving the utilization of current transmission lines with Power Flow Controls, Dynamic Line Ratings, and Topology Optimization.
When utilized in conjunction with larger regional power grids, microgrids can provide backup energy when the main grid is down. They also support flexible and efficient usage of the grid by enabling the integration of renewables and reducing energy otherwise lost in transmission and distribution.
As technologies evolve, municipal and cooperative clients will need flexible energy management solutions that account for renewables while prioritizing cost and reliability. Learn more about Evergy Energy Partners’ renewable energy solutions.
- Lindsay Freeman
Lindsay holds a bachelor’s degree in biological engineering and began her solar industry career in 2016. Her contributions to the solar community include developing 40 MW of commercial and utility scale projects. She shares her passion for renewable energy by helping communities achieve their sustainability goals and educating the public on the latest technology. Lindsay also currently serves on an economic development board in the Kansas City area that focuses on alternative energy sources.