Clean Energy For Everybody
Clean Energy For Everybody
I am fascinated by the dynamic changes of the energy market. I can clearly see some of the transitions that we will see in the near future and I have a vision. Read my journey and join the movement 😉.
When I started researching a solution for our roof I was surprised that there was no convincing and available solutions that combined tiles and solar panels- you can read about that in my other story HERE.
After the planning phase we started our personal energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable with the installation of solar panels, battery storage and wallbox around our house- and we did not stop there. We exchanged our combustion car with an electric one and later this year we will change from gas heating to an air-source heat pump. Looks like our personal energy transition is almost complete.
The learnings along that journey were incredible. For example I did not trust the impression that heat pumps are THE solution. You can find every opinion about that online and from people working in the heating-market. Especially for our house from the 1970s I researched EVERY possible solution, formed my own opinion and in the end decided on a heat pump.
The point is that we need everybody to save the world. Part of that journey is decarbonizing the grid and transportation.
It is important to understand that we are now energy consumers AND producers. We produce energy with our solar panels and we have two batteries, one in the basement and one in our car.
Image copyright by „bulletin of the atomic scientists“
As we electrify everything, the three sectors energy, heat & mobility are merging. It is understood that we can produce our own energy from renewable resources and we have to if we want to limit global warming to max. 1.5°.
The situation in our house today is that most of the components do not talk to each other. Every device has an app and is „optimizing“ itself while the benefits of one connected system are obvious:
- We would prefer to consume the energy that we produce ourselves. This energy is not only clean but also cheap. The sun is so powerful that it is impossible for us to consume all of our own energy when it is generated.
- Energy prices are changing comparable with the stock-exchange. We could benefit from these fluctuations to consume energy and store it in our basement battery and our car when prices are low.
- And we could sell our energy surplus when we get the best prices. And that is only the view to optimize our little home.
The reality is that only our solar panels and the battery in the basement are connected. The other devices are not. Of course I have several apps and switching between them drives me crazy. I would prefer a convenient solution for ALL the systems. And that is only my selfish view.
The solution is a home-energy-management-system (HEMS) that links all the components and manages our consumption and distribution for us. There are companies on the market who offer systems like that- so far they are not compatible with our components- I’ve checked, and I have my fingers crossed that manufacturers open their interfaces so that we can work with a HEMS soonish.
The biggest opportunity, the battery in our car, is not connected to the system and not able to provide energy when we need it (bidirectional charging). The car battery is more than 3 times the size of the one in the basement and could make a BIG difference. Maybe one of the future over-the-air-updates can fix that🤞🏼.
THE NEAR FUTURE
Imagine a home where energy, heat and mobility are connected devices in one system. Our solar panels would power our energy consumption and use the two batteries that are in the basement and in the car to store energy. We would consume energy from our 2 batteries and only then we would consume energy from the grid when it is needed. The intelligent management and predictions of AI for all the connected devices would result in a high degree of self-sufficiency and cheap energy consumption from the grid.
Today this is called Vehicle-to-Home (V2H). To learn more about V2H, follow the link HERE.
THE MID-TERM FUTURE
Our neighbours could benefit from an intelligent and connected system as well. If you imagine that we have energy from solar panels, wind, water and biomass, short term storage in our houses AND cars and we can distribute the energy in a connected grid- this is my dream. This is called Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) or Virtual Power Plants (VPP).
The technology is there for clean energy production, storage, infrastructure for distribution (smart meters, AC and DC wallboxes, home-energy-management-systems with AI and some cars are ready for bidirectional charging).
Do you know how long a private car is parked and can support V2G? Learn this and more HERE.
This video is from 2019 and explains VPP very simple- include vehicles and violà.
THE LONG-TERM FUTURE
This is where the conjectures begin:
Maybe LADE GmbH’s V2G simulator is right, and we don’t need seasonal storage when we reach or overachieve our renewable energy goals and we integrate all our electric cars into the system.
I think that in security-driven countries like Germany we will invest into long-term or seasonal storage solutions for the winter. I don’t know which technology will be the best solution here but at the moment it looks like a battle between different battery storage technologies and green hydrogen- maybe both systems together in different regions. Another clever option is to use the existing power plants until the production of renewable energy is sufficient- and of course to change their energy production to hydrogen.
I know that this is a dramatically simplified view on the energy market in the future and that there are many stages to get there. The technology exists and we need a rollout with speed and scale to achieve this vision of clean energy for everybody. Inventions will support or catapult the system along the way.
Producing our own renewable energy changes everything and lowers our energy-costs. At the same time we adapt the grid-infrastructure from centralized energy production to decentral, connect the components and we are ready for intelligent, clean and cheap energy for an industrial nation that claims to be a leader.
Let’s unite the people that make this energy transition a reality. There are initiatives, pilot projects and companies who are successfully transitioning the energy market already. Still they have the potential to join forces and work on a shared vision together- the more the better for us and for the planet.
It is in our hands to change from dependence to independence! With an international view: we are gaining a competitive advantage because we will be able to export clean energy as the energy market is European. What are we waiting for?
After having a clear vision „the what“, leaders and their teams can focus on „the how“. This includes training people because future skills are needed for the transition to this new market-design. It will be key to find partners and join forces to mobilize as many people as possible to achieve the goal of clean energy for all. Let’s break down the big goal into opportunities and key results (OKRs) and go for them step by step.
WHAT WE HAVE TO DO
- Ramp up renewable energy production. Germany is only producing 29% of the energy that we need within Germany, the rest is imported. And importing energy is expensive. The costs doubled in 2022 (read the report from AG Energiebilanzen in German HERE). Generally speaking: the more renewable energy we produce as a country, the more we change the system, the more future-ready we are!
- Install the infrastructure to distribute decentrally produced energy from homes, batteries in basements AND cars to the grid. VPPs and V2G are technically possible- the technology is there, we need the policies for it.
- Install seasonal energy storage systems or use existing power plants that can run on hydrogen in the future.