Andrey

Hacker Noon Investor

Why the Energy Crisis Persists and How New Technologies are Changing the Narrative

You would expect that a world tackling challenges like driverless cars and space travels would have snuffed out the lingering global electricity crisis decades ago, right? As it turns out, the opposite is the case, as data from the World Bank shows that over 1 billion people do not have access to electricity and hundreds of million people rely on unreliable electricity sources.
Here, we will take a look at the factors contributing to this crisis, and how today’s technologies could give us a headway in the fight against blackouts.

The Electricity Crisis Is Real

In developed countries, the popular energy discussion making the rounds is the challenges that come with the demand for renewable energy sources and the move to cut CO2 emissions. Unsurprisingly enough, renewable generation experienced a 7% increase last year, as the demand for electricity rose by 4%. However, for many of these nations to reach their goal of 100% clean energy dependency, there is still a long way to go.
On the other hand, developing countries are not particularly engulfed in the renewables conversation, as their primary aim is to ensure that stable electricity becomes accessible and affordable. While this is a given, many countries in this category are yet to find lasting solutions to their energy crisis. A case study is Nigeria with a mere 54% of its population able to access electricity. This narrative holds for many of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
In light of this, and the uniqueness of the electricity or energy challenges facing each country, it becomes imperative to discuss the factors that have undermined the progress achieved thus far.

What Are the Main Factors Contributing to the Persisting Global Energy Crisis?

1. Renewable Power Generation Is A Long Way from Being Perfect

For developed countries, harnessing energy from renewable sources is not a problem. The problem is generating enough from renewable sources that would cater to the needs of their populace. While renewable energy generation has risen considerably, it is yet to account for more than 50% of the total energy generated in many of these countries, with the UK only able to generate 33% renewable energy of its total in 2018. Therefore, they still rely heavily on coal or gas-fired plants as energy sources.
To bridge the gap between the output of their renewable energy infrastructure or plants, these countries must promote distributed energy generation models where private homes can generate their electricity and sell the excess. This model will become viable if there exists an appropriate billing system for such transactions.

2. Centralization and Corruption

Away from the renewable energy shortcomings, developing countries with electricity crises are more or less in their predicaments because they favor a centralized model where the government is the sole custodian of the country’s energy industry.  This structure has promoted inefficient business principles, which allow consumers to get subsidized rates for the electricity they consume. More concerning is the fact that this model is synonymous with corruption. Some countries keep pumping billions of dollars into their energy sector with little to show for it.

Disruptive Technologies Can Help Alleviate the Electricity Crisis

In today’s era of increased automation and transparency-enhancing technologies, there are endless opportunities, as governments and companies collaborate to create smart ecosystems. The same opportunities are available to the energy sector with experts agreeing that disruptive technologies might just be the solution to the electricity crisis.
Hence, organizations and governments are introducing various projects which will allow them to capitalize on the innovative capacity of Blockchain and IoT to deliver efficient energy solutions.
One such organization is Gigajoule Floating Solutions, which is looking to utilize Blockchain and IoT to optimize the generation and supply of electricity to countries that are badly in need of it. To achieve this, the company will incorporate gas-based floating power plants as the primary energy source.
Another one such start-up, Emjac, they aim to recover the trapped energy in waste tyres and reduce the carbon footprint in our environment and channel the renewable energy back into our ecosystem to benefit communities around the world via a trusted market platform.

Alternatively, Zero Carbon Project wants to reduce carbon footprint by providing access to cheaper energy contracts where the carbon emissions are offset by international carbon credits.
The innovative power of Blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), and how they can transform the electricity industry are not new topics. However, there is no doubt that it is only when we start combining the disruptive forces of these technologies that we will begin to experience changes.
Blockchain, on its own, is a technology that establishes confidence and transparency, as data or information entered into the distributed ledger becomes tamper-proof. This feature could single-handedly eliminate the corruption factor since records of transactions, infrastructures, and investments are free from manipulations. Once corruption is out of the picture, stakeholders will certainly start getting the value for every penny invested in improving power production and distribution.
Likewise, the implementation of an IoT-enabled system through the deployment of smart electricity devices would boost the commercialization of private grids. This possibility becomes attainable with the introduction of smart metering and billing systems that would allow private homeowners to buy and sell electricity with ease. Another advantage of the IoT technology is that it will give governments a vantage point, as to how much electricity is consumed, the regions that require more or less power supply, and ways to curtail wastage.
Combining the features of these two technologies establishes a system that ensures trust, clarity, and efficiency. While IoT would generate all the data relating to the electricity generated and consumed, the blockchain will serve as the data bank where market services could permissibly access crucial data that can help them improve their offerings.
The proliferation of Innovative electricity and energy solutions integrating blockchain and IoT is a pointer that the energy sector is moving in the right direction in its quest for global electrification. To sustain this momentum, governments, companies, and consumers must work hand-in-hand in implementing technologies that can deliver timely results.
Disclaimer: I do not have any vested interest in any of the mentioned projects. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and is not investment advice. Do your research.

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