Preeti Bajaj is the newly appointed CEO & MD at Luminous Power Technologies and is responsible for all company operations. Founded in 1988, Luminous has over the last 33 years, grown into one of India’s most trusted brands in the power back-up, and residential solar space. With experience of nearly two decades in the Australian and global business environments, she holds expertise in developing and executing strategies to set the pace for sustainable growth across a range of enterprises (multinationals, ASX listed corporates and startups). Over the years, Preeti has built a career at the intersection of technology and transformation.
“This supersedes political parties, race, creed, religion, it doesn’t matter. If we do not solve the environment, we’re all damned.” Elon Musk’s famous quote that he shared in an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher summarises the energy conundrum. Over 40% of energy-related CO2 emissions are due to the burning of fossil fuels for electricity generation. All electricity generation technologies emit greenhouse gases at some point in their life cycle.
In contrast, as a study in Nature Energy reveals, carbon footprint of solar, wind and nuclear power are significantly lower than coal or gas and new advances in technology are driving it lower still. This remains true after accounting for emissions during manufacture, construction and fuel supply. This is welcome news, but renewables still account for just over 30% of total energy use with IEA data showing that annual renewable capacity is expected to touch just about 320 GW in 2022. Meanwhile conventional energy costs remain high – driven upwards by rising demand as well as geopolitical upheavals. Consequently, and now more than ever, businesses are searching for energy that is both affordable and environmentally sustainable. With energy solutions and energy storage, it is possible to achieve all these benefits at once.
The three Ds
The good news is that the evolution in renewable energy tech is driving huge innovations in the energy storage, decarbonisation, digital technologies and distributed energy generation domains, helping accelerate the push towards a Net Zero future and empowering consumers. This portends to usher in a carbo neutral future where clean energy will power practically every aspect of our lives. But how is the energy sector enabling this?
First, decarbonization aims to reduce greenhouse emissions to achieve climate neutrality by lowering the amount of carbon, mainly carbon dioxide (CO2), sent into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels such as gas and oil. This reduction in emissions can be done unit by unit from factories and buildings to meet emission reduction targets. The second imperative is effective management and monitoring, and this requires a high degree of digitisation to be implemented across the entire energy ecosystem – right from generation to transmission, to distribution, and finally to consumer supply and demand. Both these disruptive elements are already changing the very way energy is both generated and used in many parts of the world. Decentralisation, the third, equally important pillar, is focused on decentralising power generation by reducing the reliance on just a handful of large generation plants and dispersing this across many smaller power plants. This is possible when CHP units come up near industrial or business districts or solar panels come up on residential properties. Across the world, as legacy fossil fuel burning plants reach the end of their lives, they are being replaced with wind farms, solar fields, hydro/marine generation and biomass – ensuring that decentralisation is increasingly prevalent.
Advanced renewable energy storage
While the demand for renewable power continues to rise exponentially, the intermittent nature of both wind and solar power is also driving the need for energy storage systems by both enterprise and residential segments. Batteries are at the heart of this – helping store power for use and able to both draw from and supply to the grid depending on institutional demand. Today, a 10kva high-capacity inverter with battery storage is 40 percent more cost-effective, requires little to no maintenance, and is pollution-free. It offers a 2-hour backup time for running large loads. There is a huge opportunity for bringing in play a regulatory ecosystem that deploys a carrot-and-stick strategy – the stick in this case would be debits or fines for noise control and pollution, while the carrot could be credits or subsidies offered to those who purchase ecologically relevant energy storage systems. This would help enhance the deployment of these systems across the user ecosystem at a faster rate.
As the world moves to embrace a new energy paradigm, incorporating new distribution and generation models, the industry at large needs to take on a more proactive role driving towards a carbon neutral future. It is heartening to see multiple stakeholders including enterprise, policy makers and regulators, as well as energy companies come together to chart out a new energy future – one that embraces greater use of renewables and energy storage solutions.