As we enter 2021, hopefully a better year is in sight than the one we leave behind. The energy market was greatly affected by the pandemic and the economic and ecological problems the world faces continue to be a serious threat to stability. It also shows how in some ways, the industry can be significantly upended with some good consequences, such as cost savings for the consumer, more efficient industries, and a reduction in carbon emissions over a wide spectrum of power producing and consuming organizations.
Renewables will continue to surge
Energy storage has moved forward significantly in the marketplace with the continued expansion of renewable, green energy such as solar, wind, and hydropower. The demand for inexpensive and reliable behind-the-meter energy supplies is likely to be even higher in 2021. According to the IEA report, 2021 is forecast to almost reach the level of renewable capacity additions of 2019.
World electric vehicle sales will be close to 4 million, up 74% from 2020
Many countries’ programmes which had the intention of offsetting the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, included extended support for electric vehicles. The new US administration has pledged to support EVs and several EU countries have increased subsidies for EVs. These trends all point to a year of rapid growth in 2021, (even though EVs will still be only about 5% of total worldwide vehicle sales.)
The Biden administration will tread carefully on climate policy
Joe Biden won the US presidential election pledging to “act on climate immediately and ambitiously, because there’s no time to waste”. This includes some important symbolic moves, however, including taking the US back into the Paris Climate Agreement, and setting a goal of net-zero emissions for the US no later than 2050.
More companies will set goals for cutting emissions
Early next year, regulators in the EU and the UK are going to start pushing listed companies to talk about their emissions and climate risks. Some companies are already taking measures to become 100 percent renewables or in Google’s case “100 percent renewable every hour of every day.”
Google wants to eliminate the need for fossil fuels altogether by matching the time of renewable energy generation to the time the energy is consumed. To get there, the company has developed new technology that shifts the electricity demands of its largest data centres to match clean energy supply.
Sustainability within the construction industry
It’s becoming more important than ever for companies to demonstrate that they appreciate the importance of climate change and are actively taking steps to reduce their own impact. From green buildings to use of climate-friendly processes and materials, there are a huge number of small steps to ensure that the construction industry reduces its burden on the planet.
These are just one or two predictions to come in the new year but one thing is for sure, the aftermath of the pandemic will have a big impact on the year to come.