It’s been a long time coming but it looks like 2020 is about to end. Who would’ve thought we will spend the last 10 months of the year cooped up inside our homes? But there it is. Every government around the world imposed strict lockdown measures to curb the virus. This was after the World Health Organization (WHO) categorized the coronavirus as a pandemic in March. It has been 10 months and thankfully, there is now news of efficient vaccines against the virus. We’ll see how that will change our lives next year.
But on the brighter side of things, experts believed that the months-long lockdown helped the environment “breathe.” With less emission from vehicles during the early months of the quarantine and coupled with the reduced processes in manufacturing companies, the air is a lot cleaner these days. Of course, that comes with a downside, too. For the first time, divers saw disposable face masks at the bottom of the ocean. Divers said there are now more face masks down there than jellyfish.
While environmentalists deal with the problem of face mask production, the rest of the industry looks ahead to the future of energy efficiency and sustainability. What trends will the industry likely see in 2021 and beyond? Covid-19 did not only affect economies and livelihood, but it also impacted the advances made in the field of energy efficiency. It also halted the push for businesses to use solar panels.
Investment to Slow Down
Now that many businesses have closed their doors or are spending as little as they can, how can they be convinced to invest in energy-efficient devices, tools, and materials? Unfortunately, the part about the skyrocketing prices of energy-saving materials will remain. Companies are still selling conventional appliances cheaper compared to energy-efficient ones. This duplicity, however, creates a chain of reaction in consumerism and sustainability.
The world will experience its deepest economic recession yet. Millions of people have lost their jobs, and millions more will in the coming days. Businesses do not have the money to spend on transitioning from using conventional energy to renewable ones. And even if they do, this might not be a priority for them right now since they simply want to survive the downturn.
Constraints in Supplies
The Covid-19 pandemic impacted the manufacturing of materials and components needed for solar and wind farms. This means that there will be more competition for supplies, which will then lead to higher prices in the market. The impact will be on the consumers as energy-saving products will continue to have premium prices next year. It might be a while before the world sees these prices dropping.
It’s the same thing happening in financing rates. Startups are having a hard time financing their projects because of the higher bank rates. The insecurity in the economy is pushing financing institutions to increase interest rates. They are also imposing strict eligibility requirements. However, it is also likely that these impacts will be short-term, and that we will see the industry get back on its feet much sooner than other more fragile markets.
New Sources of Renewable Energy
Expect 2021 to introduce some new sources of renewable energy or more energy-saving features. Green hydrogen is one of those. It is taking off in many parts of the globe, playing an important role in decarbonizing sectors such as long-haul trucking, heavy manufacturing, and aviation. It is a key component in global carbon emissions, but its rise has been hindered by difficulties in production.
Green hydrogen is four times more expensive to produce than gray hydrogen. Technically, to produce green hydrogen, renewable energy sources have to create electrolysis. The most common renewable source of energy for green hydrogen is water. Since the price of renewable energy has been steadily decreasing in recent years, this makes it a viable time for green hydrogen to make its mark in the industry.
Consumers will be particular about their energy consumption, too. As many of them struggle to come to terms with the impact of the pandemic on their finances, they’ll also look at cutting down on their expenses. New developments in the renewable energy sector will push consumers to try out energy-saving technology.
These trends are anchored on the future of the coronavirus, as well as how society will react to recent developments. Although the pandemic has a profound impact on this industry, its success depends on its ability to deliver customer-centric programs that can meet regulatory mandates. The future, indeed, is going to be powered by new technology. That much is as clear as the day.