Last March renewables production exceeded demand in Portugal with hydro contributing 55% and wind accounting for 42%. An impressive outcome. Should we celebrate it?
Not really. Just 1 month earlier it could not have been achieved. And the same month in 2017 renewables production accounted only to 6% of demand.
Why? Because major renewable production is weather driven, not manned.
As drought conditions and water stress are expected to become more frequent, due to climate change, hydro contribution will be much more variable. And, as global warming increases the atmosphere energy, extreme events will be more frequent and wind generation availability will drop.
New solutions are being tested to buffer and smooth hydro and wind renewables high variability. But energy is expensive to store and so most of them, as the huge arrays of state of the art batteries that are being deployed in California and Australia, can only cope with daily demand peaks lasting a few hours.
In a nutshell, while hydro and wind renewables greatly contribute to lower carbon emissions no one should really depend on it them to achieve energy security in the near future. Because they are unreliable.
Besides, as the main driver for increase energy demand is the cities growth and spawning, increasing distribution losses are expected as big hydro and wind farms can only be deployed far away in the open spaces. In short electrical systems efficiency will drop.
A better way to solve this conundrum is to rely on energy efficiency, as every watt saved lowers energy demand and grid losses. And increase renewable share.
And of course every watt saved lowers the energy bill, making companies more profitable and families wealthier.
SST believes that energy efficiency is a strong contributor to a more sustainable world.
And is proud to announce it partnered with Is Green, a specialist in smart energy management systems, to provide an integrated solution for water and energy management in buildings.