With increasing pressure to battle climate change, utilities and private companies are transforming the way they deliver energy through greener, more efficient methods. These changes not only positively impact the environment, but create numerous jobs and opportunities within the energy sector. The rapid advancements in technology are enabling the delivery of clean energy, and utility companies everywhere are jumping onboard.
The Power Players Leading the Charge
The majority of the United States’ energy comes from natural gas, nuclear energy and coal. The big players in the oil and gas industry have been adding green energy innovators to their portfolios in order to slash their carbon imprints and incorporate greener practices. In 2018, bp acquired a $200M stake in Europe’s largest solar developer, Lightsource (now known as Lightsource bp). The company will focus on developing solar projects in the U.S., India, Europe and the Middle East. Additionally, companies like ExxonMobil are developing biofuels that are derived from sources such as algae, corn stover or switchgrass. ExxonMobil has been doubling down on research efforts, and says it’s on track to produce 10,000 barrels of algae biofuel by 2025.
Other efficient strategies are being implemented in the oil and gas sector in order to deliver clean energy. Freshwater usage and its extraction strategies are being rethought in order to reduce waste. Companies are implementing strategies that incorporate 100 percent non-potable water by improving filtration oxidation methods and chemical-free water treatment solutions. New ultrasound technologies that create 3D images of the inside of oil wells are enabling companies to make more efficient decisions. Also, the adoption of cloud-based technologies is giving providers the ability to monitor operational data in real time through the use of “digital oil fields.”
Approximately 34 percent of the world’s clean electricity comes from nuclear energy. The Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy Future (NICE) initiative, led by the United States, Canada and Japan, spearheads efforts to include nuclear energy in high-level discussions about clean energy. It encourages energy leaders throughout the world to focus on full scale nuclear for baseload energy, as well as innovative technologies that are focused on four key areas: Technology evaluations of energy systems and their usage, the engagement of stakeholders in future energy choices, valuation, and communicating nuclear energy’s role in delivering clean energy to the world.
Under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, 195 countries agreed to limit global warming well below 20 degrees Celsius. This agreement set in motion the need for the mining and coal industries to reinvent the ways in which business is done. With the given shift in the demand for coal, as well as pressure from policy makers, mining companies are focusing on the increased demand for key minerals, as well as how they can decarbonize their own operations. Mining companies are being encouraged to address local water stress projections, as well as reduce and recycle water operations within their mining processes. Along with these efforts, a push to move away from coal is placing pressure on the mining industry, and forcing it to innovate to other, cleaner minerals that don’t place as much stress on the environment or decrease water supplies.
The Future is Bright
According to the EPA, major companies across the United States are running on 100 percent green energy. Huge blue chip companies like Google, Proctor and Gamble, T-Mobile and General Mills operate from a variety of green energy, such as solar, wind, hydroelectric and other sources. With the popular push to more eco-friendly resources, energy companies are providing organizations like these with the power solutions they need to run business as usual. Additionally, many of these companies comprise the RE100, which lists the companies that have made commitments to operate 100 percent sustainably, including target years to achieve that goal.
Green Mountain Energy (GME) is a carbon-neutral company based in Texas, whose mission is to change the way power is made. It provides the Green Mountain Energy Certified Electricity product for commercial businesses, as well as its “Go Local Solar” plan for Texas residential customers. Since 1997, GME has consistently tracked the pounds of CO2 its customers have avoided through the company’s products. As of this writing, 103,839,007,139 pounds of CO2 have been avoided, which equates to planting 12, 365,514 trees. The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club, started by GME, is an offshoot of the company that empowers local communities with sustainability solutions. Its mission is to invest in nonprofits to advance sustainability for people and the planet.
McLean Energy Solutions, based in Australia’s Northern Rivers community, is a clean energy solar and electrical company that is devoted to helping homeowners and businesses install solar power. Its bespoke design systems are based on aerial imagery of a customer’s home or business. Its core mission is to save consumers money and give them the opportunity to live or work in a comfortable and sustainable home or business. In addition to solar installation, McLean also offers its customers sustainable electrician services, battery storage and air conditioning service.
The state of California itself, which aims to have a carbon-free power grid by 2045, ran on more than 99 percent renewable energy (the majority of which came from solar) for a brief period in April of this year, breaking its previous record. Aside from solar and wind, the state has geothermal, biomass, solar thermal and hydropower to help in providing renewable energy to the grid. The state of Texas leads in overall renewable energy production, due largely to its wind energy program. Washington State follows Texas as the country’s leader in hydroelectric energy. California comes in third overall, leading with utility-scale solar and geothermal.
The earth’s temperature has risen by 0.14 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, and has risen more than twice that since 1981. With the amount of heat-trapping gases in the air increasing, efforts to operate in a green and sustainable manner are more important than ever. Technological solutions, and the companies behind them, are united in their efforts to reverse the human impact on the environment. Over the next decade, innovations that improve the climate issue will be developed, giving us cleaner, greener energy and a brighter outlook on the future.
Claudia Melatini has been a content marketing writer in the private wealth, FinTech, and energy and renewables spaces for over 15 years. She has written for American Funds, Capital Group, LPL, RBC Wealth Management, Living Lela, Petnovations and more. Visit https://www.thepowerfulpage.com