This article is available also in spanish here

The electricity challenge: Will we be able to generate all the energy we need?

My list

Author | Arantxa HerranzInternet-connected devices. High-resolution video streaming. Emails. Surveillance cameras. Smart TVs. The list of the different types of smart and connected products and devices that enable us to live better lives continues to grow. But the amount of electricity these devices require is also increasing.According to a report by the Swedish researcher Anders Andrae, power demand from internet-connected devices is increasing 20% each year. In 2015, it accounted for approximately 3-5% of the world’s electricity consumption. In his report, Andrae discovered that the ICT industry could use 20% of the entire world’s electricity and emit around 5.5% of the world’s carbon emissions by 2025. In other words, more than any country (except the United States, China and India).However, together with this high consumption, another problem is the energy they waste. According to a report by the International Energy Agency in 2014, the 14 billion connected electronic devices that existed then, wasted around USD 80 billion each year because of their inefficient technology. For 2020, the problem will considerably worsen, with an estimated USD 120 billion wasted.With an ever-increasing number of connected devices and sensors, energy demand continues to rise. An increase that will reach 28% between 2015 and 2040, according to the United States Energy Information Administration’s calculations. Most of this growth (60%) is expected to come from countries that are not in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and especially in countries where demand is driven by strong economic growth, particularly in Asia.However, there are also encouraging figures. For example, the global energy demand per capita will peak in 2030. From then on, and thanks to new energy efficiency technologies and stricter government policies, this demand will gradually drop, according to the World Energy Council.

The solution is renewable energies and self-consumption

Therefore, energy demand per person, including fuel for transport, heating and electricity, will begin to drop by 2030. Furthermore, the commitment to renewable energies such as solar and wind power will continue to strengthen, while the use of coal and petrol as an energy source will gradually decline.If solar and wind energy accounted for 4% of power generation in 2014, thanks to these changes, they could supply up to 39% by 2060, according to figures released by the World Economic Forum.Furthermore, individual and community energy generation will also enable developed countries to cover over 50% of their energy requirements via this channel. A considerable increase bearing in mind that in 2016, this source of energy barely accounted for 5%.Optimising energy generation and usage is one of the main objectives of a smart city. Communication and digitalisation are key factors in order to precisely optimise the use of vital resources such as water. The capacity to record real-time data from different residential, commercial and industrial spaces will be key to generating only the capacity required for relevant areas or even for reserving surplus water in storage deposits.Consumers will not only become more efficient in terms of energy consumption and ultimately optimise their energy bill expenses, but they may also be able to buy and sell electricity using Blockchain, as residents are doing in a neighbourhood in Bangkok. This will not only help reduce uncontrolled electricity consumption but will also greatly relieve an infrastructure that is still anchored in the 20th century.Images | David Cristian/Unsplash, Riccardo Annandale/Unsplash

Related content

Recommended profiles for you

Remember to activate your profile to network!
Activate profile
Trelly Marigza
Trelly Marigza
Climate Consciousness and Action Group
co-convenor
Mile Krstev
Mile Krstev
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Student of MSc Sustainable Technology.\\nI hold a BSc in Environmental Engineering.
Anaisa Dones
Anaisa Dones
Cetys University
Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering
ER
Erandi Rodríguez
CSIC
PhD student in C3Barcelona
Felipe Martin Rueda Avalo
Felipe Martin Rueda Avalo
ENOSA
Jefe de Clientes Principales
Ariela Valverde
Ariela Valverde
Urbanalytica
Co-founder. Architect and Urban Planner
Iuliia Maskova
Iuliia Maskova
UPV/EHU
MSc in Smart Cities and Communities
DW
David Wilk
Consultant
consultant
Gamze Seda  SENTURK
Gamze Seda SENTURK
Gustave Eiffel University
AT
Ais Amalia Tsani
Airlangga University
Undergraduate Student
PT
Pablo Toral Oropesa
Ineco
Advisory
Fiorella Espinoza
Fiorella Espinoza
Calidoscopi
Director on Calidoscopi Company
SH
Shingo Hosotani
Sumitomo Corporation Europe
Head of Innovation Promotion \\nGeneral Manager, Business Development
Marie ZEZULKOVA
Marie ZEZULKOVA
Ministry of Regional Development
Director of the Regional Policy Department
Jessenia Velayarce
Jessenia Velayarce
Av Creative
Ceo
Roostai Sohrab
Roostai Sohrab
RheinEnergie
Corporate Development and Strategy
RR
Rhin Khairina Rahmat
Hasanuddin University
An undergraduate student with focus major Internatinal Relations.
GD
GUADALYNE DANTES
UDD-City Government of Makati
Planning Officer/UDD-City Government of Makati
Mu
María Alejandra urdaneta
Madrid
Eléctrica engineer
Andrés Valverde Farré
Andrés Valverde Farré
Universidad Piloto de Colombia
Senior researcher in environmental issues

SmartCity
Thank you for registering to Tomorrow.City. You can now start exploring from your computer, or with your phone or tablet downloading our app!
Only accessible for registered users
This content is available only for registered users
TO: $$toName$$
SUBJECT: Message from $$fromName$$