The more we use clean energy and battery power, the more we alleviate climate change
During this year’s first episode of the new UJ Cloudebate™ video content show broadcast live at 18:00 on 13 April 2022, we discuss how Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies (4IR Tech) assist with increasing and optimising the use of clean energy and battery power.
Clean energy such as solar, wind and hydro power generation have virtually no negative impact on climate change, as they do not release harmful gas into the atmosphere. Using modern batteries to store clean energy electricity helps alleviate climate change as it reduces the amount of fossil fuels burnt.
This means the combination of clean energy and battery storage are a powerful ally in alleviating climate change.
The burning of fossil fuels causes climate change, as it releases harmful gasses such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere, in turn creating a greenhouse effect that warms the earth unnaturally. The subsequent rise in the average temperature of the planet can lead to floods, wildfires and the melting of the planet’s ice caps. All this can cause widespread harm and devastation, including death and the destruction of habitats.
According to the PWC report 4IR for the Earth (2017), “advanced materials, emerging battery and biotechnologies offer new ways to generate, store and consume renewable energy in cities by raising capacity (e.g. by harnessing photosynthesis in plants) and by managing peak demand (especially for solar energy on cloudy days)”.
A key driver of the increased adoption of battery power for vehicles and in general for the electrification of the entire traditional fossil fuel transportation industry, is the improvement in performance and power efficiency of electric engines, as well as the increased storage and capacity features of modern batteries. Simply put, if your electric vehicle drives the same – or even better than – a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine and you don’t have to re-charge that often, what’s not to like?
Couple this trend with increased and cost-efficient utilisation of clean energy from solar, wind and hydro sources, a virtuous cycle develops that in total results in the alleviation of climate change. If your electric car’s battery is charged from energy generated from a solar plant, for instance, no fossil fuel is burnt and thus no poisonous gasses are released into the atmosphere. This is what’s called a real win-win.
But how does 4IR Tech contribute? The answer lies in the way the many different technological advances of 4IR collectively enable breaking with traditional fossil fuels for energy. Some of these positive changes driven by 4IR Tech include the development of the high technology of new age electric vehicles such as the cars first created by Tesla, now followed by most vehicle manufactures around the world.
Amazon’s first South African solar plant delivers clean energy and opportunity
South Africa is an ideal country for solar power generation. Specifically in areas with lots of sun, a major solar energy industry is being developed, with the help of 4IR.
For instance, the well-known 4IR Tech company Amazon recently announced that its large, 10-megawatt solar plant is already up and running in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province. The plant is expected to generate up to 28 000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable energy per year, which equals the annual electricity consumption of over 8 000 average South African homes. The plant supplies clean, renewable power to AWS data centre and benefits the local community through climate neutral job creation.
The conclusion is clean
Apart from 4IR Tech inherent in clean energy generation and within new age batteries themselves, the cost and other efficiencies associated with better clean energy generation and manufacturing systems, supply chains and communication, all underpinned by improved technology, contribute collectively to make the adoption of clean energy stored in batteries much more convenient and less costly to the public, while alleviating climate change at the same time.