A multibillion dollar trend is transforming the energy industry, and it’s not about drilling. It involves a different kind of bit: digital data.Just as fracking made oil and gas cheaper to produce, a new era of digital technology is starting to cut costs and boost efficiency for all kinds of energy—whether from oil fields, wind turbines or solar farms.This frontier includes traffic robots, inspection drones, smart meters, self-driving vehicles and other sensor-equipped machinery, all connected through the Internet of Things. Its Big Data could save energy and alleviate climate concerns. It also raises questions about privacy and security.
Connected objects are nothing new in the energy sector. While the Internet of Things (IoT) is a new concept for many consumers and companies, enterprises in the oil, gas and utility industries have long relied on connected equipment to support operations in far-flung locations.More recently, however, this connected equipment has become the source of major cybersecurity concerns.
As part of the Obama Administration’s strategy to increase energy productivity, reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil and cut harmful emissions the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is investing nearly $55 million in 24 projects to develop and deploy cutting-edge vehicle technologies that will strengthen the U.S. clean energy economy.
Last week Elon Musk introduced his Tesla Powerwall home and business energy storage unit to the public in an event that got less press than the release of a new iPhone. But the story is actually much bigger. Reliable energy storage combined with the continued growth of distributed solar energy generation, driven in part by SolarCity, could lead to a long-term renewable based power grid—the beginning of end of carbon based energy for electrical power generation.The other big energy use of oil is as a transportation fuel. But combine a robust renewable energy grid with Tesla Motors‘s autos, or next generation electric cars, perhaps designed by Apple, which will introduce its first vehicle by 2020, or driverless cars from Google, and a carbon-less energy future starts to look not only possible but commercially viable, and financially competitive with coal, oil and possibly even natural gas. Is it time to short big utilities?
Fuels produced using plant-based materials can offer a promising way to reduce the carbon emitted by road vehicles.
That’s because their plant feedstocks absorb carbon dioxide from the air, bringing them far closer to a carbon-neutral footprint than any fuel refined from crude oil.
But for diesel-powered vehicles, the term “biodiesel” is used loosely and imprecisely–and often covers anything from plant-derived fuels to burning used deep-frier grease in your converted old Mercedes.
Modern society was born a hundred and fifty years ago when coal began providing sufficient energy to make lots and lots of steel and steam, lifting ordinary citizens out of poverty and into the newly-developing middle class. Soon after, we added oil. The energy obtained from these sources was obvious and immediate. It took little energy input to get a lot of energy out.
Oil prices have fallen by more than half since July. Just five years ago, such a plunge in fossil fuels would have put the renewable-energy industry on bankruptcy watch. Today: Meh.
Here are seven reasons why humanity’s transition to cleaner energy won’t be sidetracked by cheap oil.
The collapse in the oil price has been the energy story of the year. The consequences are immediate and painful for exploration and production companies, especially in mature basins such as the North Sea. This is something I have seen several times before in my career. What makes it different this time is that the ability of the Opec oil exporting countries to manage global supply is being called into question as never before.
In the short term, with energy demand growth in Asia slowing and North American shale production strong, there is excess global oil and gas supply, which is why prices have fallen.
2014 was another big year for energy news and commentary at TheEnergyCollective.com. From the impacts of tumbling oil prices and the largest climate march in history to debates over Germany’s energy policies and a practical guides to buying a new light bulb, TheEnergyCollective.com was full of insightful analysis, informative articles, and rich debate.
Here’s a round-up of our top 14 articles from 2014…
To make business operations more efficient, Atek Access Technologies turned to the Internet of Things.
St. Paul, Minn.-based Atek manufactures various products for the oil industry, whose customers haven’t always been the most forward-looking. But earlier this year, the Internet of Things (IoT) enabled Atek’s customers to reduce costs and become more efficient in their oil deliveries. Instead of sending out trucks once a week — whether tanks needed oil or not — the company put a new IoT-connected device in its tanks to indicate whether a delivery is necessary.