The trend toward homes that are powered by alternative energy sources, ranging from solar cells to wind turbines to hydrogen fuel cells and biomass gases, is one that needs to continue into the 21st century and beyond.
We have a pressing need to become more energy independent both in the home and our workplaces, and not having to rely on the supplying of fossil fuels from unstable nations who are often hostile to us and our interests. But even beyond this factor, we as individuals need to get “off the grid” and also stop having to be so dependent on factors we can’t control.
As Remi Wilkinson, Senior Analyst with Carbon Free quotes “inevitably, the growth of distributed generation will lead to the restructuring of the retail electricity market and the generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure”.
The power providers may have to diversify their business to make up for income lost through household energy micro generation (meeting some or all of your home’s energy needs by installing alternative energy technology such as solar panels or wind turbines).
She is referring to the conclusions by a group of UK analysts, herself included among them, who call themselves Carbon Free.
Carbon Free has been studying the ever-growing trend toward alternative energy-using homes in England and other western countries. This trend is being driven by ever-more government intervention, sometimes backing of alternative energy research and development, the rising cost of oil and other fossil fuels, concern about environmental degradation, and desires to be energy independent.
Carbon Free concludes that, assuming traditional energy prices remain at their current level or rise, micro generation will become to home energy supply what the Internet became to communications and data gathering, and eventually this will have large effects on the businesses of the existing energy supply companies.
Carbon Free’s analyses also show that energy companies themselves have jumped in on the game of generating energy via micro generation and now seek to leverage seeking to open up new markets for themselves. Carbon Free cites the example of electricity companies (in the UK) reporting that they are seriously researching and developing ideas for new geothermal energy facilities, as these companies see geothermal energy production as a highly profitable way of the future.
Another conclusion of Carbon Free is that solar energy hot water heating technology is an efficient technology for reducing home water heating costs in the long run, although it is initially quite expensive to install. However, solar hot water is not yet cost-effective for companies, as they require too much in the way of specialized plumbing to implement the heating into existing building infrastructure.
Lastly, Carbon Free tells us that installing wind turbines is an efficient way of reducing home electricity costs, while also being more independent. Again, this is initially a very expensive thing to have installed, improvements in technology and larger economies of scale will led to future price declines.