The Key Challenges Facing Renewable Energy and Sustainable Power Plants


In high value industries like construction, there’s a growing emphasis being placed on energy-efficiency and the use of sustainable materials. Despite this and the fact that renewable energy sources are growing at an incredible rate, it’s estimated that fossil fuels will still account for a 77% market share by the year 2050.

Much of this has to do with the numerous challenges surrounding renewables, particularly in terms of widespread adoption and considerable fluctuations in terms of energy sources.

We’ll address these challenges in the article below, while asking how these may be resolved in the years to come.


  1. The Implementation of Effective Energy Storage

 In the case of traditional fossil fuel plants, these outlets operate at a pre-mitigated level and produce a consistently reliable source of energy.

The same cannot be said for renewables, however, which represent a much more unreliable source that can be impacted by a diverse array of different factors. The energy output from a solar farm can be suddenly reduced by heavy clouds, for example, while wind farms are also impacted by speed and variable forecasts.

To counter this, researchers and developers are investing heavily in energy storage systems for renewables, while also innovating as a way of optimising capacity for renewable sources like hydropower.

In terms of the latter, firms like Weir have developed advanced flow controls that optimise capacity while also minimising waste, without compromising on the reliability of the power source.

2. The Combination of Distributed Systems

On a similar note, control software is also an obvious solution to better monitor and manage the output of renewable power sources.

However, we must recognise that the vast majority of renewable energy generation sites are distributed across a diverse geographical area, making it extremely difficult to regulate and oversee outputs with the existing range of software options.

In order to manage large, global offshore wind farms (and indeed similar power sources), companies must leverage intricate data sets from each location and combine these into a single report.

Further innovation is planned in this space, in a bid to develop software that can manage this complex process across various items of distributed equipment. We’ll have to watch this space for now, but we’re sure to see some advancement sooner rather than later.


3. Tracking and Reporting on Renewable Energy Sources 

The next stage in the process is accurately tracking renewable energy output and reporting on this. However, this crucial task is proving extremely difficult at present.

After all, while effectively controlling and monitoring renewable energy is crucial to future efficiency, it’s also imperative that companies are able to harness the data generated by their equipment if they’re to optimise the value that they offer.

The software used to manage renewable energy sources should be able to visualise and capture huge swathes of real-time data, while being able to present this in a way that analysts can easily comprehend.

This requires a focus on smart and intuitive software, with initial options like Zenon Analyser enabling firms to generate several different reports across an array of data sets.

Ultimately, the goal must be to build on this innovation and improve the level of data capture over time, without compromising on visibility or ease of use.



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BDC 309 : Oct 2023