Posted by Big Gav
Cleantech.com has a column noting the foundation of the clean energy economy is a whole lot of software - Software: the glue that will hold cleantech together.
The transition to a low carbon economy will lead to a more decentralised energy infrastructure whereby energy will be generated from far more locations – such as from domestic roof-top solar panels. This contrasts with the current infrastructure which entails electricity being generated and distributed from a few centralised power plants.
If you couple this with the fact that many of the main sources of renewable energy generation are intermittent, then one cannot escape the conclusion that the amount of energy-related information that the world will need to process is going to jump to unheard of levels.
Therefore integrating renewable forms of energy into our society at a significant level will require us to develop the capacity to manage energy-related information that we have never had to worry about before. How much renewable energy is being produced? Where it is being produced? Where is it being demanded? How much of it can and can’t be stored? How much is likely to be produced in the next few hours based on the weather? What’s more, as more energy intensive products start connecting to the grid—pure-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles come to mind—then this will only strain the infrastructure further.
This is where software can step in. Its main strength is its ability to collate and analyse vast amounts of data in an efficient and effective manner. Developing software to answer and respond to the above questions is going to be essential to the cleantech sector. In fact, we would say it will struggle without it.