Tech’s Changing Stance on Renewable Energy: Old vs New

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Tech’s Changing Stance on Renewable Energy: Old vs New

Tesla recently signed a contract with a solar provider in Israel to supply a battery storage system. Source: Teslarati.com

16 July 2021 – by Eric Koons

The tech industry is slowly becoming a leader in the sustainability space. Companies are actively reducing their environmental impacts, setting carbon reduction goals, and increasing the share of renewable energy in tech. The world is actively transitioning towards sustainability in the face of growing consumer pressure and climate change. From energy generation to transport, companies and governments are looking for solutions that reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainability.

Renewable Energy Technologies are the Future

This transition has been a boon for the technology sector. It has seen a myriad of breakthroughs capable of supporting a global shift towards renewable energy and a low-carbon future. For instance, large-scale lithium-ion batteries capable of supporting an electrical grid, the rise of hydrogen power, increasingly efficient electric vehicles – technology is redefining how we live.

EV charging stations in a parking lot. EV's are one of the main ways to tech is helping to increase our use of renewable energy.
Electric vehicles are a key sustainability solution. Source: wired.com

Innovation in Action – Sustainability and Renewable Energy

Many companies have identified how sustainable solutions can reduce environmental degradation and improve their efficiency and bottom line. This has led to a rash of changes by private entities, small and large. Strategies like altering supply chains, changing operational strategies, and reevaluating shipping techniques have become common. Here too, renewable energy technology has been invaluable.

Tesla is a Sustainability Leader in the Tech Industry

Several companies are leading the sustainable transition within the industry.

Companies like Tesla have always pushed how technology interacts with our day-to-day lives. And Elon Musk’s vision for a high-tech future has led to his companies continually raising the bar. Tesla’s electric vehicles, which launched in 2008, were the first on the global market. Since then, they have set the standard for other car manufacturers in the electric vehicle space. And more recently, Musk publicly announced that they are happy to share patents and intellectual property as long as it contributes to sustainable development.

Image of the Hornsdale Power Reserve: renewable energy in tech
Tesla supplied a 50 MW battery system to the Hornsdale solar plant in South Australia. Source: PVmagazine.com

Are Other Companies as Renewable Energy Forward as Tela?

True to form, Tesla has continued to lead innovative solutions – notably its solar panels and more recently, its ban of cryptocurrency due to climate concerns. However, while companies like Tesla have been leaders for renewable energy in tech, some have been slower to adapt. Several of the ‘old guard’ have been caught faking emissions data within the autom0tive industry, accused of greenwashing and called out over their lack of ambition. Wind and solar energy have huge potential that cannot should be ignored

Challenging the Status Quo

Toyota and Volkswagen are just two of the major manufacturers that have been embroiled in such scandals. These companies have sought to appeal to changing consumer demands; they have altered their marketing and not their product.  This is an issue that permeates within companies reliant on fossil fuel and short-term economic gains. In other words, these same economic powerhouses are not necessarily backing down from their points of view, with Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda recently reiterating that they do not see battery-electric vehicles as the future of the sector.

The Contrast of Musk and Toyoda

This divergence in ethos and business direction accurately represents the internal debates held within major global companies. As Richard Heede explains, in some instances, it is in the best interest of companies to drag their feet on a transition to maximize short-term gains while hedging their long-term investments – much like Toyota is.

Musk and Toyoda speaking at a conference.
Musk and Toyoda represent two of the most valuable auto makers in the world. Source: electrek.co

Positive Outlook For Renewable Energy in Tech

Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities for investors seeking to fund clean energy projects disrupting the status quo. Renewable energy technologies are already on their way to play a significant role in the global ‘race to zero.’ There is growing interest in developing cutting-edge technology that further improves sustainability in everyday life. New renewable energy technologies are being developed in various fields globally, from mining to IT, innovative solutions are breaking into the market. While questions remain as to how much major entities are promoting greenwashing, Heede points out that consumers will eventually catch on, “These companies should lead the transition to low-carbon economies. Laggards will fail.”

Big companies are at the forefront for Renewable Energy in Tech

Big technology companies will define how the future will look and implement renewable energy in the tech industry. Elon Musk and Tesla have paved the way for startups and businesses to explore their technological ideas for renewable energy. This creates an environment where decision-makers can be comfortable going against the long-standing status quos.  With technology long having been at the root of continued human evolution, this is an exciting time to be involved within the sustainability and renewable energy field.

 

graphic of renewable energy in tech

 

 

 

by Eric Koons

Eric is a passionate environmental advocate that believes renewable energy is a key piece in meeting the world’s growing energy demands. He received an environmental science degree from the University of California and has worked to promote environmentally and socially sustainable practices since. Eric’s expertise extends across the environmental field, yet he maintains a strong focus on renewable energy. His work has been featured by leading environmental organizations, such as World Resources Institute and Hitachi ABB Power Grids.

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