The Future of Sustainable Energy

Photo by Ben Stevinson |
As climate change and fossil fuel issues steadily grow, the search for a new energy source is constantly increasing. In Germany, a different approach to our energy problems lies in the restructuring of electricity distribution grids called "E-Energy". 
It's a new program being researched in six isolated testing projects that strive toward a new “smart-grid” technology. The basic idea entails linking Information Communication Technology (ICT) networks within the energy community: producers, distributers, and consumers. By connecting all these branches with one “Internet of Energy”, the usage and distribution can be optimized to utilize renewable sources before fossil fuels.

The implementation of smart electricity meters called “Smart Gateways” allows consumers and distributers to monitor the continual flow of energy between the two, making the consumer more actively engaged in their energy choices. If implemented, this network of energy allows the consumer to discover peak times of solar or wind energy and choose to receive and use the most energy during these times.

Further implications of such communication is in the future development of electric cars. The large market of transportation fuel can then be monitored using this same grid system. These six projects to test and refine the practicality of this are expected to return results to the German government in early 2012 and will be used to integrate the E-Energy program into the current market. 

The American and Canadian governments have implemented similar energy efficiency programs through the GENI project and ecoENERGY Efficiency project respectively. While these projects are geared towards renewable resources as well as the optimization of fossil fuel consumption, they lack the same direction and actual results that the E-Energy program have already accumulated.

The future of our planet lies in the balance of consumption and production of energy, the usage of renewable resources and the eye opening awareness of where our precious energy is being used. Germany’s E-Energy project is a revolutionary leap forward in this effort and is a step towards balancing our ever growing energy needs with what is actually available.