Giles Parkinson for Renew Economy (Australia)
Global investment bank Citi is predicting that the combination of near zero-variable cost energy sources such as solar and wind, along with smart analytics and “big data”, may deliver what the nuclear industry promised nearly half a century ago – free energy.
“The notion of free energy came to prominence in the 1960s, as nuclear fusion was touted as a way to provide free energy,” Citi writes in the latest of its “Disruptive Innovations” series, in a section focusing on Big Data and the energy industry.
When those claims were made about nuclear fusion, the technology was in the embryonic stage, and it turned out nuclear energy wasn’t free at all, but incredibly expensive, and getting more so by the year.
But wind and solar, along with demand and storage optimisation, may finally deliver on that promise, Citi says.
“Big Data and advanced analytics are developing rapidly to improve forecasting, automation, customisation, and the democratisation of energy,” it says in its reports.
“The end result is that we are producing more energy with fewer resources ….. the goal of dramatically lowering energy costs for all, with the possibility of free energy in some corners, may finally come to fruition.”