The story of energy use by humans goes back hundreds of thousands of years when fire began to be used. Fire had multiple benefits for humans and helped in advancing as a species. It allowed for people to gather and use the resource commonly, allowing for the creation of social bonds and for groups to grow larger. It allowed humans to cook their food, providing nutrition and preventing infections. And it was a weapon against wild animals, allowing for protection from the wild. The reverence for this energy source is such that numerous cultures have a special place in their pantheon for the entity representing the source of heat — the sun.
While energy has historically been generated through either the burning of wood and coal or harnessing wind and water, the use of coal as a fuel for industrial purposes after the invention of the steam engine saw a rapid rise in the quantum of energy obtained. An energy-dense source, it spurred the advent of the industrial revolution and saw a rise in living standards as never seen before in humanity. In the western world, British coal production saw a rise from 5 million tons a year in 1800 to 265 million tons in 1910. The GDP of the country also grew in tandem with coal production as it was used in numerous industries, leading to a massive increase in living standards. This was also the case across countries that industrialized at different years and decades in Europe and the Americas. The use of coal was followed a century later in the form of the next super fuel, oil. Since the period that it was discovered till this day, oil has played a major role in the global energy system and is the bedrock of most of the progress seen in industrialized countries across the world.
However, what was unknown till the 1980s was that this burning of fossil fuels in the form of coal, oil, and gas and spewing of carbon and other gases into the atmosphere was leading to a warming planet. The release of these gases has been leading to the planet heating up on a scale that is not sustainable for life to exist, as a hotter world and resulting extreme weather events will have catastrophic results. Numerous international meetings on containing global warming culminated in the decision taken at the Paris climate agreement in 2015 to limit global warming below 2° Celsius, and to take efforts to contain it within 1.5° Celsius to pre-industrial levels. There has thus been a growing movement towards reducing and eventually winding up the use of fossil fuels for energy production, as energy use is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).
This has been supported by the rise in the development of renewable energy such as solar and wind power. The high costs associated with solar cells meant that it was not competitive as an energy source till the mid-2010s. However, efficiency gains and higher production saw solar module prices see a steady decline, and thus a corresponding increase in use. It is also the case with wind energy, which has been steadily increasing around the world over the years, with advances in the horizon in the form of offshore wind. The rapid uptake of renewable energy is thus seen as one of the ways to combat global warming.
While renewable energy has become popular in recent years, the urgency of the climate crisis is such that it needs to be rolled out in the quickest possible manner to reach zero emissions around the world. However, there are a few issues that slow down this deployment.
- From high capital outlays to lack of access to finance, renewables are not easily accessible even when people and businesses want to shift to green power. While the cost of renewables has seen a continuous decline, it must reach a point where the benefits of renewable energy must reach every individual on the planet.
- The structure of the energy industry has also started to change, with energy being produced at multiple places rather than being centrally produced and distributed as was the case for decades. While there are benefits to this change, it poses its own set of challenges that need solutions.
Energy as a Service (EaaS) is a concept that does away with the asset-heavy model and allows it to be a service. It allows businesses and individuals to rent renewable energy systems, batteries, and other cutting-edge technologies, rather than having to buy them outright. And this enables the deployment of these necessary technologies at the quickest pace possible, while also reducing energy consumption through various means. Energy service as a model was already a billion-dollar industry in 1995 in the US, and it has only been growing rapidly around the world since then. And in the energy transition that is in motion, it is an invaluable resource to speed up the process.
In this series of blog posts, we will show where the energy industry historically was and how its setup is being upended. What the factors that have caused a rapid transformation in the industry over the last few years are, and how the industry might look in a few years. And within these developments, the benefits provided by EaaS across the financial, developmental, technological, and environmental areas.
At Sheru, we are on the journey to transition to a zero-emissions society and aspire to be the catalyst that speeds up the process. Through our EaaS platform, world-class technologies, and industry-leading solutions, we provide technology solutions for EaaS companies to scale rapidly. We are truly at the forefront of the revolution leading to a cleaner, greener, more accessible product in the hands of our partners and consumers, all the while being at the cutting edge of technology.