New data from Lux Research indicates that innovation in renewable energy technology is slipping and has been doing so for the past four years. The research, however, indicates that while interest in renewables generation technologies has been waning, the bright spots relates to its integration and management.
“New research based on big data analysis indicates a worrying trend – innovation interest in renewables is declining, after peaking about four years ago,” reads the Lux Spotlight. “Without continued innovation momentum, long-term success driven by further clean energy technology improvements is thrown into question.
There are two theories why there has been a downward trend in clean energy innovation, according to Lux. One is that most of the heavy lifting has already been done, primarily in the areas of wind and solar, and all that remains is incremental improvements, business model development and scale up investment. But given the still-high cost of solar+storage systems, incremental improvements won’t be sufficient to ensure renewables become the world’s main power source.
The second suggests there’s an innovation gap in renewables and technological breakthroughs are still needed to enable the true transition to a grid run by renewable energy. This means there’s an opportunity for visionary companies to take renewable energy tech innovation to the next level.
Lux says the latter is more likely. But it comes with a twist.
“The past few years have shown an uptick for digital technologies, like renewables production forecasting, utility customer analytics, and distributed energy resource management.”
The research firm notes though, it’s still early days for these digital technologies.
“Data analysis indicates a massive gap between the built-up knowledge around physical clean energy technologies, which have been in development for decades, and the more nascent state of these digital energy innovations. For companies interested in these future grid technologies, there is a lot of room for innovation, but also a lot of work to do.”