4 Challenges and Opportunities in Renewable Energy

Renewable energy sources make up 29% of the electricity powering on our planet. It’s estimated that 90% of the world’s electricity will come from renewable energy by 2050. Technology – including rugged mobility and connectivity solutions – is key to helping workers in the field address their day-to-day challenges and help organizations strategize to meet long-term zero-emission goals.

We identified four of the biggest challenges that the renewable energy industry currently faces, along with the technology that assists workers and helps companies plan for the future.

1. Grid Management with Unpredictable Environments

It’s hard to have a conversation about renewable energy without mentioning grid management. With natural disasters continuing to devastate different regions, a recent study found that 88% of executives of 500 utility companies said they were highly concerned about the effect of disasters on the power grid. To manage the grid, workers need tech that will allow them to navigate the jobsite by easily taking and uploading photos and writing notes. No transferring from paper to PC. Rugged devices like the TOUGHBOOK 40 are designed with advanced connectivity and run software that allows workers in the field to identify items needed for grid maintenance while staying in touch with other members of the response team. 

2. Evolving Energy Policy and Regulations

In a recent Deloitte report, 22 U.S. states are targeting 100% renewable energy or 100% carbon-free electricity between 2040 and 2050 by using clean energy mandates and incentives. Current U.S. company disclosures and metrics aren’t uniform, which poses challenges for cohesive data tracking across the industry and difficulties with standardization. Companies that utilize OEM-agnostic asset management solutions can streamline data capture so policy and regulation changes are tracked over time.

3. Increased Cybersecurity Risk from Expanded Infrastructure

The increased risk of cyber-attacks leaves companies vulnerable to threats and ransomware. In 2022, a study revealed that only 31% of energy professionals state confidently that they know exactly what to do if concerned about a potential cyber risk or threat. More data than ever is being collected via devices at job sitesdata which is vulnerable to risk. For example, if an attacker intercepts data between the grid and solar panels, they can target control systems and make unauthorized changes to the power supply. Companies should prioritize secure-core PC mobile devices with seamless connectivity to the best available network without any disruption. Since PC mobile devices are secure via hardware, rather than software, it makes it more difficult—but not impossible—to hack.

4. Technology for Rising Job Demand

The demand for renewable energy workers is expected to grow by 342% by 2030 to match the estimated 400% growth in wind and solar asset deployment. Companies with plans to build more renewable infrastructure first need to consider training and reskilling initiatives along with an investment in tools to equip workers with knowledge and skills to fulfill job openings and future jobs.

Customizable mobile devices that provide stability and function based on the job at hand are a requirement, not a nice-to-have. For instance, if a worker needs to climb high ladders, then the device should be able to withstand impact, absorb shock, and include rounded and reinforced corners. Versatile devices and technology allow companies to futureproof deployments–ultimately keeping workers happy and more productive in a competitive job environment.

The renewable energy industry brings vast opportunities for global climate change. Learn more about Panasonic Connect’s solutions for the energy and utility industry.