Renewable energy is the future, so societies will transition to cleaner sources of energy here in the Cayman Islands and across the globe. There is not much rational debate left about this, whether the argument is based on economics, the environment, climate, quality of life or health.
Our traditional “dirty” store of energy globally is buried in the ground and we dig it up daily in the form of oil and coal to fuel our economies and modern way of life. Outside of fringe opinions, most the world is discussing how and when clean energy transition will happen. In that context, the key to unlocking high levels of renewable energy penetration and accelerating the transition to a cleaner energy future lies in energy storage, or in simple terms, batteries.
Batteries can take many forms, but they provide the ability to harness intermittent sources of natural energy such as the sun, wind and water for use during day or night, and doing so safely and reliably. Batteries, like solar panels, wind turbines and other forms of renewable energy, are not without their environmental impacts. However, these technologies provide far less environmental impact than traditional fossil-fuel-based technologies and in large part they can be continually recycled for future usage once their initial life has expired.
Consumers today have direct access to technologies they can install in their home or business that can produce most or all of their energy needs from sources such as the sun, and then store that energy in a battery for back-up power, selling back to the utility or for self-consumption.
Battery technology for those in the Caribbean is even more relevant because it can provide a superior source of backup power in the event of hurricanes. There are several battery technologies on the market today that will power lights, fans, refrigerators and more when utility power is not there.
Unlike a traditional generator, batteries produce no noise or dangerous emissions and they don’t require costly ongoing maintenance. In addition, batteries cost the same or less than the total costs of traditional fossil-fuel generators.
Batteries also present an opportunity to cooperate with the utility in sharing energy so that the consumer benefits, as does the grid, the utility and the broader customer base in terms of economics and resiliency.
These technologies and the opportunities they present are getting better and cheaper every day. Over the next 10 years, increasing numbers of homes and businesses on Grand Cayman will install battery systems coupled with solar panels because of the advancements in energy storage. Thus, the future is bright for the transition to a clean energy society.