Jeremy Rifkin Blog

The Energy Internet Explained

To many, the Internet can be viewed as on sole platform, and while advancements are using the Internet as a central hub for connected devices, the infrastructure used has seen the Internet evolve, which means that more than media can now be shared online

The energy Internet is an evolution as to how power is generated and stored, meaning that not everyone will be as familiar with it. Its foundations derive from countries situated in Europe, including Denmark and Germany. As Europe heads towards renewable energy, there are many different businesses that have been transformed into small power plants that make it possible to produce green electricity.

The business come in many different shapes and sizes, as does the form of renewable energy being used. As well as being to install solar panels on the roof of a warehouse, it’s also possible to use bio converters that allow for garbage to be converted into biomass energy.

Germany alone has seen one million buildings retrofitted that allow businesses to operate in a more efficient way. This simple implantation has meant that a million buildings in Germany are now producing their own green electricity, taking away the costly ramifications of fossil-fuel-based solutions. There’s even a feed-in tariff that offers a premium for those sending their electricity back to the gird, in which people receive more than the market price.

Renewable energy must be stored, and there are many ways in which this can be done. Some of the technology already used include batteries, capacitors and hydrogen. Hydrogen has been the focus of storage, as it can be used as and when the energy is needed.

Although there are many ways of accessing renewable energy, the way in which energy is stored is also important as the sun won’t always shine when we want it to, just as the wind won’t allow blow on demand. The current electricity grid of Europe is being converted into the energy Internet which will be built using the same technology of the information Internet.

The current iteration of the rid is over 60 years old and is designed to be centralised and go in one direction. When power is generated from fossil fuel it is sent to the passive consumer at the end of the line. What the old transmission grid wasn’t designed was the managing of millions of small players that are creating their own renewable energy and sending it back to the grid. It also struggles when it comes to monitoring how power is used, this the requirement for an overhaul.

The update will allow power to be stored hydrogen in much the same way digital deals with media content. This means if energy isn’t required in one location it can be shared with another in much the same way we share photos and video.

Although many aren’t aware of the rise of the green Internet, it has already been implemented in many places and will be an economic revolution that makes for a brand-new energy regime. Back in the 19th century, there was a requirement for steam power to be able to run a locomotive. The 20th century required centralised electricity and used the telephone to manage the complexities of an oil and suburban era.

The 21st century is instilling a distributive and collaborative peer-to-peer Internet. Although renewable energy is being created, it is in very small quantities. This means that critical mass as to be created which means collaborating across many different continents to organise the energy and then ensure that they are shared in lateral economies and scale.

In short, the energy Internet will sit alongside the information Internet to form a neural network, which is already occurring in real-time.