The energy industry is still focused mainly on traditional energy sources derived from fossil fuels. But this is set to change.
Globally, we are facing an unprecedented energy crisis due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, rising inflation levels and other pandemic-related factors. Oil and petrol prices today are among the highest they’ve ever been in history, due to supply chain disruptions.
On the other hand, solar energy continues to be the cheapest option for generating electricity. The International Energy Agency predicts that annual solar photovoltaic system expansion will reach 162GW this year, a record-breaking amount that will account for almost 55 per cent of all renewable energy expansion this year and the next.
Solar energy is also an ideal way to diversify investment portfolios as clean energy is a viable and scalable form of power that’s built to return value while supporting a net-zero strategy. It lowers carbon footprints and helps businesses move towards achieving environmental, social and governance (ESG) values as well as meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Within the clean-energy industry, most players are focused on hardware like solar farms, wind farms and battery storage. But I believe we need to go beyond that—which is why in 2020 Plus Xnergy developed a proprietary artificial intelligence and cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) energy performance management system. This allows our clients to monitor, manage and optimise their energy consumption, wherever they are.
Here’s how the smart clean energy revolution will revolutionise our homes and workplaces in the next few years.
AI and industrial automation are critical in maximising clean energy savings
As a clean energy solutionist, we offer a three-pronged approach which comprises energy generation, energy efficiency and energy storage. As of today, Plus Xnergy is the only company offering a smart energy ecosystem in Malaysia, where it is based.
In the building and construction sectors—which are responsible for over one-third of global final energy consumption—digitalisation and industrial automation can mitigate operating costs. Our IoT-powered smart energy management system is like the fitness trackers we wear, but for buildings. Smart metering devices can capture a building’s energy consumption in real time, which clients can use to benchmark against industry standards and their competitors.
Smart energy solutions can help building owners streamline processes and save an additional 10 to 20 per cent off on top of their solar energy savings. One of our clients, an agriculture-based producer, approached us as their traditional method of drying their agriculture product was labour intensive, had a mediocre production yield, and high energy consumption. Getting moisture levels right is critical in drying their agriculture products (too hot leads to more strained product outputs, too cool leads to fungus growth). We introduced sensors to the dryers and built an IoT solution which automatically adjusted the drying process. A dashboard provided real-time data of energy consumption and allowed operators to monitor and control the dryers remotely if needed. After adopting AI and industrial automation, the agriculture producer saw a significant increase in their grade A products and reduced energy costs due to shorter and more efficient drying cycles.