An article in Environmental Leader explains how the roles of corporations and consumers are converging when it comes to sustainability. Consumers are becoming more aware of carbon consumption in a variety of ways, from buying organic food and electric cars to becoming increasingly aware of companies’ environmental practices. Corporations have responded to this by redesigning products and infrastructure. The authors argue that carbon is a “measure of inefficiency and lost profit” and that minimizing carbon creation can indicate a positive business model. That’s one reason why, despite lack of governmental policy, many companies across the U.S. have focused their attention on becoming more environmentally friendly, specifically on carbon reduction efforts. As the authors also point out, new technologies will continue to play a critical role in this transition.
One technology that will underscore this shift toward a low-carbon economy is the smart grid. Greentech Media published a piece on the most recent report by GTM Research, Global Smart Grid Technologies and Growth Markets, 2013-2020, that outlines the expected increase of smart grids around the world. The report estimates that the total value of the smart grid market could reach $400 billion by 2020, which represents a compound growth rate of 8%. China alone could account for nearly one quarter of the global market. While this represents a major opportunity for companies delivering smart grid solutions, it represents an even greater opportunity for society, which will reap the benefits of optimizing the grid for renewable energy production and enabling customers to use energy more efficiently.