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Climate Action Is Driving Global Energy Transition As Businesses Reap Benefits



Climate Action Is Driving Global Energy Transition As Businesses Reap Benefits

The largest expo in Europe bringing together major energy buyers and low carbon generators is happening in Birmingham this October. The companies participating alongside the solar, energy storage and efficiency sectors include M&S, Tesla and Good Energy.

Large energy buyers across the world have woken up to the unstoppable force of the UN climate treaty and it’s not just about lowering carbon usage. As businesses and cities explore the opportunities brought to them by innovative technology, low carbon generation and clever ways to manage their energy, they are realising savings with and without on-site solar. Clean Energy Live is a showcase for innovation, demonstrating the technology and business models that are delivering energy at lower cost and lower carbon.

“The global energy transition, driven by the imperative to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees and powered by rapid digital and communications technology advancements, is now unstoppable,” said Giles Bristow, Director of Programmes at Forum for the Future. “Not only are businesses and industries benefitting from this revolution now, but they will also play a leading role in shaping the new energy economy.


Clean Energy Live brings together enlightened companies and organisations that wish to actively explore this.


Bristow added “I look forward to sharing how energy users are creating the ‘living energy system’ of the future – responsive, adaptive and self-balancing, rather than cumbersome and wasteful.” Bristow will be joined by Sainsbury’s, Aggregate Industries, Tarmac and United Utilities and will give an update of their 200MW Living Grid project, a network of companies who can manage demand and offer capacity.

Marks & Spencer has cuts its energy consumption by 40% as part of its Plan A programme. The firm’s head of energy Giacinto Patellaro will look at policy and the impact it’s having at encouraging companies to reduce their power usage or install their own generation.

In a recent trial with Good Energy and Open Utility, the Eden Project is claimed an annual saving could reach £20,000. The service used Open Utility’s Piclo platform, matched renewable generators and business customers, enabling participating parties to both sell and purchase renewable power on the platform.

The show welcomes Carbon Trust in 2016 who will focus on their work with corporates to create value with their energy. Land Securities joins a panel with Carbon Trust, SmartestEnergy and Solarcentury which will show companies how to take a science-based approach to reducing energy usage and carbon before weighing up the pros and cons of on-site generation or off-site Power Purchase Agreements.

Companies with their own installed power will show how to manage the transition from energy buyer to energy generator. Welsh Water will speak about how to manage a mixed portfolio of assets, including hydro, anaerobic digestion and solar. Arla Foods will speak about their anaerobic digestion facilities and look at how a company can assess the right sites for a project and keep the local community engaged.

The National Trust, with a commitment to invest £35 million in over 40 more renewable energy projects to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and source 50 per cent of its energy from renewable sources on land it looks after by 2020 will look at how storage can benefit landowners and the RSPB will update attendees on how they think the energy system of the future can co-exist with the UK’s wildlife.

Up to 5,000 attendees are expected to gather in Birmingham to discover new opportunities after a shift in the power market, as more clean energy moves online and ownership of utilities broadens beyond the big six. Formerly Solar Energy UK (SEUK), Clean Energy Live is the meeting place for large energy buyers, clean generators, emerging technologies, financiers and advisors. They will be able to attend four theatres focused on Solar, Storage, Clean Tech Installations, Future Utilities and Energy Management plus an exclusive EV Pavilion.

Now in its seventh year, the event will also showcase opportunities for new ground mount solar in Ireland, France, Sub-Saharan Africa and India and features case studies from Solarcentury, Actis, Dexler, Mytrah, Oreed Group, BNRG, Armstrong Energy and Amarenco.

UK Solar O&M and secondary markets will feature heavily with experts from Quintas Energy, NextEnergy Capital, Glennmont Partners, Magnetar Solar and Bluefield Partners LLP. UK-specific sessions will examine the current state of the PV market using proprietary research from Solar Media’s Head of Market Research Finlay Colville, Lightsource and Solarcentury.

Smart homes and future installer sessions will help organisations future proof their businesses and see how the clean energy residential and commercial markets will mature and benefit from presentations from Forster Group, Egnida, PA Energy, Spirit Solar, Photon, Caplor, Carbon Zero and Poweri.

The Energy Storage Theatre will examine what the addressable market for energy storage is in the UK and what the rules of play are. Starting off by investigating in more detail the role played by landowners (CLA, Crown Estate) and DNO (WPD, UKPN, Scottish Power) in the deployment of storage, the theatre will delve into detail into the results of the 200MW EFR tender and how the winners of the tender are planning to develop their projects. The second day will cover updates in regulations and policy, finance for storage (Primrose, Camborne Capital) and sessions targeted at energy buyers outline what to consider when purchasing energy storage. European case studies and lessons learnt will be the focus of the last day on the theatre.

Jerry Hamilton, Channel Manager of Tesla’s new Powerwall home battery device remarked:

“The transition from just solar to now clean energy & include solar as part of the overall energy mix is key for the evolving solar market. Tesla will not only be demonstrating its battery technology products but sharing its views and ambitions on how to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”

The exhibition brings together the whole of the UK’s solar value chain attracting a wide selection of international companies with new investment opportunities in countries such as India, Ghana, Nigeria, Algeria and Tunisia. The event will give attendees strategic information necessary to beat the uncertainty that the UK’s policy U-turns have created and will update companies on how Europe’s tendering process will change and the impact this will have upon developers.

The four cutting-edge conferences are free to attend and allow delegates to explore storage, rooftop PV, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, India, Ireland, Europe – and of course the UK. Attendees will also hear from landowners, rooftop owners, DNOs, electric vehicle companies and energy buyers decarbonising their own operations.

To register for free and for more information visit



New Zealand to Switch to Fully Renewable Energy by 2035



renewable energy policy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Eviart /

New Zealand’s prime minister-elect Jacinda Ardern is already taking steps towards reducing the country’s carbon footprint. She signed a coalition deal with NZ First in October, aiming to generate 100% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2035.

New Zealand is already one of the greenest countries in the world, sourcing over 80% of its energy for its 4.7 million people from renewable resources like hydroelectric, geothermal and wind. The majority of its electricity comes from hydro-power, which generated 60% of the country’s energy in 2016. Last winter, renewable generation peaked at 93%.

Now, Ardern is taking on the challenge of eliminating New Zealand’s remaining use of fossil fuels. One of the biggest obstacles will be filling in the gap left by hydropower sources during dry conditions. When lake levels drop, the country relies on gas and coal to provide energy. Eliminating fossil fuels will require finding an alternative source to avoid spikes in energy costs during droughts.

Business NZ’s executive director John Carnegie told Bloomberg he believes Ardern needs to balance her goals with affordability, stating, “It’s completely appropriate to have a focus on reducing carbon emissions, but there needs to be an open and transparent public conversation about the policies and how they are delivered.”

The coalition deal outlined a few steps towards achieving this, including investing more in solar, which currently only provides 0.1% of the country’s energy. Ardern’s plans also include switching the electricity grid to renewable energy, investing more funds into rail transport, and switching all government vehicles to green fuel within a decade.

Zero net emissions by 2050

Beyond powering the country’s electricity grid with 100% green energy, Ardern also wants to reach zero net emissions by 2050. This ambitious goal is very much in line with her focus on climate change throughout the course of her campaign. Environmental issues were one of her top priorities from the start, which increased her appeal with young voters and helped her become one of the youngest world leaders at only 37.

Reaching zero net emissions would require overcoming challenging issues like eliminating fossil fuels in vehicles. Ardern hasn’t outlined a plan for reaching this goal, but has suggested creating an independent commission to aid in the transition to a lower carbon economy.

She also set a goal of doubling the number of trees the country plants per year to 100 million, a goal she says is “absolutely achievable” using land that is marginal for farming animals.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson believes that phasing out fossil fuels should be a priority for the new prime minister. She says that in order to reach zero net emissions, Ardern “must prioritize closing down coal, putting a moratorium on new fossil fuel plants, building more wind infrastructure, and opening the playing field for household and community solar.”

A worldwide shift to renewable energy

Addressing climate change is becoming more of a priority around the world and many governments are assessing how they can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and switch to environmentally-friendly energy sources. Sustainable energy is becoming an increasingly profitable industry, giving companies more of an incentive to invest.

Ardern isn’t alone in her climate concerns, as other prominent world leaders like Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron have made renewable energy a focus of their campaigns. She isn’t the first to set ambitious goals, either. Sweden and Norway share New Zealand’s goal of net zero emissions by 2045 and 2030, respectively.

Scotland already sources more than half of its electricity from renewable sources and aims to fully transition by 2020, while France announced plans in September to stop fossil fuel production by 2040. This would make it the first country to do so, and the first to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles.

Many parts of the world still rely heavily on coal, but if these countries are successful in phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable resources, it could serve as a turning point. As other world leaders see that switching to sustainable energy is possible – and profitable – it could be the start of a worldwide shift towards environmentally-friendly energy.


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5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable




sustainable homes
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By Diyana Dimitrova

Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.

1. Weather stripping

If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.

Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.

Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.

2. Programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Olivier Le Moal

Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.

Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!

3. Low-flow water hardware

With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.

Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.

Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.

4. Energy efficient light bulbs

An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.

New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.

5. Installing solar panels

Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.

Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.

From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!

These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.

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