The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has published its yearly statistical report. The research showed that there were record levels of employment and a growth in the implementation of renewable power and heat. The publication also highlights the recent policy changes made by Government, warning of the future impacts of this process.
The report REView 2016, produced in association with Innovas and KPMG, is the authoritative annual industry publication on employment, investment, and deployment trends in the UK’s renewable energy industry. This edition reveals positive levels of renewable power deployment but a decline in the consumption of renewable transport fuels. The report details record-setting employment levels in the renewable energy industry in 2015, and record overall levels of investment and energy consumption.
The report highlights that the repeated policy interventions of the Government are harming the UK’s position as a global leader, are slowing growth rates and are increasing the likelihood that legally binding 2020 renewable energy targets (RED targets for renewable power, heat and transport) will not be achieved.
Core findings of REView 2016 include:
- The total sector market value 2014/15 (for renewable power, heat, and transport) was £15,913 million. This is an increase of £982 million, which represents a growth rate of 6.6%, slightly higher than the 6.1% seen from 2012/13 to 2013/14. Growth of the rest of the UK economy was around 2.5%
- There were 116,788 employed in the sector in 2014/15, an overall increase of 4,760 people
- Renewable energy supplied the UK with 22.3% of its power in 2015, 4.6% of its heat in 2014 and 3.2% of its transport fuels in 2015
- Biomethane is emerging as a promising tool for decarbonising the gas grid, and has applications as a renewable transport fuel
- The consumption of crop-based biodiesel has fallen to only 6% from a high of 84%
- The rate of installation of grid-scale and behind-the-meter energy storage systems is anticipated to grow
- Advancements in the Electric Vehicle supply chain and in associated technologies are anticipated to drive new sales
- Policy changes over the last twelve months are likely to have a negative impact on growth rates in 2016
- The Government needs new policies in order to meet the 2020 renewable energy targets, particularly in heat and transport.
KPMG’s investment review concluded that the investment landscape is in transition after a turbulent year, but with attractive opportunities emerging that do not necessarily rely on subsidy incentives.
Major cost reductions in technologies such as solar and storage, allied with new business models to exploit the benefits they can provide to energy and balancing markets, offer promising investment prospects for the future both in the UK and internationally.
Dr. Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive of the REA, said: “2015 was another record year for British renewables. Employment, investment, and deployment increased, while costs fell and the industry continued to mature. It was yet another year where the renewables industry outperformed UK growth rates.
“The industry was blindsided this year with over a dozen sudden and severe policy changes, which we expect will be reflected in next year’s report. While many businesses have been left reeling and deployment has begun to slow, as an industry we will persevere, we will innovate, and we will continue to grow.”
Simon Virley, Chair of Energy at KPMG, said: “It has been a turbulent year for the renewables sector. But the falling costs of technologies, like solar and storage, mean that exciting business opportunities lie ahead and the sector as a whole can start to move beyond subsidy.”
7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption
Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.
This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?
Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.
New Technologies to Watch
These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:
- Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
- Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
- New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
- Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
- Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
- The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
- Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.
Making the Investment
All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.
Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis
Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.
Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?”
Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.
Tip #1: Focus & Determination
Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.
Tip #2: Minimize Spending
One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!
Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal
You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.
Investing in Clean Energy
One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.
With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.
The Future of Green Biz
As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.
Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.
In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!