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POWER-GEN Confidence Index Suggests That The Industry Isn’t Ready For Essential Energy Storage

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Electricity by Philippe Put via flickr

A recent European power industry professionals survey has recently highlighted a sector keenly aware of the significance of energy storage and other emerging technologies, but may not be prepared for the future disruption that they may bring.

The second annual POWER-GEN Europe Confidence Index report, launched today, measures the attitudes of power industry practitioners in the region. The report is produced in conjunction with POWER-GEN Europe and its co-located event Renewable Energy World Europe, the leading conference and exhibition for the international power and renewable industries.

The POWER-GEN Europe Confidence Index is the result of a pan-European study of more than 800 of the region’s power market professionals. It focuses on topics including: renewable integration, energy storage, electric vehicles and all the main types of power generation.

The key findings include:

• Despite sluggish growth expected for the European economy, 60% of respondents predict that demand for electricity will continue to increase – by around 3%
• Investment in research and development (R&D) is expected to continue, provided the economy does not shrink by more than 1-2%
• However, jobs are felt to be at risk, and respondents think the economy would have to grow by as much as 3% before new roles are created
• Germany’s status as the European energy powerhouse is confirmed, both on current scenarios and looking forwards
• 47% of respondents think the UK will be a strong power equipment and services market, with 33% expecting a surge in renewable project investment
• Poland’s importance to the conventional power market is confirmed and Turkey’s rise for all forms of generation is recognised
• 38% see energy storage as ‘vital’ over the next 10 years, but only 26% were ‘very confident’ that the industry is ready and able to implement this technology
• Cybersecurity is high on the agenda and expected to be a dominant industry theme for the next two decades
• 10 and 20-year forecasts see smart cities and electric vehicles rise significantly in importance too
• Wind power stands out as the source for the future according to respondents – offshore wind scores highly on 10 and 20-year scenarios while onshore climbs even higher over the 20-year period
• Wave, tidal and carbon capture, and storage are still viewed as low impact in the short-term with less than 10% of respondents seeing them as important within 10 years. However, their long-term potential is recognised – more than 20% thought they would be important within 20 years

The index was revamped this year to improve sensitivity and to better focus on future trends. This means that not all data is directly comparable to the first edition in 2015, however several clear differences and valuable comparisons do emerge:

• This year, the industry feels that jobs are at risk, whereas last year, the prevailing mood was that they would increase
• Ranking different technologies’ importance to the sector in 20 years’ time, energy storage and plant modernisation remain resolutely at the top of the list whilst certain technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, wave and tidal still languish near the bottom…
• …however, cybersecurity threats, closer integration of heat and electricity and solar CSP do all appear to have gained ground
• Big data has moved from a long-term issue, to an agenda item for now and the near-future

The full report is free to download and is accessible to all through the POWER-GEN Europe website.

The industry will be surveyed again next year, ahead of and during POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe 2017 in Cologne, Germany from 20th – 22nd June.

Nigel Blackaby, Conference Director of POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe, said: “The POWER-GEN Europe Confidence Index is the perfect barometer for industry professionals looking for tangible intelligence on the industry’s direction. As many would expect, energy storage and renewables remain top of the agenda, but the rise of topics such as cyber security and big data gives valuable insights on our direction of travel.”

Energy

7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption

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Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

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!

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