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Decentralised Energy is Key to Securing Britain’s Energy Future

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A new report explores the importance of decentralised energy as a means to delivering lower future energy bills to hardworking British families. Decentralised energy has a major role to play in meeting Britain’s energy needs and could be key to subsidy-free solar power in the UK within five years.

With the solar energy sector facing proposed cuts of 87% to subsidy support, The Decentralised Energy Transition report sets out key policy recommendations that would ensure best value for money for consumers while negating the need for severe cuts.

– Decentralised energy is the future. It is more efficient and costs less in the long term to use energy where it is generated and to generate it where it will be used

– Solar PV is the most acceptable small-scale generation technology with an approval rating of 81%*. When combined with batteries, solar provides a “round the clock” reliable, local energy source

– Battery storage and intelligent energy management systems will be a “game changer” for the energy market

– Solar PV and battery technologies facilitate changes in consumption behaviours. Consumers can be rewarded at peak times when demand on the grid is at its greatest if they export their stored energy rather than using it

The key policy recommendations to enable the transition to a decentralised energy system are:

– Retain Feed-In Tariff (FIT) subsidies and focus on technologies that have the greatest potential to support the development of smart energy systems. In addition, the remaining FIT budget should be front-loaded, while only subsidising domestic and small-scale commercial solar PV installations. This can be done without increasing the overall budget and therefore the cost to consumers

– Recognise the value created for the electricity grid of widespread deployment of battery technologies. With widespread deployment of storage, peaks on the electricity grid can be avoided and hence grid reinforcement costs can be reduced

– Kick-start the deployment of storage technologies through provision of grants or other incentives

– Incentivise grid companies to support the deployment of decentralised energy

Nick Boyle, CEO at Lightsource, said: “The overall aim for the solar industry has always been to get solar PV to grid parity so we can compete with any other forms of energy without subsidies.

“The costs of solar and storage technologies are falling rapidly and we are not far off having a reliable and clean local generation technology that is at grid parity. It doesn’t just stop at solar and batteries. This is about a smart home management system.

“I hope that this report helps to build a case for retaining subsidy levels in the short term so that the UK is able to reduce the cost of future energy bills for consumers.”

Will Vooght, head of innovation at renewable electricity company Good Energy, said: “We need a much more decentralised, local and democratic energy system in the UK. We’ve got to shift the power away from the big old-fashioned utilities and put it in the hands of individuals, communities and businesses.

“This report shows that solar and battery storage has the potential to revolutionise the UK’s whole energy system and bring down bills for consumers.”

Ricardo Pineiro, Head of UK Solar at Foresight Group, said: “As this report outlines, there is an alternative means of delivering a sustainable and cost competitive solution to the UK’s long term energy challenges.

“This balanced approach recognises the value of new technologies in creating a financially-viable decentralised energy system with clear benefits for energy consumers.

“Significant advances in solar, battery and smart technology and consequent cost reductions mean we at Foresight see clear opportunities for the growth of this sector given the right policy and regulatory support.”

Contributors to the report included Lightsource Renewable Energy, Good Energy and Foresight Group with analysis provided by KPMG.

Economy

New Zealand to Switch to Fully Renewable Energy by 2035

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renewable energy policy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Eviart / https://www.shutterstock.com/g/adrian825

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.

Sources: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-06/green-dream-risks-energy-security-as-kiwis-aim-for-zero-carbon

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-hydrocarbons/france-plans-to-end-oil-and-gas-production-by-2040-idUSKCN1BH1AQ

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Economy

How Going Green Can Save A Company Money

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going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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