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Economy

Global solar market brimming with innovation

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The recent spate of innovative solar power projects show that the sector is well and truly on the up. And it doesn’t stop there. We’ve got news of three more large-scale developments in the pipeline across the world.

The first comes from South Africa, whose fourth largest city, Durban, recently announced its intention to become a world leader in ocean current energy.

In order for the country to meet its target of 10,000 gigawatt (GW) hours of renewable energy produced yearly by 2013, its Department of Energy has awarded a solar project an 88 megawatt (MW) addition to its array.

The Jasper Solar Energy Project in Cape Town, which is run by a US developer, SolarReserve, and two South African firms, the Kensani Group and Intikon Energy, already boasts 150MW of solar installations. The new section will bring this figure up to 238MW, so that it accounts for 20% of the country’s solar share.

Staying in Africa, but venturing to the north, the second big solar news emerges from Morocco.

In December last year, the North African nation was the first to join the Desertec initiative – a multi-billion pound, largely German-led project, which plans to install a huge network of solar farms across Middle Eastern and North African deserts.

In a separate development, though, the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen) has announced that the first phase of a 2GW (or 2,000MW) solar vision is to commence this year.

A 500MW section of the project in the country’s Ouarzazate region will be the first to be developed, with an initial 160MW of that being approved by Masen already.

The overarching 2GW Moroccan Solar Plan will, once finished in 2020, make up 38% of the country’s current energy generation capacity – a huge leap forward in solar technology for North Africa, and indeed, the world.

The third and final solar innovation to be included in this piece is, on paper, undoubtedly the biggest. But it’s also the least concrete.

The Middle Eastern state of Saudi Arabia, notoriously highly dependent on oil for both energy and economic reasons, might be changing its ways after asking for investors in a 41GW, $109 billion solar project that it hopes will lead a renewable revolution.

Although it’s very much in the planning stage, the proposals would see the solar sector account for a third of Saudi Arabia’s peak power demand by 2032.

And being one of the most ideal locations in the world to install solar technology, it’s a much welcome announcement that shows even the most oil-rich states are thinking about the sustainability of their energy markets.

Let’s just hope that they stick to their plans.

It’s encouraging to see so many countries going gung-ho for solar. In our recent report, The Rise of Renewable Energy, Neil McNiven of REUK.com predicted that in the future, there will be “national grids merging together into super grids so that we could get solar electricity from North Africa to Northern Europe”.

And the vast amount of sunlight available across the Earth – added to the increasing number of large-scale developments – mean that it might not be too long before solar becomes a big, competitive player in the world’s energy market.

On a community level, too, the installation of solar panels in your home is vitally important. And with the feed-in tariff cuts set to be delayed, now is as good a time as any to take the leap into the sector. Get in touch with Good Energy – the UK’s only 100% renewable electricity supplier – to find out how to do so.

Further reading:

Solar developments branch out to space

“World’s largest solar project” begins major construction

Suffolk surges on in large solar development race

Truly, the Land of the Rising Sun

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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