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Scotland on track for 2020 renewables target

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Scotland is now generating over a third of its electricity from renewable sources according to new figures published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The statistics show that an extra 45% of renewable energy was generated in Scotland in 2011 compared to 2010, suggesting that if gross consumption stayed the same as in 2010, renewables will have accounted for 35% of the country’s electricity needs.

This surpasses the Government’s 2011 target of meeting the equivalent of 31% of Scotland’s electricity needs from renewables, staying well on track to reaching its impressive target of meeting the equivalent of 100% gross annual electricity demand from renewable energy by 2020.

In response to the figures, Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing, said, “It’s official: 2011 was a record-breaker, with enough green electricity being produced in Scotland to comfortably beat our interim target.

Projects representing £750m of investment were switched on in 2011, with an investment pipeline of £4 billion.

Scotland is a genuine world leader in green energy and our targets reflect the scale of our natural resources, the strength of our energy capabilities and the value we place on creating new, sustainable industries.”

Indeed, with its mountainous landscape, blustery coastline and turbulent seas, it is not hard to see the full potential of Scotland’s natural geographic resources. Approximately 10% of Europe’s wave power is off Scotland’s coasts, and the country boasts 25% of Europe’s tidal stream potential and 25% of its offshore wind potential, according to the 2010 Offshore Valuation.

Feeding this appetite for clean power has been a hallmark of the SNP’s energy policy strategy since the party came in to power, with major renewables investments aimed at attracting further inward commercial scale private investment to stimulate further growth and jobs in the industry, while cutting carbon emissions.

This positive strategy has continued in to 2012, with the most recent of announcements on April 4 involving a 103-turbine onshore wind farm development in the centre of Shetland, an island north of the Scottish mainland famed for its uniquely breezy landscape.

Mr Ewing also highlighted other recent major developments, stating, “Since the turn of the year, we have seen Gamesa invest in Leith (Edinburgh) creating around 800 new jobs, the Green Investment Bank being headquartered in Edinburgh […] and Samsung Heavy Industries announcing it will base its £100 million European offshore wind project in Methil (Fife), creating up to 500 jobs.”

Other modes of funding have supported research and development aimed at improving the efficiency of offshore wind and marine renewable technologies. Blue & Green Tomorrow previously covered one such fund, where the overall aim is to bring marine renewable devices to commercial scale application. And at the community scale, early stage small-scale renewable energy projects are will be supported throughout Scotland by a recently announced £103m fund.

The continuation of such investment will help Scotland meet future renewables targets, crystalizing the nation’s position further as a global frontrunner in renewable energy.

The latest figures from DECC are particularly appropriate, coming just a day after experts told the Scottish parliament’s economy, energy and tourism committee that they did not think the ambitious 2020 target could be reached. In one case, Linda Greig, director of commercialisation and business development at Carnegie College, said that Scotland did not have the necessary skills base for achieving such a target in time.

Yet this view overlooks the current measures being implemented by the Government to create the skilled workforce needed to match projected growth in the renewables sector.

One Scottish government initiative, called the Low Carbon Skills Fund, is currently steered by the national careers and training body Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and already funds 50% of staff training costs for businesses and organisations working in low carbon technologies. The aim is to support the sustainability and growth of small-scale businesses by up-skilling and re-skilling employees. This kind of funding ensures that specific training and apprenticeships are already in place for an economy and labour market shifting increasingly away from fossil-fuel consumption towards clean, renewable energy.

A recent report by Scottish Renewables actually detailed the sizeable job power of the renewables sector, revealing that over 11,000 jobs are currently being provided directly by the industry. The scope for future growth and employment opportunity is massive too, and will be dependent on continued political support.

Much of the signs are optimistic, with first minister Alex Salmond pledging to speed up the renewables drive when a “re-industrialised” green economy was highlighted as one of his six practical steps to boost economic growth and jobs through independence, while alleviating future dependency on oil.

Scotland’s current drive for renewable energy reflects sustainable development, and the SNP government remains committed to ensuring that this will endure. These latest figures certainly show that the government is putting its money in the right place for both the economy and the environment – and we can be optimistic that similar investment will help meet future renewables targets from now until 2020.

If you would like to make the switch to fossil-fuel free energy, visit Good Energy—the UK’s only 100% renewable energy provider.

Further reading:

The Rise of Renewable Energy

Scottish renewables fund to create “double positive effect”

Education key to achieving a “zero waste” Scotland

New wave of funding for marine energy sector

Ofgem likely to fund Scottish hook-up between renewable energy and grid

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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