A new report backed by leading businesses has called on the EU to ensure priority access, ambitious targets, and transformational changes to energy policy to help companies to meet their European electricity needs with renewables.
The report comes as the EU Commission prepares to release a review of the EU Renewable Energy Directive and Market Design Initiative, expected late November. Earlier this week media reports suggested that a leak of the Winter Package showed it could subsidise fossil fuels and undermine renewable energy.
The report is written by independent global think tank E3G on behalf of RE100; a global, collaborative initiative of influential businesses committed to 100% renewable power across their operations, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP. RE100 members such as BT, IKEA Group, Google, Nestlé, Royal DSM and Unilever all contributed their experiences.
It sets out policy measures that would give companies easier access to renewable power, providing greater control over energy costs and long-term business stability. It also argues that all EU member states must play their part in achieving the collective 27% by 2030 renewable energy target, and makes the case for continued priority dispatch for renewables and enforceable prosumer rights.
There are 83 members of RE100 as of COP22, including global companies like Apple, BMW, and Starbucks. 43 of these have reported to CDP electricity use in one or more of 32 European countries – representing demand for over 18TWh of renewable electricity across the continent.
More companies than ever before are committed to bold climate action because it makes business sense
Damian Ryan, Acting CEO at The Climate Group, said: “More companies than ever before are committed to bold climate action because it makes business sense. But to ensure that many more are able to reach 100% renewable power, governments at all levels need to set or raise the ambition of long-term supportive policies. The Climate Group wants to help to drive practical solutions that will unlock much-needed low carbon investment to deliver a prosperous, zero-emissions economy.”
Simon Skillings, the report author and a Senior Associate at E3G, said: “Renewable energy is the future and if the European Union wants to retain its competitive edge it must unleash its potential before it’s too late. That means making it cheap and easy to procure renewable electricity to empower its energy consumers.”
Rob Williams, Head of Energy Supply, BT, said: “Using renewable energy makes strong business sense and is a clear, simple and effective way for industry to take real action for a sustainable future. At BT we’re proud to be one of the original members of RE100, and believe business, governments and individuals should all do what they can. The Renewable Energy Directive is a key opportunity for the EU to make this business imperative a reality, with bigger scale and faster speed.”
Michael Terrell, Head of Energy Policy and Markets, Google, said: “Google is one of the world’s leading technology companies with more than 9,000 employees in Europe. Google’s commitment to sustainability is core to our business and we have a company-wide goal to power 100% of our operations from renewable energy. We believe the EU market has been important to the growth of renewable energy globally and we support the continuation of policy efforts that empower customers and drive even greater clean energy deployment in Europe.”
John Harris, Investment Manager – Renewable Energy, IKEA Group, said: “Whether companies purchase renewable electricity or want to generate renewable power themselves, we are all looking to EU policy to support us in reaching our target of 100% renewable power. Legislative frameworks are needed to allow more businesses, and consumers, to invest in renewables.”
Ward Mosmuller, Director of EU Affairs at Royal DSM, said: “The new EU Renewable Energy Directive must ensure that wind and solar power are well-promoted, and that biomass is used sustainably to produce chemicals and advanced biofuels. Bio-based materials find applications in everyday products such as transport fuels, paints and packaging, but these markets are currently dominated by relatively cheap and less sustainable, fossil fuel-based materials. Sustainably sourced bio-based materials could make considerable contributions to the transition to a renewable low-carbon economy.”
Thomas Lingard, Climate Advocacy & Sustainability Strategy Director, Unilever, said: “To scale the benefits of renewable energy we need both business action and policy evolution. As more and more leading businesses actively look to source 100% renewable energy, we need a Renewable Energy Directive that supports, not holds back these ambitions.”
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!
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