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Scotland Should Aim For 50% Renewable Energy New Report Suggests

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Solar thermal panel for heating water on a house at Cleadale on

A new report released today [1] has suggested that it is possible to produce half of all of Scotland’s energy across transport, electricity and heat from renewables by 2030.

Based on independent analysis by leading global technical consultancy, Ricardo Energy and Environment, the report ‘The Energy of Scotland: Heating, moving and powering our lives from now to 2030’ sets out how Scotland’s climate targets could be met in the most cost effective way and finds that to do so 50% of all our energy will need to come from renewables by the end of next decade.

Identifying the key Scottish Government actions that should be taken to reach this target, the report suggests that by 2030:

· Two-fifths of Scotland’s homes will be heated from renewable sources, with a Warm Homes Act helping ensure access to cleaner, more affordable heat;

· A national energy efficiency programme will have helped reduce energy use in homes to 30% lower than that today and millions of homes across the country will have been insulated;

· One in three cars, and half of all buses, will be electric, in line with the long-term need to phase out fossil-fuel vehicles entirely;

· Scotland’s electricity will be, almost entirely, generated from renewables, with excess generation exported to our neighbours;

· Other welcome benefits would include the creation of new jobs; warmer, healthier homes; and cleaner air helping reduce the burden on the NHS.

The report by WWF Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland and RSPB Scotland, comes as the Scottish Government develops a new energy strategy, and follows manifesto commitments from several political parties to a 50% renewable all-energy target. [2]

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said:

“This report shows that a 50 per cent renewables target for all our energy needs by 2030 is not only needed, but that it is achievable. Ministers should now make this a Scottish Government target and bring in the policies needed in its forthcoming energy strategy. Doing so would enable Scotland to enjoy the many economic and social benefits that the report suggests would take place as result of generating half of all our energy needs from renewables.

“Scotland is already seeing the economic and social benefits of shifting our electricity system to clean, climate-friendly, renewables generation. However, with electricity accounting for just one quarter of our energy use, it’s time to begin to reap the same benefits by increasing the use of renewables in our heat and transport sectors.

Colin McNaught, Managing Consultant at Ricardo Energy & Environment said:

“Our analysis provides the most sophisticated model yet for what Scotland’s energy system will look like in 2030 if climate targets are to be met in the most cost-effective way. A major transformation across all the energy sectors will need to take place, but the technologies are already available and Scotland has the renewable resources to supply them.”

Dave Pearson, Director of Star Renewables and expert on heat said:

“Heat has for too long been the neglected area of energy policy, and it is imperative that we move forward in this less familiar but vital area of our energy use. Technologies such as large heat pumps are ready, but to engage consumers in kicking our fossil fuel habits and capture the benefits including new jobs that being a leader in low carbon heat would bring, the Scottish Government needs much bolder policies to ensure adoption in new and retrofit situations.”

Colin Howden, Director of Transform Scotland and expert on transport said:

“When it comes to climate emissions, Scotland’s transport sector is stuck in neutral, with emissions barely reduced on where they were in 1990. Yet there is a lot more that could be done. We need to level the playing field so that public transport, cycling and walking can compete with the private car, and have a long-term strategy that clearly shows how all transport will shift over to low-carbon.”

Alexa Morrison, Senior Policy Officer at RSPB Scotland said:

“We are pleased to be joining WWF Scotland and Friends of the Earth Scotland in calling on Scottish Government to set a 50% renewable energy target for 2030. Bringing down the emissions of our whole energy system, including strong action on heat and transport, is crucial to protect our natural environment from climate change. We know that, if we plan the roll out of renewables carefully to avoid our most sensitive places for wildlife, we can meet these targets in harmony with nature.”

Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland said:

“This report shows that investing in tackling climate change brings many other benefits, including helping create jobs in low-carbon sectors, improving people’s living conditions and cleaning up the toxic traffic pollution that blights our towns and cities. Any way you look at it, a rapid transition to renewable energy makes sense.”
Responding to calls from WWF Scotland for a Scottish 50% renewable energy target;

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “Scotland’s ambitious climate change and 2020 renewable energy targets have signalled a clear intent for the country to lead the way in the transition to a low-carbon economy – and driven tremendous growth in renewable electricity generation.

“However, it’s now time to lift our horizons and set an ambitious target to drive investment in renewable heat, power and transport through the 2020s.

“This report echoes Scottish Renewables’ call for a new 50% renewable energy target and, importantly, concludes that this is both achievable and key to meeting our climate change targets.

“A new energy strategy with an ambitious new target would ensure that renewables can play a key role in meeting Scotland’s climate change targets and maximise the jobs and investment that our sector can bring to Scotland.”

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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