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Interactive Online Portal Launched to Support UK’s Marine Energy Supply Chain

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The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has launched an interactive digital portal to support the development of the UK’s developing marine energy supply chain and facilitate better engagement between buyers and sellers.

The Marine Energy Supply Chain Gateway (MESCG), supported by funding from Scottish Enterprise, RenewableUK, and the Welsh Government, draws together, for the first time, regional supplier databases into a UK-wide information source. It provides a practical resource for new market entrants, aiming to put buyers in touch with sellers and making sure that organisations that need products and services can find the companies that can supply them.

A successful marine energy industry will be built on a strong, growing and productive supply chain. So far, supply chain development has been on a mainly local or regional basis. But with a UK-wide economic growth opportunity, and major projects well established across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, local aspirations and activities must be aligned and coordinated nationally.

The MESCG is a step towards creating a virtual trading space for marine energy, where market opportunities are clearly visible, supply chain capabilities are clearly understood, and the cross-sector transfer of skills and technologies is second nature. All of this is vital to further sector development – increasing market confidence, encouraging investment, and facilitating further innovation and potential cost reduction.

The MESCG offers:

  • A UK-wide supplier directory offering greater visibility of organisations offering capability in the marine energy sector.
  • Information to help potential new entrants to the marine supply chain make sound business decisions on how they can best participate in the sector.
  • Fast and effective national search and discovery function.

In constructing the portal, ORE Catapult worked with data suppliers, owners and users across the sector, building key partnerships with UK trade organisations including the funding partners and RegenSW, Invest Northern Ireland, Scottish Renewables and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Simon Cheeseman, Wave and Tidal Sector Lead for ORE Catapult, said: “For the first time, we have an effective method of bringing together UK-wide information on the marine energy supply chain. Prior to the development of MESCG, undertaking a search on a national basis would require the user to visit and search each database individually – a time-consuming task.

“MESCG provides ease of access to an informed and engaged supplier base and fosters cross-sector cooperation. It raises the visibility of supply chain companies to the global market and also offers a level of sector familiarisation for those wishing to diversify into the sector. All this allows us to exploit national opportunities for supply chain development, increased productivity and job creation.”

Louise Tobin, project manager at Scottish Enterprise said: “Scottish Enterprise is working closely with companies across Scotland to take advantage of the growing opportunities in the marine energy sector, both here and overseas. This includes our Marine Energy Supply Chain Expert Support programme, which is helping build a strong supply chain in the sector. The new portal will is significant step in supporting this work, and will help develop new relationships between both developers and our supply chain.”

RenewableUK’s Director of Policy – Technologies, Dujon Goncalves-Collins: “The UK’s marine energy industry is working hard to build a strong supply chain, which draws on the wealth of business expertise in this country. This resource will be of real assistance in achieving that, by connecting the right suppliers to the right customers.”

Welsh Government Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: “Wales has considerable expertise in marine renewable energy, ranging from academic expertise in our Universities to highly innovative businesses working in the sector. There is also a number of exciting projects  already underway and in development and I welcome the launch of this new interactive digital portal that will help promote the capability in Wales and open up new business opportunities for organisations and supply chain companies working in the sector.”

The website can be found at www.mescg.co.uk.

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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Energy

What Should We Make of The Clean Growth Strategy?

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Clean Growth Strategy for green energy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By sdecoret | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/sdecoret

It was hardly surprising the Clean Growth Strategy (CGS) was much anticipated by industry and environmentalists. After all, its publication was pushed back a couple of times. But with the document now in the public domain, and the Government having run a consultation on its content, what ultimately should we make of what’s perhaps one of the most important publications to come out of the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the past 12 months?

The starting point, inevitably, is to decide what the document is and isn’t. It is, certainly, a lengthy and considered direction-setter – not just for the Government, but for business and industry, and indeed for consumers. While much of the content was favourably received in terms of highlighting ways to ensure clean growth, critics – not unjustifiably – suggested it was long on pages but short on detailed and finite policy commitments, accompanied by clear timeframes for action.

A Strategy, Instead of a Plan

But should we really be surprised? The answer, in all honesty, is probably not really. BEIS ministers had made no secret of the fact they would be publishing a ‘strategy’ as opposed to a ‘plan,’ and that gave every indication the CGS would set a direction of travel and be largely aspirational. The Government had consulted on its content, and will likely respond to the consultation during the course of 2018. And that’s when we might see more defined policy commitments and timeframes from action.

The second criticism one might level at the CGS is that indicated the use of ‘flexibilities’ to achieve targets set in the carbon budgets – essentially using past results to offset more recent failings to keep pace with emissions targets. Claire Perry has since appeared in front of the BEIS Select Committee and insisted she would be personally disappointed if the UK used flexibilities to fill the shortfall in meeting the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, but this is difficult ground for the Government. The Committee on Climate Change was critical of the proposed use of efficiencies, which would somewhat undermine ministers’ good intentions and commitment to clean growth – particularly set against November’s Budget, in which the Chancellor maintained the current carbon price floor (potentially giving a reprieve to coal) and introduced tax changes favourable to North Sea oil producers.

A 12 Month Green Energy Initiative with Real Teeth

But, there is much to appreciate and commend about the CGS. It fits into a 12-month narrative for BEIS ministers, in which they have clearly shown a commitment to clean growth, improving energy efficiency and cutting carbon emissions. Those 12 months have seen the launch of the Industrial Strategy – firstly in Green Paper form, which led to the launch of the Faraday Challenge, and then a White Paper in which clean growth was considered a ‘grand challenge’ for government. Throughout these publications – and indeed again with the CGS – the Government has shown itself to be an advocate of smart systems and demand response, including the development of battery technology.

Electrical Storage Development at Center of Broader Green Energy Push

While the Faraday Challenge is primarily focused on the development of batteries to support the proliferation of electric vehicles (which will support cuts to carbon emissions), it will also drive down technology costs, supporting the deployment of small and utility-scale storage that will fully harness the capability of renewables. Solar and wind made record contributions to UK electricity generation in 2017, and the development of storage capacity will help both reduce consumer costs and support decarbonisation.

The other thing the CGS showed us it that the Government is happy to be a disrupter in the energy market. The headline from the publication was the plans for legislation to empower Ofgem to cap the costs of Standard Variable Tariffs. This had been an aspiration of ministers for months, and there’s little doubt that driving down costs for consumers will be a trend within BEIS policy throughout 2018.

But the Government also seems happy to support disruption in the renewables market, as evidenced by the commitment (in the CGS) to more than half a billion pounds of investment in Pot 2 of Contracts for Difference (CfDs) – where the focus will be on emerging rather than established technologies.

This inevitably prompted ire from some within the industry, particularly proponents of solar, which is making an increasing contribution to the UK’s energy mix. But, again, we shouldn’t really be surprised. Since the subsidy cuts of 2015, ministers have given no indication or cause to think there will be public money afforded to solar development. Including solar within the CfD auction would have been a seismic shift in policy. And while ministers’ insistence in subsidy-free solar as the way forward has been shown to be based on a single project, we should expect that as costs continue to be driven down and solar makes record contributions to electricity generation, investment will follow – and there will ultimately be more subsidy-free solar farms, albeit perhaps not in 2018.

Meanwhile, by promoting emerging technologies like remote island wind, the Government appears to be favouring diversification and that it has a range of resources available to meet consumer demand. Perhaps more prescient than the decision to exclude established renewables from the CfD auction is the subsequent confirmation in the budget that Pot 2 of CfDs will be the last commitment of public money to renewable energy before 2025.

In short, we should view the CGS as a step in the right direction, albeit one the Government should be elaborating on in its consultation response. Its publication, coupled with the advancement this year of the Industrial Strategy indicates ministers are committed to the clean growth agenda. The question is now how the aspirations set out in the CGS – including the development of demand response capacity for the grid, and improving the energy efficiency of commercial and residential premises – will be realised.

It’s a step in the right direction. But, inevitably, there’s much more work to do.

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