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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

Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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