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Scottish ​Low Carbon Industries Worth Almost £11bn

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Scottish ​Low Carbon Industries Worth Almost £11bn

The first ever ONS figures to include direct and indirect jobs state that low carbon industries in Scotland generated £10.7 billion in turnover and supported 43,500 jobs in 2014.

This accounts for 12.9% of the total UK turnover, and 9.7% of the total employment, in the sector – both higher than Scotland’s share of the population, reinforcing the importance of the low carbon industries to the Scottish economy.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures on the low carbon and renewable energy economy in the UK for 2014, the latest year that figures are available, show:

• For onshore wind, Scotland has 46.2% of all UK employment and 57.2% of all UK turnover
• Supply chain activity accounted for £5.1 billion, or 47.7%, of total turnover and 21,500, or 49.4% jobs, higher than England (46.2%) and Wales (45.7%). Supply chain activity was marginally higher in Northern Ireland (50.0%)
• In low carbon electricity generation, Scotland has 18.0% of all UK employment and 23.6% of all UK turnover in this sector
• For low carbon heat, Scotland represents 16.0% of all UK employment and 14.9% of all UK turnover in this sector.

The figures reinforce the growing importance of the low carbon industries to the Scottish economy

Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse said:

“This is great news. These industries – and their supply chains – generated almost £11bn in 2014 and supported thousands of high-value jobs. The figures reinforce the growing importance of the low carbon industries to the Scottish economy and vindicate the Scottish Government’s support for the sector and the increasingly crucial role it plays within Scotland’s energy mix and the wider economy.

“The Scottish Government strongly supports development of renewable energy and provisional energy statistics show that renewable energy sources accounted for more than 56.7% of gross electricity consumption in Scotland in 2015.

“In welcoming these figures, however, we must remember recent UK Government decisions that continue to create serious uncertainty across the sector. Delays in announcing which technologies will be supported in the next round of auctions that support the renewable energy sector, for example, are putting at risk existing investments made, and jobs created, in developing renewable energy projects.

“Today’s figures underline both the huge opportunity that decarbonising our energy system presents, as well as the critical importance of continuing to support the sector properly – encouraging investment, generating value, and creating jobs across Scotland.”

Commenting on the news that low carbon industries in Scotland generated nearly £11 billion in turnover and supported 43,500 jobs in 2014, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said:

“These figures underline the importance of low-carbon businesses to Scotland in helping our economy grow and creating new jobs.

“The leadership that the Scottish Government has shown, through setting ambitious targets for renewable electricity generation, has helped Scotland capture a far greater proportion of jobs in key renewable industries in the UK.

“However, with electricity generation now accounting for less than one quarter of Scotland’s climate change emissions, it’s now time to begin to reap the same benefits by increasing the use of renewables  in our heat and transport sectors.

“Setting ambitious renewable electricity targets helped give industry certainty. A new target to generate half of all our energy needs from renewable sources by 2030 would do the same for other parts of our economy, especially heat and transport.”

Responding to new figures from the Office of National Statistics which show the contribution of the renewable energy sector to Scotland’s economy; Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “These UK Government figures show once again the positive economic impact renewable energy has on our economy.

“At all levels of our industry – from the companies which develop wind farm, hydro and biomass projects and more to the consultancies, legal firms and accountants who support the sector – the opportunities from decarbonising our energy supply are increasingly clear.

“These new statistics underline the value of continued government support for green energy and show that tackling climate change goes hand in hand with economic opportunity.”

Energy

Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?

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The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?

The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.

Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.

The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.

Introducing New Technology

The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.

  • To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
  • Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
  • Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.

How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy

Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.

The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.

The Internet of Things

Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.

Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.

Blockchain Technology

It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)

The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.

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Energy

4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy

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Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.

However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?

A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.

1.     Boulder Nissan

When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:

  • Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
  • They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
  • Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.

This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.

2.     Valley Electric Association

In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.

“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”

The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.

This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.

3.     Las Vegas Casinos

A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.

“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”

There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.

4.     Boston College

Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.

Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.

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