Are crowdfunding and renewable energy a good match?
And at the same time, can we get the general public to participate in projects that will benefit their communities?
We found that energy organisations offer a big resounding "Yes!" to each of these questions.
It is known that the British love to talk about the weather, we are renowned for filling conversation with idle chat about clouds, cold, warm, wind and rain. However the mildness that we are all used to is changing and it is because of global warming. We have had the coldest March for 50 years which has resulted in sheep and their dead lambs being pulled out of snow drifts by tearful hill farmers who have been forced to learn avalanche rescue skills in order to save what they can of their livelihoods. The creatures of the wild are also suffering as the early nesting birds like robins, blackbirds and long tailed tits are experiencing the death of their broods before they even have a chance to hatch. This spring cold snap has even been blamed for putting a triple dip recession back on the cards.
And the winner of the 2013 Rushlight Award for Environmental Analysis and Metrology is.....
Better Generation and their flagship product the Power Predictor!
It doesn't stop there as Better Generation was also commended in the Environmental Management Award (whose winner is chosen from a pool of other award winners) and furthermore we were commended in the overall Rushlight Award. Both of these higher awards are given to those who have contributed significant and substantial solutions to current environmental issues.
This morning it was revealed that the department for transport (DfT) is going to be injecting the largest ever lump sum investment into the UK cycling infrastructure. The kitty will total £63 million with about half of that to be set aside for city councils to improve their streets for cyclists. Another element of this redevelopment project will be to spend £9 million expanding and improving the bicycle parking facilities at train stations all around the country. This can be taken as a genuine attempt by the government to get more people to take up the dual mode commute of bike and train. Better still the DfT seem eager to get rid of the cash: "We are keen to get a move on. The intention is to spend it as soon as possible" said the DfT junior minister Norman Baker, the popularly styled ‘Minister for Cycling' who is behind the project. Never a truer word has been said when you consider that the UK has as many cyclists per capita as some of the more lowly (no offense intended) EU nations such as Malta, Bulgaria and Cyprus.
So the latest headline grabbing climate talks have come to end and with what result? The hardliner environmentalist would say that the biggest emitters have got away with (climate change) murder whereas the perpetual optimist would say that we have laid the foundations of low carbon future. If we look at the facts then we can see that both are true to a certain extent. I think Ed Davey, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, summed it up by saying "this is not perfect, but it is genuine progress." He reflects the fact that the talks ended up as an exercise in timetabling by saying: "We wanted to pave the way for the future [discussions on a new global treaty] and we've done that."
It has been agreed that a new treaty will be negotiated in 2015 and that it will become enforced in 2020 but unlike the Kyoto agreement it will require cuts from both developed and developing nations. Also the Kyoto agreement has been extended to cover the time from now to 2020 however this means little as the remaining nations who actually still uphold the Kyoto agreement count for only 15% of global emissions.
This is not perfect, but it is genuine progress
So to summarise: nothing new and nothing binding was agreed, all that was settled was the arrangements for the next round of talks and the extension of a laughably ineffective existing treaty. It would appear that this emotive speech from the Filipino delegate fell on deaf ears.
Last weekend the city of Glasgow hosted the annual meeting of the biggest players in the wind, wave and tidal energy industries as the RenewableUK conference took place. Alongside the exhibitions a number of speakers were scheduled to address the 5000+ delegates. These included the First Minster of Scotland, Alex Salmond, a number of industry CEO's and the newly appointed minister of state for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, John Hayes. When it came to Mr. Hayes' turn to take the podium he had to apologise that he had nothing prepared and so he spoke "off the cuff." Little did the audience know that his boss the energy secretary Ed Davey had instructed him to tear up his speech a few hours beforehand. Ed Davey had done this because Hayes was about to make the outrageous claim that the UK is planning to build too many onshore wind farms and that this process should be stopped.
Last week two of Britain's biggest energy suppliers shocked the nation by announcing that gas and electricity bills would increase by up to 9% from next month. This announcement catapulted the government's energy policies back into the limelight, policies that have attracted a lot of criticism since the coalition's rise to power. David Cameron responded to this by announcing that energy companies would be forced to place their customers on the lowest tariff possible. Even this policy, however, has been targeted by consumer groups who believe that it will only serve to reduce what little competition there is in the energy market and so increasing energy bills in the long term.
This autumn is proving to be a critical time for the energy industries of the UK as we await the long overdue energy bill that will define the future of energy production in this country. This bill aims to modernise our energy infrastructure through over £100bn of investments which will replace our ageing power plants and overhaul our transmission grid. The choice at stake could not be more critical, do we follow a low carbon policy or do we continue to rely heavily on fossil fuels for our energy? At least one thing is agreed upon, that coal fired power stations have to go as they are the least efficient and the most polluting by far. On top of this, there has been a huge reduction in public support for nuclear energy following the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan due to the Tsunami in March 2011. Now the government has to decide what will fill these gaps in energy production.
Tagged in: The Coalition Government , Imported Gas , George Osborne , Gas-fired Power Stations , Energy Suppliers , Energy Bills , Electricity Supply , David Cameron , Clean Energy
So, all those years ago when London first won the bid for the 2012 Olympics, we were promised the first truly sustainable Olympics. Challenges included creating a low carbon Olympic Park, planning strategies for waste management and food supply, and of course creating the first Public Transport Games. An ambitious target we all agreed, but did London deliver? Was it as truly sustainable as it had promised to be? Well, whilst we are waiting for the official reports and figures, let's look back at some of the promises and what has been delivered.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has sent its strongest message to date, in urging politicians to make a stand and realise the potential of green business adoption in the UK.
In a report published by CBI "The Colour of Growth: Maximising the Potential of Green Business" John Cridland, CBI Director-General, says, "The so-called "choice" between going green or going for growth is a false one. We are increasingly hearing that politicians are for one or the other, when in reality, with the right policies in place, green business will be a major pillar of our future growth."
By adopting a more consistent approach to energy and climate change policy, he went on to suggest "we can add £20bn extra to our economy and knock £0.8bn off the trade gap, all within the lifetime of this Parliament."
You may not know it but we are currently embroiled in a battle of the solar systems. Unfortunately, we are not talking intergalactic solar systems or anything 'Star Wars' related but something much more down to earth.
Just about every government in the world recognises the importance of solar power in the emerging renewable energy market and what is becoming clear is that some governments are putting up a fight in order to maintain and grow their market share. They know and understand that the renewable energy market is not just good for the environment but also makes very sound business sense. As the battle for market share heats up, the two biggest countries at loggerheads are, of course, the US and China.