Welcome to the first installment of the Energy Revolution blog. Here you will find unique insights on the clean energy sector, and we’ll share what we’re doing to help your business take advantage of the myriad opportunities.
Energy is essential for the prosperous times of global civilization in which we are privileged to live. However, we live in a time of climate change, and autocratic regimes control much of the world’s oil. We need to rethink our approach to energy and find innovative new ways of doing business.
Clean energy provides the answer to many of our energy problems. So what are the signs that its time has come?
1) Renewable Energy is Cheapest
Cast your eyes back a decade to 2008. Subsidies were essential for wind and solar, while hydro and geothermal opportunities were (and still are) limited by geography. While clean energy was growing, it was hard to see a realistic path towards a truly sustainable future.
Fast-forward to the present, where costs for wind a solar energy have dropped dramatically. Unsubsidized renewable energy is now the cheapest form of energy in many parts of the world. Not surprisingly, clean electricity has now overtaken fossil fuel investment worldwide.
2) Public Support for Clean Energy is Overwhelming
While the economics of green energy makes change unstoppable, public support has also been crucial in accelerating the transition to clean energy.
The politics around climate change is controversial for some, but there is overwhelming support for a shift to sustainable energy. This support includes the bulk of the population in countries as diverse as Canada (90%), Australia (96%), India (82%) and China (93%). Even in the US, where President Trump stands alone among world leaders in eschewing the Paris Climate Agreement, we see over 85% support for a shift to clean energy. Tellingly, Republican dominated “red” states, such as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa lead the way on wind energy generation.
3)Technical Challenges Have Been Conquered
One of the biggest technical challenges with wind and solar energy has been their intermittency. Since those in the renewable sector were apparently unaware, some very kind internet trolls have pointed out that even the windiest locations have calm days, and night time usually occurs at least once a day.
However, recent advances in battery technology, pumped storage hydro and other energy storage mechanisms allow excess solar or wind energy to be stored and made available whenever needed. Combining wind and solar with storage and non-intermittent renewables such as hydro, biomass and geothermal, we are now able to provide a 100% clean energy system at a competitive cost.
4) Green Energy Means Energy for All
Energy supply has traditionally been the domain of large corporations and government controlled utility monopolies. But this balance is shifting. In many parts of the world, new technology and changing market structures are upending the traditional utility business model. This is opening up prospects for small businesses, households and communities who have greater control over their energy decisions.
Opportunities in the sustainable energy industry now available to independent businesses and small communities include:
By bringing new clean energy opportunities to entrepreneurs and family businesses, we decentralise decision making, and open up the energy sector to more innovative approaches.
Towards an Energy Revolution
Renewable energy still makes a fairly small contribution to our energy system (12% overall and 23% for electricity). It may therefore be tempting to think that clean energy will still be a minor player for years to come. But technological change often starts slowly before reaching an unstoppable tipping point.
The automobile was invented in the late 1800s. But it wasn’t widely adopted until Henry Ford pioneered assembly line manufacturing 30 years later for the Model T. Cell phones and the internet were still rare novelties in the mid-1990s, decades after their invention. Yet 20 years later, they are ubiquitous and essential facets of modern life.
Similarly, clean energy has now reached a critical tipping point. It could be the business opportunity of our generation.
Welcome to the Energy Revolution!
IMAGE CREDITS (top to bottom):
1) Mathias Appel, creative commons licence (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mathiasappel/16738855353/) 2) Michael Pullinger (https://pixabay.com/en/valves-pipes-industry-495377/) 3) Carl Attard, creative commons licence (https://www.pexels.com/photo/alternative-alternative-energy-clean-energy-close-up-421888/)