Jul 21, 2015

Is crowdsourcing the key to funding renewable energy in Asia?

China
Australia
Asia
Admin
3 min
Throughout the Australasia region, government agencies are looking for new ways to stay ahead of the threat of an energy deficit and stave off the il...

Throughout the Australasia region, government agencies are looking for new ways to stay ahead of the threat of an energy deficit and stave off the ill effects of climate change. One important way to solve these issues is through renewable energy sources, from solar farms to wind turbines. But while these alternatives are on their way toward mainstream acceptance, they do still have a long way to go. Until then, fundraising options like crowdsourcing could turn out to be an effective way to fund renewable energy pursuits and prove their importance to solving energy issues within the region.

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As CNBC reports, some entities like the government of South Australia have helped investors come onboard with the idea of renewable exploration by reframing it from a matter of environmental imperative to a matter of potential economic promise in the long run:

"We flipped it over to make it an investment proposition. Rather than focusing on the obvious and important question of climate change here, [we asked] is this a new economic driver? And it turns out that it is," said Dr. Paul Heithersay, deputy chief executive at the South Australian government's Department of State Development. "It's a very high-tech industry."

 

Meanwhile China is looking to the public to help fund renewable energy projects—with already some significant success. According to reports, last year Hong Kong-based company United Photovoltaics successfully raised 10 billion yuan (around $1.6 million) in China from a pool of 100 investors through crowdfunding, using those funds to build a 1 MW off-grid solar farm.

RELATED CONTENT: [INFOGRAPHIC] Is China Crawling Toward Peak Coal?

Unived Photovoltaics already has plans to use crowdfunding again in the near future, and other Australasian businesses are as well—especially given the added bonus that crowdfunding has of showing quite clearly where the public’s interests lie by allowing them to vote with their wallets:

"Crowd-funding and community-funding are attractive for smaller scale distributed solar projects in China," advisory firm EY said in a report last year. "Investors can invest small amounts of capital for specific projects. Since financing is provided to individual projects, it provides developers a strong incentive to design and implement quality projects which in turn ensures an efficient use of capital."

 

The early success of crowdsourcing not only proves that it is a viable method for fundraising—it also proves where the public interest lies, which could prompt officials and private investors to give greater thought to providing their own funding in the future:

"The force of public opinion can't be ignored and the financial markets are dictating it," Australia's Heithersay said […] “Clearly, [there's]a very strong movement among the general populace that we want to invest in clean energy and they're all there out in force backing these companies that were probably a little bit before their time," he said.

 

Disruption and grassroots efforts are the way of the future, in the energy industry as much as any other. In this case, it could pave the way for a more sustainable and efficient energy system for Asia and Australia.

[SOURCE: CNBC]

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May 13, 2021

All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency

schools
energyefficiency
Renewables
Dominic Ellis
2 min
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only UK regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil

Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.

Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.

According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.

Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.

“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."

He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."

North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).

The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.

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