EIA: Next Two Years Looking Strong for Renewable Energy Growth
If you thought 2014 was a good year for renewable energy in the United States, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) would like to direct your attention to 2015 and 2016.
The newest edition of the agency’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO)—a monthly report that takes into account trends in energy—predicted a 3.8 percent increase in total renewable energy for heat and electricity generation in 2015. The report forecasted that conventional hydroelectric generation would increase by 5.7 percent while all other non-hydropower renewables are expected to increase by 2.9 percent.
That trend is expected to slow in 2016, with total renewable growth forecasted at about 2.9 percent as hydroelectric generation is anticipated to decrease by 3.2 percent. A 6 percent spike in all other renewables is expected to mitigate that decline.
“In 2013, the electricity generation shares were 6.6 percent and 6.2 percent from hydropower and [non-hydropower] renewables, respectively. In 2014, 6.3 percent of generation came from hydropower and 6.9 percent from [non-hydropower] renewable,” the EIA said. “This trend is expected to continue, with the electricity generation share from [non-hydropower] renewables rising to 7.9 percent by 2016, and the hydropower share remaining near 6.5 percent. Wind is the largest source of [non-hydropower] renewable generation, and it is projected to contribute 5.2 percent of total electricity generation in 2016.”
In addition to wind power’s continuing impact on the national energy mix, the EIA predicts solar power generation to show substantial growth. According to the agency, solar power— which has historically been centered on small-scale, “customer-sited” installations— will likely see an increase of as much as 60 percent in utility-scale power generation. While this will only boost solar’s total share of national electricity generation to an estimated 0.7 percent by 2016, it does constitute a more than 34 percent increase in solar generation over 2014.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
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.