[REPORT] UK green energy industry continues growth with offshore wind efforts
Despite facing some potential trouble with funding last year, 2014 was marked by an optimistic outlook regarding the potential of offshore wind farms in the United Kingdom—already the region had reached a capacity of 3.7 gigawatts (GW), and with the right investments the industry was expected to grow to an 11 GW capacity by 2020. Now one year later, a new report states that the UK is still on track with an offshore wind industry that is continuing to thrive.
RELATED CONTENT: [REPORT] Outlook is Positive for Offshore Wind in the U.K.
As Renewable Energy Focus reports, the UK is currently well on its way to 11 GW capacity with five GW of offshore wind turbines already installed—the report notes that this accounts for essentially half of the world’s offshore wind capacity. At this rate, the report predicts that offshore wind will be able to provide the UK with up to 10 percent of its annual electricity needs by 2020.
RELATED CONTENT: Could the world run on 100 percent renewable energy by 2050?
This is a very positive development for multiple reasons. For one, the rise in renewable energy is an effective job creator. Renewable Energy Focus reports that offshore wind farms have created over 18,000 jobs in the UK and revitalized coastal towns in need of employment and funding. As costs decrease and the renewable energy sector is seen as more viable for mainstream energy generation, the amount of wind farms being built—and therefore the amount of jobs created—can only be expected to increase in the near future. By 2020, the report predicts that the job count could increase to 30,000.
RELATED CONTENT: Renewables Get a Budget Boost in the UK to Mixed Reactions
What’s more, the report also notes that this upswing in renewable energy will allow the UK to begin in earnest the decommissioning process for older nuclear energy and coal-reliant power stations that no longer meet today’s carbon targets. This is an especially important point for those hoping to make significant swaps of fossil fuel energy for renewable energy worldwide.
Will the UK find itself 100 percent powered by offshore wind farms? This won’t be the scenario by 2020. But as output increase and technology continues to progress, the UK’s energy procurement structures could start to look very different in the decades to come.
[Read the full report at Renewable Energy Focus]
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.