Opportunities in the Energy Sector
The UK now has an opportunity to optimise the energy use of both domestic and business customers, reducing bills and warming homes, while at the same time delivering a more sustainable society. Individuals can do this by taking action to reduce their demand, such as turning off energy-consuming products that are not in use, buying products that are more efficient, or installing energy efficiency measures in their homes. Businesses can take similar actions, which also reduces their long-term operating costs.
Through greater energy efficiency we can use less fuel or power to enjoy the same level of output. Improved energy efficiency can provide many economic, social and environmental benefits for the UK and yet we are not doing all we can to realise them.
The UK must continue to find solutions, such as those provided by the Green Deal and Smart Meters, which allow individuals and businesses to tap into cost-effective energy efficiency improvements; whether it be through more efficient industrial processes, better use of heat, or simply installing energy efficient lighting.
Stephen Chu, the US Secretary of Energy, has said that, “…energy efficiency is not just low-hanging fruit; it is fruit that is lying on the ground.” With the right market in the UK, we could unlock more of the potential for energy efficiency investment, helping to generate growth and jobs. Alongside the associated carbon reductions, improvements in our energy security by reducing demand for imported energy, warmer homes and lower resulting energy bills, increasing energy efficiency is a win-win. Greater energy efficiency may also support improvements in wider resource efficiency.
The global energy sector is at a vital crossroads, and it is important that professionals and students are aware that opportunities are still available to pursue careers in the sector. At this point, I should mention the European Energy Centre’s (EEC) Distance Learning Academy, which has been designed specifically by the EEC Accredited Centre to facilitate the professional development of busy professionals via online learning, who have limited time or are unable to travel to UK Universities where EEC courses are held. The EEC works with the United Nations Environment Programme and major universities to promote best practice in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, through training courses and conferences.
The UK must be conscious of climate change and prepared for the greater sustainable use of energy, because as we have already seen the world is ready to change. More information can be found at www.EUenergycentre.org/training
Carbon Finance and Carbon Trading
Another step the UK must take is to help catalyse a global carbon market that supports sustainable development, reduces transaction costs, and reaches and benefits the poorest communities of the developing world.
The UK will provide £50m from 2013 to 2025 to increase the flow of international carbon finance to Least Developed Countries (LDCs), with a focus on Africa, to support climate change mitigation and poor peoples' access to clean energy and other poverty reducing technologies. In the short- to medium-term, this programme will deliver direct climate and poverty reduction benefits on the ground in LDCs through clean energy projects such as household solar, biogas and micro-hydro systems. By channelling this support through the carbon market, the programme will increase the ability of LDCs to access and benefit from carbon finance in the medium- to long-term.
The EEC’s Carbon Management training course is also available via distance learning with live tutorial, where delegates learn how to calculate, monitor and reduce an organisation's carbon footprint and improve green credentials, in line with current legislation and carbon reduction commitments.
Some degree of climate change is inevitable because of past and present carbon emissions. Even with the strong international action set out in the Paris Agreement to curb emissions, global temperatures still have a fifty percent chance of rising above 2 °C by the end of the century.
In England temperatures are, on average, between 0.5-1 °C higher than they were in the 1970s. Sea levels have risen by an average of 3 mm each year in recent decades, and could increase by 12-76 cm by the end of the century (compared to 1990 levels).
Extreme weather events already cause damage and disruption. Around two thousand people across the UK died as a result of the 2003 heatwave. Insured losses from flooding and severe weather events have cost an average £1.5 billion per year over the past twenty years. In 2007 widespread flooding affected 55,000 homes, killed 13 people and cost the economy £3.2 billion. Events such as these are likely to become more frequent and severe as the climate changes. Preparing for climate change today in many instances will reduce the impact of future costs and damages, and enable organisations and individuals to take advantage of potential opportunities.
For further information, visit: https://www.euenergycentre.org/training
This report was written by Salvador Selva Martí on behalf of the European Energy Centre (EEC).
Salvador is an EEC Volunteer and AEEC member of the EnergyCPD Global Professional Membership Programme.