The Renewable Energy Surge Has Started – What’s Next?
With renewable energy sources surging forward in generation, the technology industry has a moral responsibility to ensure it’s also doing everything it can to minimise fossil fuel usage and meet net-zero targets.
written by Lisbeth Lashmana, Head of Marketing TOUGHBOOK Europe
For the first time, wind turbines have produced more energy than gas in the UK over the first three months of 2023. In the first quarter of the year, 42% of the UK’s electricity came from renewable sources, compared to 33% from fossil fuels such as gas and coal.
Similarly, renewable energy production across Europe increased throughout 2022, with more solar and wind power generated than gas for the first time, with renewable energy accounting for a fifth of all electricity generated across 2022 in Europe. This has come at an opportune time, helping nations to weather the energy crisis storm that’s currently enveloping the globe.
This also feels like a seminal moment on the journey to the EU producing net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Therefore, what are the key energy trends that will shape the remainder of 2023 and beyond that will help to keep on track, to achieving this target?
Convergence of energy and utilities
The transition from energy production to business usage may be a gradual one, with recent research suggesting that billions of pounds of renewable energy projects in the UK are stuck in limbo, due to them not being able to connect to the national power grid.
This is a European-wide issue, with Eurelectric, the European electricity industry body, stating in late 2022 that investments in the continental electricity grid needs to increase by between 50% and 70%, to up to €39 billion a year by 2030, to ensure similar bottlenecks are vastly reduced, and to optimise reserve capacity across Europe.
This has to be a priority for energy suppliers and governments in the region, if businesses are going to truly realise the benefits of renewable energy going forward.
Changing business behaviours
Businesses across Europe are simultaneously looking at how to keep costs under control, and how to continue to advance ESG initiatives forward. Bundling is one answer for businesses, such as those previously offered by Centrica Business Solutions for larger companies to build on-site power generation solutions. This could be utilised for organisations with large electric vehicle fleets, for example.
Regardless, the ‘Energy-as-a-Service’ market is continuing to grow, but it’s entirely dependent on how quickly the above renewable energy generation can be turned into real-world power.
Hydrogen – the final frontier?
Long considered as a renewable energy source that’s just out-of-reach, advancements in hydrogen have nevertheless increased, albeit with significant investments in technology. This level of investment, such as that in large-scale fuel cells, will have to continue if hydrogen power can be truly utilised.
It will be interesting to see how the generation of hydrogen fares when compared to other renewable energy sources, such as wind, given the relatively inexpensive way of converting kinetic energy into power.
Less talk and more action from TOUGHBOOK
TOUGHBOOK’s own sustainability initiatives are underpinned by Panasonic’s global GREEN IMPACT programme, in which it is committed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions for its own business operations by 2030, and across its entire supply chain by 2050.
It’s at the very heart of what we do; the modular design approach for TOUGHBOOKs enables the life and use of the devices to be extended, by allowing them to be modified easily and quickly. More recently, our TOUGHBOOK Revive programme enables European customers to donate their retired devices to be refurbished, resold or reused amongst selected charity partners, or responsibly recycled. By doing so, they will be contributing towards a circular economy and helping to meet zero waste targets, and demonstrate sustainable recycling practices.
With renewable energy usage seemingly becoming a reality, it appears that the energy sector is making significant strides forward, but there is still plenty more to do in turning talk into action, and helping businesses actively achieve true decarbonisation throughout their supply chains.
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