Prices for lithium-ion batteries have dropped by 75 per cent in six years and the International Renewable Energy Agency predicts further falls. For storage over the longer term — weeks and months — long-distance electricity interconnectors are being built.
Data shows that efficiency in homes, transport and industry in the EU, for example, has improved by around a fifth since Boosting standards around the efficiency of appliances is significant: a UN Environment Programme report shows it makes one of the biggest impacts of any single action. Website: Atomic Smash. The rapid renewables boom Rapidly declining production costs for solar panels and wind turbines — costs have dropped 90 per cent in the past 10 years for solar for example — mean that renewable energy is often now the cheapest form available in many parts of the world.
Plugging away: electric cars Electric cars are now being made for the mass market. The colossal fossil demise Experts have been stunned by how quickly coal has fallen out of favour. More in store: batteries Prices for lithium-ion batteries have dropped by 75 per cent in six years and the International Renewable Energy Agency predicts further falls. Especially, industries that are not developing new and diversified business fields as a precautionary strategy will be affected, if they stick to the old fossil fuel-based business model for too long.
In Germany, fierce conflicts are currently affecting the coal sector and two regions, where lignite is mined and converted into electricity, in particular. This year, a government commission "Commission on growth, structural change and employment" will not only set an end date for the complete withdrawal from coal lignite , but will submit a developed and funded industrial development concept for the affected regions.
If climate mitigation policies foster structural change and push regions, jobs and companies out of their traditional positions, politics and business, all stakeholders must feel responsible to create new development opportunities; meaning a transformative governance based on reasonable large funds, participative developed roadmaps and concrete investment initiatives for sustainable regional development patterns e.
The German master plan for phasing out lignite might become an interesting pilot, because this new type of proactive ecological and regional industrial policy is needed everywhere, if climate mitigation and energy transition are taken seriously. This holds especially true for coal exporting countries and for the coal sector in Asia.
If governments do not dare to act proactively the finance market might force them. The risk of non-action increases each year.
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Today, a growing divestment movement is leaving the fossil era. The concern about a possible bursting of the "carbon bubble", the mismatch of the excessively inflated stock market value of oil and coal companies in relation to the necessary CO 2 reduction, does not only worry scientists see Carbon Tracker Initiative , but also the Bank of England and the Financial Stability Board. In the past, Australia has been able to build its successful development, its energy system and a large part of its export earnings on its enormous fossil energy resources coal, gas.
This resource blessing can turn into a curse, if the switch from the fossil age to the solar age e. According to the Paris Agreement , the entire world has to be nearly decarbonized in the middle of this century. Governments seeking to green the economy, sustain the country's prosperity, still have a chance to steer the "Great Transformation" Polany in a controlled manner, in order to stay competitive at the global GreenTech markets.
The world demand for energy is increasing
But the future strength of this power can no longer be based on fossil fuels but on the abundant potentials of renewables and efficiency. What is the essence of the narrative: By combining the rapid deployment of renewables with a massive increase in energy efficiency "efficiency revolution" , the necessary contribution to climate and resource protection can be achieved and a huge amount of co-benefits can be realized simultaneously.
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The technologies are available, but they must also be embedded in more sustainable consumption and production patterns. Otherwise, the gains are eaten up by rebound effects, overconsumption and wasteful lifestyles. In the context of a new polycentric governance of efficiency and renewables policies, efforts should be made to reduce undesired rebound effects as far as possible through integrated energy and sufficiency policies.
Encouraging individual behavioral changes towards frugality are necessary, honorable and can encourage imitation. But in view of a general transformation to more sustainable production and consumption patterns, they are not sufficient for structural reasons. This is especially true for industrialized, but increasingly also for the new consumer classes in emerging and developing countries.
10 megatrends shaping the future of green building | Building Design + Construction
The right balance of more sustainable consumption and production and its encouragement through an integrated efficiency and sufficiency policy is a longer-term socio-political task. Professor Peter Hennicke is one of the key architects of the German energy transformation and keynote speaker at the National Energy Efficiency Conference. Home News Industry news. Renewables versus efficiency? Australia's future as an energy superpower In the past, Australia has been able to build its successful development, its energy system and a large part of its export earnings on its enormous fossil energy resources coal, gas.
The key point is that certification as a practice is increasingly falling by the wayside. This has implications for both certification organizations and for sustainability in the built environment. Since , energy-efficient green building retrofits have shown stronger growth than energy-efficient new construction. In the MUSH market, cheap capital and the emergence of energy service companies known as ESCOs have encouraged building owners to trade future energy savings for upgraded or modernized physical plants. A more cost-effective approach to certifying existing buildings should also attempt first to take advantage of the concentrated nature of efficiency opportunities by launching a rating system tailored for such buildings and their key performance indicators.
Zero-net-energy buildings are become increasingly commonplace. In the U. In and , the federal government put LEED and Green Globes on an equal footing for government projects, lending further legitimacy to Green Globes. In Asia-Pacific, the likely scenario is for country-specific rating systems to dominate, especially in more established markets such as Australia, Singapore, Japan, India, and China. Starting with the global financial crisis of —, the green building industry began to switch from evaluating new building projects to assessing existing buildings and tenant spaces.
This trend has been solidly in place since , and I expect it to accelerate, for two reasons. First, the uptake of third-party green building rating for new construction peaked during — and is now a steady 2,—2, projects a year in the U. With new construction certification basically flat, the existing building market is getting greater attention, particularly with energy-efficiency retrofits and a renewed focus on using the Energy Star system.
3 Megatrends Shaping the New World of Energy
LEED certification is not as newsworthy as it once was. Building owners and third-party service companies increasingly manage larger buildings remotely, using software platforms that provide performance monitoring, data analytics, visualization, fault detection and diagnostics, portfolio energy management, and text messaging, all using the cloud. This trend is reflected in the large number of new offerings in building automation, facility management, wireless controls, and building services information management in the last few years, as well as the spread of energy dashboards, cheap sensors, a greater awareness of the business case for energy upgrades, and more government regulation and actions for cutting energy use.
Ten U. Both initiatives capitalize on concerns over climate change and incorporate measures of transparency favored by many government agencies.
This trend will spread rapidly as the easiest way to monitor reductions in carbon emissions from commercial and government-owned buildings. It will put pressure on owners to invest in energy-efficiency retrofits and renovations. This could lead to massive market confusion for product specifiers, who must choose between proven products that they know from experience are appropriate for a given use, and newer products that claim to be healthier because they meet certain criteria from one or more rating organizations.
Solar use in buildings will continue to grow, primarily because a number of U.