Insight: Future of Renewables 

Renewable energy set new records in 2015, for energy generation and investment. All of this happened in a year that Conservative Government backing and the media would have had us believe that renewables were a thing of the past,
not a technology full of opportunity to embrace for the future.

VG Consulting has a core message for the future of renewables: Increasing the share of renewables within the energy mix is possible, cost-effective and economically beneficial, both nationally and globally. Doing so is one of the main ways to meet international climate-change targets, provide businesses with a sustainable future and allow communities to fight fuel poverty and thrive.

To succeed, companies, communities and the energy technology suppliers need robust planning procedures. Too many in the past have fallen foul of energy planning processes and this is why we offer a supportive and effective solution to make sure any project meets and passes the criteria required.

There is still a very bright future ahead. So why is there so much uncertainty?

There are many answers to this, but fundamentally the media reporting around Feed-in-Tariff reductions created scaremongering within the sector. As this was reported, we did see fossil fuel commodities (oil, coal and gas) plummet in both investor confidence and as an ethical investment. Renewable technologies have seen out the challenges of 2015 and their competitors and are set to be even stronger in 2016.

Renewables will continue to remain a viable option for companies, landowners and investors.

The key drivers of investment in renewables have focused around Feed-in-Tariffs, as well as climate change policies. This is while improving cost-competitiveness for many sectors that VG Consulting partner with. These key drivers have enabled renewables to keep growing their share of world electricity generation at the expense of carbon-emitting sources.

The Future is Exciting

As we enter the second quarter of 2016, the renewables landscape looks healthy. Energy independence for communities and businesses, as well as the emergence of energy storage is why VG Consulting is excited for the future.

The Energy Trilemma is still a global concern that will impact homeowners, the business sector and public organisations. At VG Consulting we are continually seeing enquiries from both the private and public sector addressing these concerns and adapting to be sustainable and “keep the lights on”.

This is consistent across the whole, modern, energy mix; wind, solar, biomass and hydro. Although there have been significant changes in the Feed-in-Tariff regime for all renewable technologies since last summer, the industry is now enjoying some stability. There is a much greater emphasis on matching the technology to the end user’s energy profile. This is critical and as a consultancy partner we welcome this attitude as it is one that we have believed in for many years.

The industry has also responded by looking at ways of making the most of resources. The cost of technology is reducing and is being designed to produce more energy per site, so people are finding ways of getting paid more for the energy they are producing. This is great news.

The future is still a little unclear, the same can always be said for many industries in the current times of austerity, but renewables offer solutions and advantages to counteract any challenges it may still have to face.

On the negative side, there have been no announcements on large-scale renewable subsides after the closure of Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs). Grid connection restrictions are leaving many projects unable to be built and there is an ideological objection to wind and solar from the current Conservative Government. There is also a lack of clarity from the consequences of the deployment caps for Feed-in-Tariffs being met in theory, but not in reality.

However, there is a strong drive towards community renewable projects with Scotland and Wales being very clear that they see this being a significant part of the future. There is also a changing mentality within the renewables industry where larger organisations are looking to offset high energy use, reduce their carbon tax and increase their green credentials.

Efficient energy use and combining energy generation with smart technologies will mean there is a more flexible system that can match demand. We are already heralding the advent of energy storage and this is likely to be the next big ‘discovery’ and further the renewable energy case.

Regardless of the energy mix that matches your profile, VG Consulting is well placed to advise and develop your options.

Our energy planning advisers should be your first stop to creating an energy independence with the right energy mix.

Contact us on 01563 829 999 for advice on all renewable energy technology options for you.

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