06 JAN 2018

What does Indias energy plan mean for the rest of the world

India’s ambitious plan to rapidly transition its economy to renewable energy will have huge environmental, economic, political and social benefits − not just for Asia but for the entire world.

India’s government has set a target of 175 GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2022, which includes 100 GW of solar, 60 GW of wind, with the remaining 15 GW coming from biomass and small hydro projects.

Meeting these renewable energy targets will make India – home to more than 1.3 billion people – the world’s third largest producer of clean energy, behind the US and China.

The shift to renewables generation will help India, a signatory of the Paris agreement on climate change, lower its greenhouse gas emissions, diversify its economy and its reduce its reliance on imported oil.

But what does Indian’s energy plan mean for the rest of the world?

Cheaper wind and solar power

India’s surge of investment in renewable energy has played a role in the global fall in the cost of solar power, making the technology cheaper than coal.

Market analysis firm GTM Research found that India’s system of tenders has produced extremely competitive bidding and, as a result, pushed the cost of solar to extreme lows, with PV system pricing across the country now in the region of 65 cents per watt. In comparison, China is around 11 cents per watt higher.

The falling cost of solar hasn’t been restricted to India, but is part of an ongoing global trend. As supply has increased, costs have come down. Over the last decade manufacturers, developers and engineers have all become more efficient in their delivery of solar panels and projects. As India moves along the path to a larger penetration of renewables, it will further drive down the global cost of both solar and wind technologies.

Investment and business opportunities

In May 2017, India overtook the US to take the second spot on a list of the world’s most attractive renewable energy markets for investors. In its annual ranking of the world’s top markets for investing into renewable energy, Ernst & Young named China the world’s most attractive market, followed by India.

As the country upgrades its energy systems, transportation, city and industrial infrastructure, India is presenting a trillion-dollar opportunity for domestic and international investors and businesses. 

The cost of delivering India’s energy transition could reach $1 trillion by 2030, India’s power minister told the World Future Energy Summit at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January 2017.

Job creation

Investment in India’s renewable energy is expected to create more than 330,000 jobs in construction, project commissioning and design, business development, and operations and maintenance, the World Resources Institute has estimated.

Delivering major renewable energy projects across the country will result in India becoming a major hub for industry leadership and expertise. This could lead to the delivery of international projects, enabling India to become a leading international clean energy developer.

Joint projects and knowledge sharing

Undertaking joint energy and infrastructure projects can reduce economic risks associated with delivering major projects, while knowledge sharing can drive technological advances and improve efficiencies.

For example, countries like Russia are entering the initial stages of developing a renewable energy market. Through its nuclear programmes, India and Russia have a strong relationship in place, which could allow knowledge transfer to support Russian companies and regulatory bodies to further understand how to organise auctions for the selection of production capacities and advise how these may be integrated into the energy network.

Partnerships like these will be another key element for helping to drive down the cost of renewable energy and further support the adoption of cleaner forms of generation. 

09 AUG 2018

Beyond Spreadsheets

Even within some of the world’s largest and most sophisticated companies, you find that teams responsible for sustainability reporting are often left out on a limb.

Where hundreds of thousands are spent on smart customer relationship and supply chain software, or advanced marketing analytics, it is still not uncommon to find global environmental data being crunched on a clunky old spreadsheet.

Better business intelligence enables better business decisions. However, most organisations do not track environmental data such as carbon emission or water use when looking at how to optimise business efficiency. 

In theory doing this should provide an excellent lens to look at overall efficiency across different locations and processes. This can highlight where equipment is not operating as expected, or inefficient procedures that result in energy or water waste. It also provides the evidence necessary to make a robust business case for investing into new or upgraded technologies.

But in practice, data on sustainability metrics is all too often lumped together once a year for the sake of annual reporting, which ends up being the sole purpose for its collection.

Part of the problem is that sustainability data can come from any area of the business, from different teams and in different formats. It can therefore be difficult to consolidate the data in a way that provides useful information across the organisation.

However, this is all starting to change. Companies are taking increasingly integrated approaches to data, finding ways to bring sustainability metrics into their wider evaluation of performance.

This shift is being unlocked by the same driving forces that are behind the rise of the Internet of Things: cheaper meters and sensors to collect information, alongside the ability to access and aggregate large quantities of data in smarter ways. It is getting easier and easier to combine disparate and disorganised pieces of information, to automate the cleaning of the data, and to report this in an organised fashion.

Software plays an important role in enabling effective decisions to be made using this data. Traditionally, bespoke sustainability software had to be developed, often over a long period of time. But the rise and improvement of all purpose Business Intelligence (BI) software has meant that organisations can now create highly tailored BI solutions, which in many cases are just as powerful and useful as many tailored sustainability software solutions. 

In fact, BI solutions can sometimes offer visualisations of data that have more impact and insight than traditional sustainability software. This is because sustainability teams have the ability to customise the outputs themselves, rather than always relying on software developers for every small change. 

Beyond this, BI solutions are supported by some of the world’s largest software companies, and can integrate with an organisation’s existing IT software license. The prime example of this is Microsoft’s suite of BI software. 

One example of putting this into practice is finding ways to improve approaches to employee business travel, which is often a large source of costs and carbon emissions. Standard BI software can connect directly to raw data on travel, refreshing whenever this is updated or new information is added. And this can all be done online, so it is immediately accessible.

The data collected can be readily displayed and broken down, so it can be visualised at multiple levels. For example, you can view emissions by time period, operating company, business units, teams, individuals, travel modes, class of ticket, or any combination of the aforementioned options.

By being able to look right down to specific departure airports and even individual employees, this allows companies to make smarter decisions about travel policies and ask the right questions that can result in substantial cost savings.

The same is true with vehicle telematics, especially larger vehicles, such as those used in construction and mining. With very large vehicles driver behaviour can make a huge difference to fuel costs for the same amount of work being done. These fuel costs can be higher than labour costs for the drivers, so the information can be used to create incentive schemes to improve behaviour, or as a way of targeting training programmes. 

There are even ways to use these advanced approaches to sustainability data to drive the growth of business units, so long as the right metrics and methodologies are applied. A number of ICT companies, such as BT and AT&T, are now working towards goals for how their products and services are enabling their customers to reduce carbon emissions in their own operations.

It is only through good measurement that sustainability issues can truly be managed effectively. The sooner that clunky old spreadsheets are put into retirement – whether through specialist sustainability software or BI solutions – the better the outcomes will be for the planet. 

Check out the online HTML CheatSheet here and save the link because you might need it while composing content for a web page.

By John Hsu / The Carbon Trust

29 MAR 2018

The Future of Sustainable Mobility

The topic of sustainability cannot be discussed without addressing transport. It consumes about one third of the world’s energy yet uses a lower proportion from renewable sources than any other industry, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

As the world’s population increases and more people live in cities, passenger transport is forecast to more than double by 2050. As a result, carbon emissions from the sector could increase by 60%, the International Transport Forum has forecast.

To serve growing demand for transport sustainably, society must look at alternatives to the internal combustion engine, which has been the world’s dominant transport system since its invention in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

Greener transport can mitigate climate change, reduce pollution and make the energy system more sustainable.

Here are some of the technologies and trends that are on track to disrupt our transport systems.

Electric vehicles

Electric vehicles represent one of the most important trends in sustainable mobility. They’re expected to see rapid growth – from around two million today to between 150 million and 400 million by 2030, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has predicted.

By 2040, more than half (54%) of all new car sales will be electric, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Growth in consumer demand will come from a fall in the cost of electric batteries (which will help make most electric cars as cheap as cars with internal combustion engines by the end of the next decade, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance), improvements in performance, increased demand from customers and government support for clean energy.

The future for electric cars looks promising, but challenges remain. The biggest one is infrastructure. For instance, if hundreds of millions of petrol and diesel vehicles are to be replaced with electric ones, there will need to be a huge investment in charging stations (at homes, public locations and in businesses). 

Hydrogen

Most electric cars run on powered by lithium-ion batteries, also used in laptops and mobile phones. It usually takes at least 30 minutes, but often hours, to charge an electric car. One alternative is hydrogen − fuel cells that combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat, and water. It can recharge a car in a couple of minutes.

Hydrogen is receiving the backing of some of the world biggest automotive manufacturers including Toyota and Mercedes, which are developing cars that run on fuel-cells.

Some experts predict that hydrogen will play a major role in industry and public transport, where routes are predictable and re-fuelling stations are in close proximity.   

Car-sharing and the shared economy

The digital revolution has given rise to the “shared economy”, enabling consumers to rent out everything from homes to labour. Services like SnappCar and Turo, billed as the ‘Airbnb for cars‘, allow drivers to rent out their vehicles when they’re not in use. Car sharing services have enormous potential to reduce the number of cars on our roads. In Europe for example, the 250m cars across the continent are used on average only an hour a day.

For now, peer-to-peer car sharing is still very small. It’s a big cultural step for people to share their vehicles with strangers but the success of Airbnb has demonstrated that the sharing economy can disrupt traditional ways of working. For mobility, the shared economy could help improve air quality in urban environments particularly if consumers are sharing low-carbon vehicles. 

New types of transport 

Perhaps the most exciting new form of transport could be the “hyperloop” – a system that can transport passengers and cargo in pods at speeds of up 700 miles per hour using low-pressure tubes and magnetic levitation. The technology has the potential to be powered by solar, wind or forms of renewable generation.

In 2016, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) agreed a deal with US start-up Hyperloop One (now Virgin Hyperloop One) to build a system between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which could reduce the 150 kilometre trip from 90 minutes to 12 minutes.

The RTA is also testing another new type of transport − a self-flying air taxi that carries two people and runs on electric batteries. The air taxi, made by German company, Volocopter, is currently undergoing test flights around the city.

 

02 AUG 2020

10 Key Facts around World Youth Skills Day

World Youth Skills Day was celebrated July 15 under the theme of “Skills for a Resilient Youth.”

Designated by the UN General Assembly in 2014, World Youth Skills Day aims to highlight the importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.
Rising youth unemployment is a growing global problem, with a report showing a worldwide rise since 2017 in the number of youth not in employment, education or training (NEET).

In 2016, there were 259 million young people classified as NEET – rising to an estimated 267 million in 2019, with 273 million projected by 2021. 
Globally, one in five young people are NEET – three out of four young NEETs are women.

While the youth population grew by 139 million between 1997 and 2017, the youth labour force shrank by 58.7 million.

Almost two out of five young workers in emerging and developing economies live on less than US$3.10 a day.

Prior to the current crisis, youth were three times as likely as people age 25 or older to be unemployed. Currently, more than one in six young people are out of work due to COVID-19. 

School closures due to COVID-19 may have impacted 70 percent of the world’s learners across education levels. 

Distance training has become the most common way of imparting skills, according to research collected by UNESCO, the International Labour Organization and the World Bank.  By Source: United Nations