Why Should Industry Use Renewable Energy?
May 21 2021
More than five years ago, all of the nations of the world convened in Paris and agreed to limit global warming by an absolute maximum of 2°C and by a preferred threshold of 1.5°C. While that latter target is now looking extremely unattainable, it will still be possible to curb our emissions enough to meet the former – but it will take a concerted effort from everyone to achieve it.
However, the fact that a mere 100 companies on the planet are responsible for over two-thirds of its greenhouse gas emissions highlights how much of a responsibility industry has in this area. Implementing sustainable carbon capture and storage technology on existing power plants and industrial facilities will be one key method of reducing emissions, but a transition to renewables will become a necessary requirement rather than a desirable luxury in the coming years. Here’s why.
First and foremost, a transition to renewable energy makes sense in environmental terms. Even though new oil and gas reserves are being explored and extracted on a daily basis, the twin fossil fuels are highly polluting methods of energy generation that contaminate the planet and contribute to global warming, while coal is even worse. What’s more, all three are finite resources which will eventually run out, making a transition to renewables simply a matter of time. Those companies which anticipate the change and get ahead of the curve will stand to benefit in the long run.
With governments around the world conscious of the tacit commitments they made at Paris COP21, new pieces of legislation are entering into law which restrict and control how industrial organisations can operate. In the UK, for example, the Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) regulates the emissions of harmful pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and dust, as well as requiring all companies to measure their carbon output. Regulations like these are only set to become more commonplace in the future, so transitioning to renewables makes sense to comply with them.
As the costs involved in implementing, operating and maintaining renewable energy sources (such as photovoltaic panels and wind turbines) have steadily dropped, they have slowly become competitive with more traditional forms of energy generation. If that trend continues, it’s only a matter of time before switching to renewables will make fiscal sense as well as environmental sense, especially given that the price of fossil fuels can be highly volatile – the last 12 months are a lucid demonstration of that fact.
Safeguarding the planet has become more and more of a mainstream issue in recent years, with a recent Ofgem report finding that 81% of consumers in the UK are somewhat or very concerned about the issue. As such, businesses who enhance the green credentials of their company and position themselves as environmentally responsible will be able to market that move as an attractive USP to eco-conscious customers and open themselves up to new target audiences.
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