UK Awards Manager Mike Pepler shared some interesting trends and stats from his 11 years at Ashden.
Looking at renewable energy technology in the UK, he noted Ashden’s shift of focus from awarding installers of solar panels, wind turbines, biomass boilers and cavity wall insulation to new technologies like smart grid technology, and highlighted this year’s winner, Smarter Grid Solutions, as a key example.
Internationally, although Ashden continues to award the same technologies as we did a decade ago, there has been an improvement in technology, communications, and manufacturing processes. New themes have emerged too, paving the way for hi-tech winners like Infosys and Ecolibrium.
The amount of global renewable electricity now represents about a quarter of all electricity, but a rising demand in electricity has meant that electricity generated from fossil fuels has also grown, resulting in an increase of CO2 emissions from energy use.
Other trends include an increasing number of passenger kms flown, an increase in fracking in the USA and, on a more positive note, an increase in the number of electric cars. As for non-energy sources of greenhouse gas emissions, there has been a rise in meat consumption and cement production.
The Paris Agreement and the progress made on the Sustainable Development Goals offer cause for hope and represent an important step towards a widespread shift in values and behaviour – what Mike notes as a key challenge in the coming years.
Here’s a visual summary of his findings: