At GreenMatch, we like to keep ourselves updated on different renewable energy news, and we also aim to motivate and encourage readers to lead a more eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle.
With this aim, we shared interesting articles and useful resources regarding this topic, in each month in the previous year. We hope our monthly roundups were useful, and we helped you expand your knowledge on the topic of renewable energy and sustainability.
Going forward, this page will be updated regularly to give you the most relevant and valuable content regarding green energy.
Green Energy News
New research shows that for the first time ever, electricity produced by renewable energy sources provided more electricity to homeowners and businesses in the UK, than energy coming from fossil fuels, in the third quarter of the year.
It is quite a significant step towards a greener future for the UK energy sector. It is the first time since the introduction of power plants in the UK (1882), that energy from other resources surpasses fossil fuels energy production. In fact, British coal plants will shut down completely by 2025.
The research of the last quarter showed also that Wind Power is the strongest source of energy in the UK currently, bringing 20% of the energy. Biomass plants come right behind with 12%, and solar panels contributed 6%.
Back in the summer, Amazon was one of the 700 firms targeted ‘for not reporting environmental information’. For this reason, they have taken actions towards minimising carbon emissions, by announcing three renewable energy projects.
One of the projects is going to be a wind farm with a capacity of 50 megawatts, which will be situated in Scotland. It is expected to produce 168,000 MWh of energy each year. The two others are solar projects in North Carolina and Virginia. They are expected to produce 500,997 MWh per year and start producing this energy by 2021.
All the three facilities will provide energy to Amazon Webservices data centres.
Amazon’s director of Sustainability claimed that: “the firm was committed to minimising our carbon emissions and reaching 80% renewable energy use across the company by 2024”.
One of the biggest British groceries and general merchandise retailers Tesco, is teaming up with Green Investment Group, to install solar panel systems at many of their supermarkets across the country.
With this project, Tesco is aiming to generate 10% of its electricity needs onsite, and use 100% green electricity during the same period. As Jason Tarry, ROI CEO stated:
“Our supply chain and long term business sustainability depend on the health of the natural environment. Our customers and colleagues expect Tesco to play its part in caring for the planet. This project represents a major milestone in our journey to using 100% renewable energy by 2030”.
Power stations in Uk have recorded the lowest electricity output in decades despite the population being increased to over 8 million. This is a good sign for the nation as it shows the efficiency in energy use both in industries and in households.
Experts say that there could be multiple reasons for this, among which are efficiency in usage of electricity, energy-saving appliances, light bulbs and LEDs. One more reason could be the financial crisis that made households more efficient in their consumption of electricity.
European Union will receive 12 % share of global solar module market because of the removal of tariff on Chinese-made solar panels. European Union has lately been showing a lot of enthusiasm towards a renewable future. Spain has pledged to source 100% of its power from renewables by the year 2050.
“These claims are supported by the predictions that the EU is anticipated to make up 12% of the global solar module market share, and a number of member states including the Netherlands and Spain are set to exceed 1 GW in installed capacity next year.”
Renewable Energy News
Energy analysts wanted to find out just how much battery power is required to be able to exclusively rely on renewable energy in the cold dark months. By using energy production and power demand data, it showed how a 100& renewable energy grid that is powered by wind and solar energy would have significant stretches and a large volume of storage batteries are required to meet the necessary demand.
"You would need a lot more batteries in a lot more places," said Wade Schauer, a research director for Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, who co-wrote the report.
His analysis concluded that in order to go from 11 gigawatts today to 277.9 gigawatts in the grid regions that include New England, New York, Mid Atlantic, Midwest and parts of the South, they would need double the current forecast for energy storage nationwide in 2040.
Global oil major BP has published its annual Energy Outlook in February 2019 and predicted that renewable energy will be a dominant source of power generation globally by 2040. It also said that energy demand would increase by around a third driven mainly by rapid growth in Asia.
“The Outlook again brings into sharp focus just how fast the world’s energy systems are changing, and how the dual challenge of more energy with fewer emissions is framing the future,” said Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive, before adding his subtle caveat: “Meeting this challenge will undoubtedly require many forms of energy to play a role.”
A bunch of researches developed a software that analyses how kites and drones can be used in energy generation while transforming the kinetic energy of the wind into electrical energy that can be used. Airborne Wind Energy Systems (AWES) are a new kind of technology to harvest wind energy.
"AWES are disruptive technologies that operate at high altitudes and generate electrical energy," explains Gonzalo Sánchez Arriaga, Ramón y Cajal research fellow at the department of Bioengineering and Aerospace Engineering at the UC3M. "They combine well-known disciplines from electrical engineering and aeronautics, such as the design of electric machines, aeroelasticity and control, with novel and non-conventional disciplines related to drones and tether dynamics," he adds.
To increase the interest and purchases of clean energy resources, some of the biggest companies in the US have come together and formed a Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA).
This trade organisation is planning to support construction projects by striking renewable energy deals pioneered by companies like Google-parent Alphabet, General Motors, and Walmart.
REBA is working on empowering thousands of companies to buy renewable energy in the future. This resulted with many new deals last year, supporting nearly 16 gigawatts of new renewable energy capacity in the U.S. Their plan is to grow the market to 60 gigawatts by 2025.
In 2018, Costa Rica operated on renewables for 311 consecutive days. So far, it is the only country in the world that has been able to achieve this.
Though, this country has a geographic advantage due to the high concentration of rivers, dams, and volcanoes per capita, allowing for a high renewable energy output.
These are the five main resources of energy that are allowing for a high clean energy production:hydroelectric power (75%), geothermal power(15%), wind power (5%), solar power (4%), biomass power (1%).
Since purchasing the UK utility and broadband company FirstUtility, Shell announced that this week they will rebrand their new subsidiary and switch all of its existing customers' electricity from renewable resources.
All their electricity will come from green sources: wind, solar, and biofuels.
Shell Energy Chief Executive Officer Colin Crooks stated: “We are building on the disruptive nature of FirstUtility to give customers something better. We know that renewable electricity is important to them and we are delivering.”
Green Business News
In this article, you will learn what green/eco-friendly business is and what are the benefits of owning one. Furthermore, it suggests different practices and strategies for incorporating an element of sustainability to your business.
You will also read that green businesses are preferred among millennials and generation Z, and they are willing to pay the extra amount for sustainable offerings.
Furthermore, this article suggests 39 eco-friendly small business ideas for you. If you were considering opening a new business or transforming your existing business to a greener one, this article is right for you.
Global temperatures are currently the hottest they have ever been. Individuals and businesses carry a huge responsibility for this. In this article, you’ll find out how making positive green changes to your business practices can affect this.
The author suggested the following 7 reasons why to go green with your business:
- Better for the environment
- Meet (future) regulations (early)
- Improve brand image
- Match buyer mentality and expectations
- Enhanced customer fidelity
- Cuts costs
- Healthier workplace, happier employees
Although small steps toward a sustainable business are important, according to Benjamin Shabat, in order to have a greater impact on the environment, businesses need to take bigger steps.
In his article, you will read what change you can make by going green with your business, and suggests 5 different ways for this change to happen:
- Use renewable energy
- Go paper-free to reduce waste
- Work remotely to reduce emissions
- Track energy consumption with the IoT
- Consider going away with your storefront
- Exciting Ways Your Business Can Go Green
Like all the previous articles, this one also has a focus on the importance of making your business green. However, here you will read about some different ways to do it. The steps that are suggested are exciting and easy to follow:
- Conservation is key
- Managing waste
- Monitor your habits
- Go green, literally
Green Technology News
This article talks about green technologies that are occurring in 2019. Technology is constantly advancing and growing, and as a result, it affects different areas of our life. Green technology, in particular, has advanced to a remarkable degree.
Here are the 5 green technology trends that are noticeable this year:
- Solar products are becoming widespread
- Extension of the renewable industry creates jobs and cut prices
- Artificial intelligence improves microgrids
- Bringing clean energy to developing countries
- More states and districts commit to taking climate change
A study by the University of Minnesota reveals how much bike lanes and facilities have improved access to jobs in the US. The study was conducted from 2013 to 2017, analysing the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the US (by population).
It focused on accessibility, and the ability to reach your job in a given time using different means of transportation. The conclusion was that bike commuting is a cost-effective, healthy and sustainable alternative. Furthermore, investing in biking infrastructure is a more cost-effective solution than investments that support cars.
A new highly efficient solar cell layer has been developed by the researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, in Germany. This layer can be deposited in large areas and reaches record efficiencies in solar cells. Solar cells that are built with this layer in its foundation are called Perovskite solar cells.
Furthermore, if compared to the most predominant solar cells on the market, which are the silicone ones, the new type (Perovskite solar cells) is easier to produce and at a lower cost.
How do they function?
In order to gather energy, Perovskite solar cells have membranes that allow either electrons or holes to pass. Hence, in order to gather maximum energy, they need to be optimised with the new light-absorbing layer and charge carrier-selective layer.
Best Sustainable Travel Guides
This guide suggests 8 tips to become a green traveller. Since travelling contributes to environmental degradation, it is suggested that you make choices that will cause less damage to the environment. Follow these tips to make the changes:
- Support local businesses
- Respect the wildlife
- Take the train instead of a plane
- Hang your towels in hotels
- Take leftover toiletries with you
- Avoid stepping on corals
- Use reef-safe sunscreen
- BYO (Bring Your Own)
The number of people that take the opportunity to travel and see the world increases constantly. However, the authors of this guide state that with great travel comes great responsibility. To promote sustainable travel, they suggest:
- Operate in small groups
- Employ local tour guides
- Offer an alternative take on well-known attractions
- Promoting local food and wine vendors
- Using the latest technologies
- Giving back to the community
Furthermore, they asked their staff on some of the most popular Europian destinations on the changes they made to promote responsible tourism. These are some of their tips:
- “Reduce paper waste in Venice” - Riccardo Bettella
- “Take walks” - Amehd Camacho
- “ Thinking local first” - Anastasia Vasileiou
According to the authors behind this travel guide, “Tourism can provide essential economic, environmental, and socio-cultural benefits but when done unsustainably, and when it becomes too saturated, “overtourism” can result in increased pollution, human-wildlife conflicts and trafficking, depleted resources, unsustainable development, and exacerbate the negative impacts of climate change, especially in coastal towns and beach communities”.
To increase awareness of best practices while travelling, they suggest 9 blue habits for ocean-friendly travel:
- Choose responsible tour operators.
- Choose small group travel.
- Research lodging and location.
- Refuse plastic.
- Pack lightly and avoid travel-size toiletries.
- Use reef-safe sunscreen and biodegradable cosmetics.
- Eat locally, but sustainably.
- Choose environmentally-friendly transportation.
- Minimize water use.
In this guide, you will learn about what sustainable tourism is, and what the benefits of pursuing it are. Follow these 7 steps if you want to become a more responsible traveller:
- Read up on your destination
- Book carefully
- Spend your money locally
- Volunteer your time
- Add reusable water bottle and bag to your carry on.
- Walk, ride a bike, or take public transport.
- Choose animal attractions carefully.
The UK Government will invest £23 million to help businesses across the country with the development of electric car batteries. Investing in this sector will keep the UK at the forefront of the latest electric car technology development.
Different types of businesses were selected as the winners of the government’s Faraday Battery Challenge. From small designers to major car manufacturers, this challenge brings together leading academic and businesses, to speed up the research, and develop new car batteries.
According to researchers at the University of Birmingham, new trains that use only water as a source of power are planned to be on UK’s railroads by 2022. They call them “mini power stations on wheels”, and are the ‘greenest’ trains ever produced.
These hydrogen-fuelled trains are already in service in Germany, however, this design is not compatible with the rail network in the UK.
The first ‘green’ mosque has been opened in Cambridge. It is quite unique as it is built to operate at an almost zero carbon footprint. It has no minaret, and a call for prayer is not broadcasted outside the building. Its prayer hall can house 1000 worshippers and is eight metres high.
What makes this mosque eco-friendly are all the sustainable technologies used in the building process. For instance, it is harvesting rainwater on the roof, which is used to water the gardens and provide water for other purposes in the building. Furthermore, it is equipped with an air-source heat pump and solar panels for the production of electricity and heating.
Lastly, during the day, the mosque doesn't even use electricity at all, due to the structure of the building and the amount of light that enters through the walls and windows.
Best Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Podcasts
Summary: In this podcast, best friends Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus discuss different topics related to leading a simple, meaningful life. After many disappointments and going through hard times in their lives, they discovered a minimalist lifestyle - and everything changed. With more than 50 million downloads, the Minimalists podcast is one of the top podcasts of its category.
Episode Length: 60 - 90 minutes
Other Podcast Topics: Mindful, Digital Clutter, Habits, Excess, Minimal, Simple living, Buying, School.
Summary: A sustainable mind is a podcast created by the environmental enthusiast Marjorie Alexander, aiming to have a platform where she interviews everyday people that in some way contribute to making the planet a better place for us. The following six topics are covered in every interview:
Relationship with the environment as a child and adult.
Challenges along the journey for a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Personal sustainable habits.
Tips for making a change in the world.
Valuable resources to guide one to a more sustainable life.
Cool facts and concepts.
Episode Length: 30-60 minutes.
Other Podcast Topics: Activism, Education, Environment, Nature, Zero Waste, Family, Sustainable Food.
Summary: A podcast by Kestrel, conscious fashion expert, discussing the importance of the origin and making process of what we are wearing.
Episode Length: 30-60 min
Other Podcast Topics: The slow fashion scene in India, Sustainable Styling, Curating the Minimalist Wardrobe Shop, The Better Shop, Community over Competition, Progress over Perfection, A Healthy Wardrobe.
Summary: Natasha and Luka are the hosts of this podcast, covering topics around veganism and minimalist lifestyle. By sharing their experience on transforming their lives, they hope to inspire others to pursue a lifestyle in the same direction.
Episode Length: 30-90 min
Other Podcast Topics: How to deal with your non-vegan partner and children, Is eating animals a bad karma, Stepping into the Unknown, Making and Dealing with Change.
Summary: This is a podcast by Matthew Cutler-Welsh, who is on a mission to help people create better buildings by building better. In this podcast you will hear inspiring stories on sustainable homes, both told by the host, but also experts from the field. According to Matthew, a sustainable home should be ergonomic, economical, and ecological.
Episode Length: 30-60 min
Other Podcast Topics: New Zealand's First Passive House Cohousing Project, Building to Inspire and Nurture, How to have a Comfortable, Safe and Affordable Home, How to Build Your Own Tiny House?
Climate Change News
During the latest EU-China summit in Brussels on the 9th of April, the two parties committed to tackling climate change and promoting clean energy.
China, as the largest greenhouse gas emitter, is urged by Brussel to peak its domestic emissions earlier than 2030.
This collaboration emphasised the “importance of showing resolve on clean energy transition and of assuming greater leadership on the global environmental agenda”.
Furthermore, leaders agreed to reinforce cooperation on green finance and boosting renewables, switching to lower carbon fuels, as well as highlighting the importance of energy efficiency.
For the next summit on 23rd of September in New York, the UN chief is asking from leaders not to bring speeches, but specific action plans.
According to the area’s management authority, the World Heritage rainforest in Queensland has been damaged to the same degree as the level of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.
It has been reported that the forest is in a dangerous decline and some of its unique species are at the fast-approaching risk of extinction.
Last summer showed to be the hottest in history, with temperature soaring to 39C, threatening the life of lemuroid ringtail possum (and many other species), as they are unable to survive temperatures above 29C.
The board has outlined an action plan and calls for urgent action to help the threatened areas: “Our political leaders must explain how they will protect places like the wet tropics of Queensland by urgently cutting our climate pollution and showing global leadership to encourage other countries to do likewise. And they must explain how they will invest in building the resilience of our natural world so it is in the best condition possible to handle what warming is already in the system”.
Although the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars was originally planned to be implemented by 2040 in the UK, advisers say this could be achieved earlier.
According to the Committee on Climate Change, in 2024-5, the cost of electric cars will be similar to that of petrol or diesel vehicles. However, installing charging points might be challenging, if the increased demand of electric cars is to be met.
The government has been warned by the committee that the installation is going too slow. In response to that, according to a source (Department for transport), the government might consider bringing forward the date, and considering a new plan to subsidise charging points in people’s homes instead of public charging points across the country.
A study by the University of Florida predicts that climate change will expose millions of more people to mosquito-borne diseases in the coming decades, especially in Europe.
According to the scientists behind the study, as the world gets warmer, the mosquitoes that are known to thrive in warm climates will migrate towards the poles, and expose billions of new people to new threats. “By 2080, that number will increase to nearly a billion, under the worst-case scenario,” said R%yan, one of the researchers behind the study.
Furthermore, their predictions show that we will see poleward expansions into some of the densest populations in Europe for the first time, and this leads to rapid increases in novel exposure risks.
A research conducted by Deloitte says that more than 21 million electric vehicles are predicted to be sold every year by the end of next decade.
With the sales trends of electric vehicles doubling, this will be in parity with conventional vehicles thereby bringing down the costs. This demand is driven by consumers becoming more environmentally conscious, but also because of favourable government policies incentivising people to purchase EVs.
A recycling company in Scotland dealing with food and garden waste has changed the way we look at food waste. This innovative business has expanded into Northern England and is expanding soon in the entire UK.
The business is extracting economic and economic value from food waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill. They will add 150,000 tonnes of organic waste and turn it into compost and electricity every year.
UK power newtworks (UKPN) is launching trials to asses the requirements of a smart charging market for electric vehicles. The distribution network operator aims to reduce the demand of charging clusters of cars on local electricity infrastructure and keep energy bills lower.
"However, incentives from networks will not by themselves change people’s charging habits – it will need a mix of lower energy costs from retailers plus the reduced network cost incentives." - says Ian Cameron, Head of Innovation from UKPN.
By purchasing credits from schemes such as the Roundtable for Responsible Soy (RTRS), Aldi expects to replace the soy used in their animal feed with one that comes from deforestation-free sources.
Higher demand for meat has increased the soy demand as a feedstock, which is leading to deforestation in many parts of South America.
”Through working with our suppliers and industry stakeholders, we hope to help halt deforestation and protect these biodiversity-rich areas,” says the managing director of corporate responsibility at Aldi UK.