But we must do what we can to reduce demand for energy at the point of use. Business as usual simply doesn’t work in our energy futures. We must do more from less. This means improving the energy efficiency of our building stock through upgrades such as better insulation and energy-efficient appliances. Encouraging on-site generation will mean homes and businesses can supplement their energy needs by producing their own through things like rooftop solar panels. Combined heat and power facilities are a good example to illustrate this. Last year, TEEC invested in Spark Steam, a CHP provider in Teesside, which provides heat, power and CO₂ to APS Group, which supplies tomatoes to our major supermarkets, and is the country’s biggest domestic grower of tomatoes. The heat supplied to them by Spark Steam allows them to regulate the temperature and humidity to create the perfect growing environment in glass houses. In turn, by also using the CO₂, which would have otherwise been a waste product contributing to global warming, APS can increase crop yields by as much as 20%. Looking forward Governments have an important role to play by providing funding for projects and committing to long-term policies that encourage private sector investment in clean energy infrastructure,
reducing the risk for investors and developers. The public sector must set an agenda and engender an ecosystem in which the innovations and capital of the private sector can thrive to drive the mission to net zero. It is no surprise that private sector investment in clean energy technologies is rising and fuelling progress. More money flowed into clean infrastructure in 2021 than traditional infrastructure – of the $530 billion spent on all new generation capacity, 70% went to renewables. Furthermore, with returns on a renewable energy fund’s investment often contractually linked to inflation, they offer an attractive inflation hedge to institutional and retail investors alike. According to the IEA, rapid technological improvements and cost reductions mean a dollar spent on wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) deployment today results in four times more electricity than a dollar spent on the same technologies ten years ago. With greater investments in renewables, grids, storage, and other critical infrastructure across the energy matrix, we will see exponential improvements. And so, funds that take a holistic approach are key to supporting the UK’s transition to net zero.
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