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Powering past coal: what this means for the renewable energy sector

View profile for Iain Hibbert
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At the One Planet summit in Paris earlier this month, French president Emmanuel Macron led a meeting of minds from 50 countries to discuss worldwide action against climate change ahead of 2020, the year the Paris Agreement is due to come into force.

One of the standout moments emerging from the summit was the joint announcement from the UK and Canadian governments, as they confirmed the Powering Past Coal Alliance – launched at the COP23 UN Climate Summit in November - has expanded significantly to now include 58 worldwide organisations, including a host of high profile businesses, utilities and investors.

The Powering Past Coal Alliance takes a united approach to accelerate clean growth and climate protection through the rapid phase-out of traditional coal power, and achieving that phase-out in a sustainable and economically inclusive way.

Phasing out coal power is a pragmatic and necessary step toward meeting the Paris Agreement, and by committing to powering its operations without coal, restricting financing to new coal-fired power stations and increasing support for clean power, there has been a significant worldwide leap towards financing cleaner energy choices.

The commitment to reduce coal-powered energy is a clear declaration of support to the renewable energy sector and the next stage of the ‘energy revolution’. Increasingly, clean power is becoming cheap power, with the costs of renewable electricity technology, such as wind and solar, falling dramatically in recent years.

This, in unison with rising oil prices and increased taxation on non-environmentally friendly entities - such as the proposed one-off tax on the sales of new diesel cars, for example - has resulted in a fresh new look at how we, from government to the general public, produce our energy and reduce our impact on the environment.

That being said, changes to subsidy levels over recent years have hit the sector hard, and in particular solar energy, but there are still opportunities for the ‘right’ projects. According to the Government’s own figures, solar power is expected to become the cheapest form of electricity generation sometime in the 2020s, meaning early investment could begin to reap dividends much sooner on both an environmental and a financial level.

If you are a landowner or developer and think we may be able to advise on an upcoming project, or you would like more information about the subject, our experienced team would be happy to speak to you.