Almost every way we make electricity today, except for the emerging renewable and nuclear, puts out CO2. And so, what we're going to have to do at a global scale, is create a new system. And so, we need energy miracles. Bill Gates
The human race has been tapping this valuable natural power source for centuries and its value has returned to prominence in recent times. Today's modern wind turbines continue to become more productive and powerful as they supply energy to the world. The UK is a country with a vast expanse of coastline. Offshore and onshore coastal locations are ideal for installing wind farms to harness the higher wind speeds found here. The UK is therefore very well placed to take full advantage of this source of renewable energy.
The European Union has set a non-negotiable target for 20% of its energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. In order to achieve this, wind power will need to account for a significant proportion. The wind power industry must attract a technically and commercially skilled work force in order to ensure it can deliver.
Water's potential to generate electricity is enormous, as the powerful kinetic energy of flowing water is used to rotate turbines and produce hydroelectricity. The UK is an island, making it one of the richest nations in Europe in its ability to exploit this source of renewable energy. Wave power is the transport of energy on the ocean wave, used to carry out multiple jobs like electricity generation, water desalination and pumping of water into reservoirs. There is great opportunity to meet the challenge of making wave power more commercially viable. Finding the right engineering and management talent will enable organisations to develop its potential and ensure the power of the wave makes a greater contribution to global energy supply.
The sun is the world’s most important source of energy. Its rays provide a limitless means of producing power. The amount of energy which can be harnessed from the sun’s radiation is often underestimated in Northern Europe. The UK, for example, receives a vast amount of solar energy – as much as 60% of that received on the equator in an average year. Photovoltaic cells harness this power, converting heat to energy and generating electricity. Using the sun’s abundant energy will help the world reach its goals of reducing consumption of conventional fuels thus reducing harmful greenhouse gas emission. Continuing investment in this field will be both cost-effective and help nations to secure fuel and energy security in the long-term. Future Executive Search’s expertise in the renewable energy market enables us to identify the skilled individuals essential to the solar energy industry.
Tidal energy is a form of hydropower used to generate electricity using the energy of the tides, through tidal stream generators and tidal barrages. This renewable source is not yet widely used to generate electricity, so there is huge potential for this as an energy resource of the future. With the current level of depletion of non-renewable resources, we will become more reliant on organisations who innovate in areas such as tidal energy, to overcome issues of high cost and limited availability to exploit its full commercial potential. Innovators in this form of power generation must employ well planned recruitment strategies to attract the right talent to ensure they succeed.
Geothermal energy is generated and stored in the earth. This clean and sustainable source of energy is found in shallow hot ground water, in hot rocks a few miles beneath the earth's surface and even deeper down in molten magma. Geothermal energy produces few emissions and unlike other sources of renewable energy, it is consistently available for use. Heat pumps exploit the warm ground temperature and use it to cool or heat buildings, or provide a source of hot water. Geothermal power plants convert hydrothermal liquids like hot water or steam accessed from deep wells to drive a turbine which then produces electricity. There is major potential to take greater advantage of this energy source which is ever present and beneath us all, with appropriately qualified and highly experienced individuals.
Energy from Waste
It is hoped that Europe’s Energy from Waste plants will produce US$3.6 billion of energy by 2016. The German market was worth US$998.3 million in 2009 and represented 76.8% of European output. The market in Germany has grown exponentially over the last 10 years driven by government policies and a supportive banking sector. The same policies are being introduced in other European countries, such as the UK & Italy. In the UK currently, 2.8 million tonnes (8%) of municipal waste are treated by energy from waste facilities. The Government’s Waste Strategy for England anticipates that activity will increase in the future, estimating that it will account for 25% of municipal waste treatment in England by 2020. Environmental considerations will ensure this source of energy remains high on the political agenda, so it is essential that high calibre staff are attracted and retained.
High capital and maintenance costs mean CHP is more often used by the industrial, commercial or public sectors, rather than individual domestic users. This integrated energy approach brings environmental, economic and social benefits by reducing carbon dioxide emissions, cutting energy costs for businesses and householders and helping to tackle fuel poverty with district heating schemes. Combined Heat and Power also lowers emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, reducing acid rain. There are many benefits to CHP resulting in the sector having a huge projected growth moving forward, and it must plan its workforce to meet this.
CCS is essentially a three-stage technology where CO2 is captured from large man-made emission sources, transported via a network of pipelines and stored in deep sub-surface geological formations. The capture process can potentially remove 90% of the CO2 generated from fossil fuel (coal, oil and gas) electricity generation and industrial processes (e.g. steel and concrete manufacturing). This could represent a mass of CO2 into the thousands of millions of tons. In order to prevent this large volume of CO2 reaching the atmosphere, it can be injected and safely stored in depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs, permeable underground rock or unmineable coal seams. As this issue takes increasing prominence on the global political stage, the worldwide market for carbon capture technologies continues to grow significantly and must ensure its recruitment strategy enables this.
Biomass is a renewable, low carbon fuel that is already widely and often economically available throughout the UK. Living or recently living organisms, such as plant matter, are converted to heat and electricity, usually by incineration. Its use brings both environmental and social benefits. Correctly managed, biomass is a sustainable fuel that could potentially deliver a significant reduction in net carbon emissions when compared with fossil fuels. The consultation on the Renewable Energy Strategy considers that around a third of the UK's overall 15% renewable energy target could come from this method by 2020. This specialist sector of the renewable energy industry must compete effectively for talented engineers and executives.