The Church of England is threatening to pull polluting companies’ stocks from its £12 billion investment pot

Ever since the Deepwater Horizon disaster public opinion of fossil fuel companies has cooled dramatically. Many investors have chosen to divest from traditional fuel companies and direct their money towards more ethical organisations. In recent months a policy change in the UK allowed pension fund trustees to divest from fossil fuels and invest their money elsewhere. Previously this was disallowed if it meant jeopardising the chance of getting the best returns for the beneficiaries of the fund. This reflects a growing sentiment of disdain towards fossil fuel companies.

Now, firms responsible for polluting the earth could be struck from the Church of England’s investment portfolio in the next five years. This will hopefully act as an incentive for these companies to pull their weight in the battle against climate change. The Church of England currently has an investment pot of £12 billion.

A meeting that took place last weekend saw senior officials discuss a plan to sell stakes in fossil fuel companies unless they can show tangible evidence that they are taking the fight against climate change seriously.

The biggest church organisation in the UK voted almost unanimously to carry out the action. This called for firms to ensure their strategies match up with the Paris Agreement, designed to cap global temperature rises to below 2 degrees Celsius.

On the Church of England’s website, the institution stated that doing their bit to stop climate change is part of a greater plan and is an essential part of its commitment to protect God’s wonderful creation: planet Earth. In 2015 tar sands oil and coal were blacklisted from the church’s potential investments.

In an annual investment report, the Church Commissioners claimed that by the end of 2017 its portfolio was notably lacking oil and gas stocks and that this type of investment comprised less than 4.5% of the entire portfolio.
Altogether, the vote to move forward with this action is going to affect a huge amount of money. The Financial Times said that the Church of England is sitting on an £8.3 billion investment pot, £2.3 billion retirement fund and £2 billion worth of separate invested funds.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and principal leader of the Church of England spoke last week at the London Stock Exchange. As he addressed the public at large he explained that the threat of climate change is not something to ignore. He stated firmly that this is a problem for the entire global community in a way that nothing has even been before. Welby speaks wise words – if the world does not act now, there will be precious little left for the next generations to enjoy.

Welby went on to say that businesses should be motivated to do their bit in the anti-climate change revolution. He said that the risk to businesses was “incalculable” and that there is no way at all to tell how changes in temperature might affect global markets.

The Church of England is threatening to pull polluting companies’ stocks from its £12 billion investment pot

Ever since the Deepwater Horizon disaster public opinion of fossil fuel companies has cooled dramatically. Many investors have chosen to divest from traditional fuel companies and direct their money towards more ethical organisations. In recent months a policy change in the UK allowed pension fund trustees to divest from fossil fuels and invest their money elsewhere. Previously this was disallowed if it meant jeopardising the chance of getting the best returns for the beneficiaries of the fund. This reflects a growing sentiment of disdain towards fossil fuel companies.

Now, firms responsible for polluting the earth could be struck from the Church of England’s investment portfolio in the next five years. This will hopefully act as an incentive for these companies to pull their weight in the battle against climate change. The Church of England currently has an investment pot of £12 billion.

A meeting that took place last weekend saw senior officials discuss a plan to sell stakes in fossil fuel companies unless they can show tangible evidence that they are taking the fight against climate change seriously.

The biggest church organisation in the UK voted almost unanimously to carry out the action. This called for firms to ensure their strategies match up with the Paris Agreement, designed to cap global temperature rises to below 2 degrees Celsius.

On the Church of England’s website, the institution stated that doing their bit to stop climate change is part of a greater plan and is an essential part of its commitment to protect God’s wonderful creation: planet Earth. In 2015 tar sands oil and coal were blacklisted from the church’s potential investments.

In an annual investment report, the Church Commissioners claimed that by the end of 2017 its portfolio was notably lacking oil and gas stocks and that this type of investment comprised less than 4.5% of the entire portfolio.

Altogether, the vote to move forward with this action is going to affect a huge amount of money. The Financial Times said that the Church of England is sitting on an £8.3 billion investment pot, £2.3 billion retirement fund and £2 billion worth of separate invested funds.

Solar Power Records Weekly High Thanks to UK Heatwave

The recent spell of hot weather saw solar power overtake gas as the UK’s primary source of energy. In fact, thanks to the heatwave, solar power broke several generation-related records and became, for a small amount of time, the UK’s top source of electricity. Looks like sunshine is good for more than just a tan.

This comes as welcome news in the wake of what has been a relatively slow year for solar installations. The number of new solar installations has all but flatlined over the past year but this run of mostly cloudless days has proved perfect conditions for high power generation in this sector.

Between the 21st and 28th of June solar power generation broke the record for weekly output. The energy source produced 533 gigawatt hours of power. Within that week long period, solar generated over 75 GWh on five of the seven days, which was another record in itself. Yet another record was broken when solar output hit a high of over 8 GW for eight days straight.

While the records will not create any lasting impact and are mostly symbolic, it shows how far solar power and its related technology have come in the past few years. In recent days we have seen a return to the norm as gas and nuclear have generated the bulk of our power.

Duncan Burt, director of system operations at National Grid, said: “During the past 12 months alone, we have seen renewable generation records broken and we expect this trend to continue, as technology advances and we find new ways to accommodate and manage more wind and solar power on our network.”

On Saturday afternoon, for a total of about an hour, the solar panels peppering the country’s fields and rooftops constituted the number one source of electricity. It contributed over 27% to the energy mix. It must be noted, however, that to date solar power only comes top at the weekends when the demand for power is lower.

On May 14th, earlier this year, the record for peak solar generation was set at a whopping 9.42 GW. This is promising news for a country with ambitions to transition fully to renewables over the course of the next couple of decades. However, the solar capacity by the end of May this year was 12.8 GW, which is only 1.6% more than it was last May.

Unfortunately, this might be the last spike in solar power we see any time soon as solar records are predicted to slow down. Subsidy cuts have seen growth peter out and the incentives in place for householders to put panels on their roofs are going to expire next year. Right now, there is no indication that a replacement scheme will be implemented.

However, it is not all doom and gloom. Some developers believe that by going large, they will be able to build solar projects without subsidies.

Hive Energy spoke to an industry audience last week and announced that thanks to improvements in technology, its planned solar farm in Kent is likely to have around 14% more capacity than originally anticipated.

The Cleve Hill scheme is predicted to have a capacity of as much as 400MW, which would completely overshadow the UK’s current largest solar farm, which is located in Wales and has a capacity of 72.2MW.

Dr Alastair Buckley, a solar expert at the University of Sheffield, said: “This marks the start of subsidy-free solar being economically viable, and I genuinely believe we’ll see bigger changes to the electricity sector in the next 10 years than we’ve seen in the past 10.”

Top 5 Colleges to Study Renewable Energy as a Postgraduate in the USA

More than ever, the world is focusing its attention on renewable energy. Renewable targets are springing up across the world and countries are making a serious effort to reach them by transitioning away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass etc. Never has there been a better time to get your knowledge of renewables up to scratch and join the expanding workforce that is setting the ball in motion for huge, global changes.

By 2020 it is estimated that China will have invested £300 billion in renewable energy. That’s just one country! This shows just how important the arena is and how seriously people are taking it.

Nowadays, the job market is fiercely competitive and a lot of people are actually over-qualified for the jobs they are in. Everyone has a bachelor’s degree so you need something that will make you stand out. Studying energy as a postgraduate course will get you one step ahead of everyone else and show that you mean business.

Are you thinking about studying renewable energy as a postgraduate degree? Here are five of the best colleges in the USA for this subject.

Oregon Institute of Technology

This might not be one of the big US names you’re used to hearing but the Oregon Institute of Technology is one of the foremost colleges in the country when it comes to renewable energy. Currently, the college offers a four year undergraduate degree as well as a master of science in renewable energy engineering. The course’s modules look at solar, wind, energy management and a variety of other topics.

University of California Berkeley

Berkeley is well known around the world for the quality of its education. It currently offers a market leading MBA in energy and clean technology, which is targeted at individuals in business and public policy and aims to equip them with the skills they need to address pressing energy-related issues. The university also has a Renewable Energy Speaker series, which will be of interest to anyone studying the topic.

University of Michigan

This university has its very own energy institute that offers masters courses in energy systems engineering and in sustainable systems. The course provides a wealth of information to students and prepares them for the energy and environmental challenges the future generations are going to face. The ultimate goal is for graduates to be capable of engineering systems that are sustainable economically, socially and environmentally.

Stanford

Stanford offers both masters degrees and professional certificate programs in renewable energy. The certificates have been specifically designed for working professionals who do not have the time to complete a full degree but would nevertheless like to broaden their understanding of the renewable energy sector. The certificates take between one and two years to complete are available online to give students maximum flexibility with their learning.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

It comes as no surprise that the world famous MIT makes it on to this list. While the college has a specific energy minor that students can read, it takes a more full-on approach than just that. At MIT, professors believe that energy permeates all aspects of modern life. Because of this, energy is taught across all disciplines, departments and programs. Energy research into renewable systems and environmental challenges form part of MIT’s exciting energy programs.

The 4 Most Powerful People in Clean Energy

The world of energy is changing at an incredible rate. Every day more and more technology is developed that will aid the world transition away from traditional fossil fuels and over to renewable energy. It is a huge shift that needs to be undergone but it is happening, slowly but surely. Electric vehicles are becoming more mainstream, huge amounts of money are being invested into clean energy, and countries are setting ambitious emissions targets. The ball is rolling.

But, no revolution can gain momentum without some leaders at its helm, guiding the way. The renewable revolution is no different. It has some seriously impressive people at its helm. Various scientists, innovators and politicians have all come forward to show their support for the movement, but some are making more of an effort than others. Here are the most powerful people in clean energy right now and what they are doing to help the world fight climate change.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is not just one of the most powerful people in renewable energy but he is one of the most impressive individuals on the planet. The brains behind Tesla, SpaceX and Solar City, it seems like everything the man touches turns to gold – and the clean energy space is no exception. Musk has been a key player in the development of electric vehicles. In fact, Tesla’s model 3 is one of the most affordable electric vehicles on the market right now. He has huge plans for the future and could be pivotal to the renewables revolution.

Bill Gates

You might associate Bill Gates more with technology than energy, but the truth is that these two sectors are interlinked and the uber-successful philanthropist has his hands in both pies. In recent years, Gates has made it clear that he is willing to pour his fortune into making the world more sustainable. He is part of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, along with Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson. He is also behind Mission Innovation, a pact between ten countries to pump more money into clean energy projects.

James Dehlsen

Compared with the first two behemoths on this list, Dehlsen might seem somewhat out of place. In fact, you’ve probably never even heard of him. But, Dehlsen has done incredible things for the renewable energy sector and has made an impact on the wind power scene. In 1980 he created Zond, a wind power developer that is now GE Wind Energy. His contributions to the US energy sector did not go unnoticed as he was inducted into the National Environmental Hall of Fame in 2008.

Steven Chu

You might remember Chu from his days as the U.S. Secretary of Energy under the Obama administration. If not, you might know him as the guy who co-won the Nobel Prize for physics. Either way, you really should know who he is. Chu has long been a very vocal advocate of renewable energy and his research has made him one of the preeminent figures in this arena. Since resigning as Secretary of Energy, Chu has worked on various renewable energy projects and continues to do his bit in the battle against climate change.

The Alternative Energy Sources of the Future

Solar and wind seem to be all everyone can talk about when it comes to renewable energy. Little do people know that these two energy sources have only made a small dent in the energy mix so far. However, as costs continue to come down and more people understand the benefit of adopting green energy technology, solar and wind will rise to greater heights.

However, if we really want to make fossil fuels a thing of the past we are going to need to be more innovative. This means thinking outside of the box and looking at other ways we can generate energy. Luckily, we do not need to pin all our hopes on solar and wind. There are several other ways to generate energy and a group of scientists have come up with some potentially excellent alternative energy sources. Some of them might seem like a long shot, but anything is worth a try, right?

Space Solar

Not all of the solar energy emitted by the sun actually makes it into the Earth’s atmosphere. In fact, most of it stays out in space. So, space-based solar power generation makes a lot of sense. The main challenge for this energy source is the cost of getting a generator out into space and then bringing the energy back to earth.

Human Power

There are billions of people on this planet and they move around all the time. Scientists have long thought about harnessing the energy that could be generated simply by people going about their daily lives. This would be the ultimate renewable energy source.

Tidal Power

Tidal Power is growing in popularity in a number of countries. While some are making it a viable energy source, there is still a long way to go in most nations. However, the full potential of tidal power is enormous. The US alone has the capacity to generate over 250 billion KWh per year.

Hydrogen Power

Hydrogen counts for 74% of the mass of the entire universe so if this can be turned into energy it is good news for the planet. Unfortunately, hydrogen is usually found fused with other atoms, such as oxygen, carbon and nitrogen. To separate these atoms you require energy, so the process could end up being counter-productive. This one needs more research and development.

Magma Power

We all know that the centre of the Earth is extremely hot, so why not try and turn this into energy, If magma could be tapped for geothermal heat we would have another viable alternative energy source. Scientists in Iceland are currently looking in to the possibility of this.

Nuclear Waste

When nuclear fission takes place in a nuclear reactor only around 5% of the uranium atoms are actually used, the rest simply becomes nuclear waste. This then sits in storage for thousands of year as it breaks down. There is a lot of talk right now in the energy community about using these leftovers to generate energy.

Algae Power

Who would have thought that this little pond plant would be capable of generating energy? Algae grows all over the place and could produce serious amount of energy if we were capable of harnessing its full potential.

Top 4 Countries in EU for Renewable Energy

We all know how important it is to protect the environment. The Paris Agreement alone showed us not only the significance of keeping climate change under control, but also the concerted effort the world is willing to make to save itself. While there are a number of different ways we can reduce our carbon emissions and combat global warming, obtaining energy from renewable sources is the best and most effective way to make an impact.

Across the globe, countries are pouring financial and human resources into research and development of new renewable technologies. Countries have been setting themselves impressive targets for renewable energy usage and it seems almost like nations are competing with one another to be the most green. This is a competition where there are no losers – the greener the country, the better it is for the world as a whole. We should all be getting behind this drive for more renewables.

In the EU, there are some serious movers and shakers that are doing impressive things in the renewables sphere. Here is what the five most pioneering countries are doing to save our planet from climate change.

Sweden

There seems to be no limit as to what the Scandinavians are capable of. Progressive, liberal, and setting the bar high for the rest of Europe, Sweden is showing just how far they can go in their drive for a greener nation. Well over 50% of the country’s energy mix is sourced from renewables and this figure looks set to carry on rising. In fact, Sweden has announced that it wants to be the first country in the world to be completely fossil fuel free. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for this impressive nation.

Finland

Finland has been outstanding with regards to its effort towards fighting climate change. The nation obtains around 40% of its energy from renewable sources, with a particular focus on ground heat, hydropower, bioenergy and wind power. For Finland, in particular, a drive for more renewables in its energy mix is essential due to the Arctic conditions much of the country faces. The need for heat is present for over half of the year and the country needs to find a way to sustainably provide this for its citizens.

Latvia

Latvia sits at third place in the rankings for which countries use the highest percentage of renewable energy. Currently Latvia uses 37.6% renewable energy – an astonishing amount by EU standards, especially given that the target for the EU as a whole is only 20%. Latvia has reached this figure thanks to its excellent hydropower capacity. We look forward to seeing Latvia add even more renewable energy to its mix and carry on fighting against climate change.

Austria

At number four we have Austria – a country that reached its 2020 goal set by an EU directive four years early, in 2016. At the moment, Austria is sourcing around 34% of its energy from renewables. Its main focus is on hydropower but it also has a huge wind capacity and is installing more and more solar panels every day. Austria’s investment in renewables is not only helping the planet, but, on a more local level, it is providing over 41,000 jobs. Win-win!

Top 4 Countries for a Career in Energy

Energy is quickly becoming one of the biggest industries in the world. Thanks to the development of new sustainable energies as well as an influx of new technologies, there are more jobs than ever in the energy sector. This means that there are an unprecedented number of exciting opportunities for people interested in the energy sphere. Whether its on-site maintenance and operations control or engineering back in the lab, there is a huge range of jobs and careers available. All you have to do is reach out and grab one.

Although coal and fossil fuels seem to be declining, there has been a huge spike in activity in solar, wind, tidal and biofuel energies, all of which need skilled workers on board to keep moving forward. If you think you have what it takes to prosper in the demanding but rewarding world of energy then you might want to start making plans now. The first thing you need to decide on is where on earth you should go to make the most out of such a career. Here are the world’s top countries for a career in energy.

USA

Despite Trump’s withdrawal from the Clean Energy Plan and the Paris Climate Accord, the USA is still doing incredible things in the energy industry. California, for example, is investing huge amounts of money and resources to reduce carbon emissions and make the state as green as possible. It might even become the first state to mandate the use of solar panels on new homes. Whether you are interested in renewable energy or want to get involved with fracking operations in the shale fields, there is an abundance of opportunities in the USA for young energy hopefuls.

China

China is a world leader when it comes to renewable energy, which is a huge relief given that it is home to a billion people. In fact, China accounts for around 31% of the world’s wind energy. Currently, China is the world’s number one investor in renewable energy technologies both at home and abroad and is on the look out for intelligent professionals to join its work force and help it maintain its position on this global platform.

Kenya

Formerly, Kenya had to import its electricity from neighbouring countries and that has caused issues with energy security in the country. Now, Kenya is putting all of its time and resources into generating its own energy using geothermal energy production. The energy sector in Kenya is still in its early stages, making it a great time for professionals to join the work force and help the nation develop its own energy mix from scratch. You will also benefit from endless sunshine and a change of scenery.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is hot right now in the energy world, which is great for people looking to move abroad to start their energy careers. Home to huge swathes of pristine rainforest, volcanoes, beaches and cities, the landscape of Costa Rica is as diverse as its energy mix. The country takes renewable energy very seriously and has set some impressive targets it hopes to meet. These include becoming completely carbon neutral by 2021. So far, good progress has been made and the country has already shown it can last for two whole months using nothing but renewable energy.

Too Few Women in Energy is Holding Back Battle Against Climate Change

Experts insist that the lack of female workers in energy firms is causing the move towards a cleaner future to slow down. This gender imbalance, explains Catherine Mitchell, a professor of energy policy at the University of Exeter, means that the energy industry is less open-minded and less willing to explore new ideas.

Mitchell continues her statement by targeting old white men as being a main source of the problem. She says that the industry is dominated by this demographic and that is slowing down the energy transition at a time when we cannot afford to be wasting a single second. Mitchell’s credentials are hugely impressive with over 30 years of experience advising governments, regulators and businesses on energy issues.

Next month, an energy conference is being hosted, which will include women-only panels designed to address the issue of low numbers of females working in the energy sector. Mitchell is helping to organise the event and is hopeful that allowing these women to get together and speak will be helpful in pushing the energy industry towards better gender equality.

Of course, it is not a hard and fast rule that women are more progressive than men when it comes to energy. However, there is evidence that the conventional parts of the industry – fossil fuel power generation for example – are far more male dominated than more innovative, green companies.

Mitchell warns of the dangers Britain will face if it does not get its act together and start moving in the right direction – towards a fully renewable energy network. She believes that old-fashioned attitudes will be fatal to the movement if we don’t check them.

It is not just Mitchell that takes this stance on the lack of women in the energy sector. Juliet Davenport, chief executive of Good Energy said that there was certainly some weight behind the argument. She noted that the energy sector is trailing behind other industries when it comes to workplace diversity. She also pointed out that sustainable energy businesses have a much better balance, leading to the plausible conclusion that better diversity means a more concerted effort in the right direction.

Of the 89 top energy companies in the UK, it is an appalling fact that around two thirds do not have a single woman sitting on their board. Meanwhile, at energy industry events, it is not unusual to see panels filled exclusively with men, or featuring just one woman.

The idea of being the only woman in the room can be understandably intimidating and this alone can put women off working in the energy sector. One female executive said she has been in this position before at a meeting with an influential male government adviser.

Furthermore, the energy industry is no stranger to sexual harassment – nor is any male-dominated sector for that matter. Tales of groping and other misbehaviours are alarmingly frequent. And, if it’s not sexual harassment, it is awkward faux pas that make women feel uncomfortable. One female partner at an energy storage consultancy recounted a tale of how she was asked for a coffee refill after being mistaken as a member of the catering team.

However, there is hope for the energy industry yet. The big six lobby group Energy UK has put an end to male-only panels at its events. It believes that this will help the energy industry in its transition towards a better gender balance.

Practice makes perfect: How proper preparation for psychometric reasoning tests can help you land your dream job.

To find out more about this topic, please visit: practicereasoningtests.com

Psychometric reasoning tests are becoming an increasingly common part of the job application process, and the chances are that you will have already had to complete reasoning tests at some point in the past. The reason for their continuing popularity is two-fold. Firstly, they are a really effective way of working out whether someone has the intellectual ability to successfully complete the job. Secondly, they are a cheap and effective way of screening out large numbers of candidates.

How are psychometric tests used?

Best practice psychometric reasoning tests identify a level of ability that is necessary for success in the role, and then set this performance level as a baseline that candidates must achieve in order to progress in the selection process. This baseline will vary from job to job; for example, if a role requires a high level of problem solving and the candidate must be able to understand and respond to novel situations, then the recruiter is likely to require a high level of performance on an Abstract Reasoning Test. This is common in leadership or programmer roles. Alternatively, if a job requires the candidates to be able to understand basic written and numerical information, then the recruiter is likely to set a fairly low level of performance on Numerical and Verbal Reasoning Tests as the required standard. This is often seen in customer service roles for example.

How to perform at your best in psychometric tests

Many people dislike psychometric tests because they see them as difficult, pointless and impersonal. They feel that if they could just get in front of an actual employer they could convince them that they are the right candidate for the role. However, psychometric tests are here to stay and it is important that you are able to successfully complete them. They are designed to be challenging and distinguish between the ability levels of candidates so developing skill in passing these tests is critical for your future career success.

There are a number of activities that are particularly useful when preparing for psychometric tests: