GSM London Head of Department for Logistics and Operations Baba Sheba introduces Energy Futures Week (2016).
The inaugural GSM London’s Energy Futures Week (EF Week) last year was a success judging by the level of engagement from students. Around this time last year, GSM London welcomed many organisations within the Energy sector. Companies such as BP, Repsol, and many guest speakers delivered sessions at both our Greenwich and Greenford campuses. This year, the focus is on Renewable Energy – a type of energy that is generated through nature and as a result replenishes naturally (and at a fast rate). Examples include wind, solar, bioenergy, hydropower, and geothermal.
You might wonder: why renewables? – after all, students at GSM London are studying for a degree in oil and gas management. The reality is that students need to be well aware of developments that are changing the landscape of the world’s energy scene. The contributions of renewable energy to the clean energy sector within the past 15 years have been significant and current metrics indicates that the growth in renewable energy contribution to global power generation will rise by 4% between 2013 and 2020 i.e. from 22% to 26% (International Energy Agency, 2015) – this is a huge shift in just a few years. Also, let not forget that renewable energy is changing the landscape of the transportation sector just as much as it is changing power generation.
Renewables is gradually becoming big business and as a student, you must pay attention to this. The sector has governmental support in both emerging and developed economies. The drive for the world to pay more attention to the world’s climate conditions, evident through the recent global climate change agreement in Paris which essentially asks nations to ensure that global temperature rise is kept below 2.0C above pre-industrial times and to also limit human-induced greenhouse emissions to the levels that trees, soils and oceans can naturally absorb (BBC, 2015). The agreement also urges nations to switch to renewable energy. All of the above will not happen overnight of course and will take a very long time.
What we are beginning to see is growth in the renewables sector – six major renewable energy funds in the UK currently yield between 5.5% and 7% (Palin, 2015) although all is not as rosy at it seems. Venturing into renewables is still a costly business for many companies – BP is one of the companies that have considerably reduced its investments in low-carbon and green energy to focus on the profit generating fossil fuel business. Current lower costs of crude oil are also a factor in many of these decisions.
This is why the 2016 Energy Futures Week at GSM London seek to give students a strong exposure to the renewable energy business. The week is packed with a number of activities which include visitations by oil, gas and and energy companies to both our Greenwich and Greenford campuses in London, as well as off-campus trips for some of our students.