In 2010, China’s demand for energy exceeded that of any other country for the first time, even surpassing the energy consumption of the United States. BP’s 2011 Statistical Review of World Energy showed China as using a full 20.3 percent of last year’s global energy supply, reflecting a trend towards higher energy consumption in many emerging economies.
Though this macroeconomic news may seem far removed from your small business, these growing energy demands are shaping the modern energy market and the options available to your business. As industrializing economies play a larger role in determining global energy supply, how will your business be impacted and how can you adapt to meet market changes?
One of the most apparent changes resulting from rising global energy demands has been the increasing costs for traditional fossil fuels. Oil, coal, and natural gas remain the dominant source of power for almost all nations, though as fossil fuel energy becomes less economically viable, renewable energy alternatives have become more available to business consumers.
In the United States, growing awareness of the need for a secure energy supply, together with the deregulation of many energy markets (opening up regional markets to competition between energy suppliers), has led to a full suite of renewable energy packages being made available from various utility companies. These include packages that purchase only from specific, sustainable energy sources like hydrological, solar, or wind power. By participating, your business can help to invest in clean, secure energy initiatives, and as these existing alternatives continue to gain traction, their rates can be expected to continue to decline. To find out more about the energy supply options for your company, take a look through the Department of Energy’s guide for finding green power providers in your state.
But China has also had another significant impact on the global energy market by driving advancements in renewable energy technology. Photovoltaic (solar) technology has made dramatic improvements in its efficiency and its affordability in the past decade, with China as a world leader in renewable energy research and production. These lower costs for implementing renewable technology, coupled with the availability of many federal, state, and local discounts for adopting these technologies, make it a great time for your business to explore sustainable energy generation options for your business, whether it’s a solar panel on the roof or a geothermal system to reduce your winter heating costs. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) can be a great online starting point for determining the rebates, tax incentives, and other programs available to your business.
Whether your business owns its own facility and is ready to install a renewable energy system or your local utility alternatives include a green energy option, you have the opportunity to take control of your business’ energy future today. Moving away from traditional fossil fuel energy sources will help your business to operate more sustainably and to evolve with our quickly changing global energy market.