What a start to the new month, energy monolith and one of the UK ‘Big 6’ energy companies E.ON announces it will focus on ‘renewables, distribution networks, and customer solutions…’. Smoke and Mirrors or the new reality biting? Well, clearly E.ON aren’t going to close and walk away from their traditional energy generation businesses, I’m sure plenty more coal will be burnt by these guys yet, but the announcement is significant. It shows that the world is entering a new energy reality. We just cannot burn the fossil fuel that is left in the ground if we want to survive as a species. This shows too, that even a corporate energy giant recognises that unless it changes it will follow the way of those other giants, the dinosaurs. I’m quite sure some energy firms will die, kicking and screaming, and burning our planet to their end, with their heads in the sand, denying both the scientific and economic reality of climate change and the need to urgently increase our capacity to generate and store renewable energies. But E.On see the new energy (and corporate) future, who will be next?

We’ve seen for some time in Germany that scaling up of renewable energy generation has impacted on the profitability of energy giants, RWE in particular suffering a 90% reduction in profits due to the reduction in wholesale energy prices. (see Bloomberg). The writing has been on the wall for some time, but with such vast reserves of cash the old energy and oil companies use tactics as dirty as their fossil fuels to fudge the truth and to propagate economic and scientific miss-truths. This then is significant. an energy giant grasping the new reality and seeing the enormous opportunity that renewable energy, decentralised power networks, and energy efficiency measures provide. They already state that this new E.ON will retain 40,000 employees in the new focus areas. Today I am a very happy man.

I’ve said it for some time, so forgive me the repeat, but since I first joined the renewable energy sector as director of an installer/EPC and got buffeted and blown by UK energy policy, that this quote from Ghandi is perfect for our sector. Indeed when I first told people I was starting an solar power business in 2007, they did quite literally laugh at me!!

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win!

We’re still very much at the ‘fight you’ stage, but I can see the beginning of the end. Significant organisations are divesting of fossil fuel investments, global banks are warning of the questionable ‘value’ of fossil fuel reserves, energy policies are moving towards clean energy (slowly), consumers and businesses are becoming more energy aware, oil prices at a huge low….

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays one and all.

David Hunt

Hyperion Executive Search work with manufacturers of renewable technologies, and project developers, to help find the best talent available across the UK and EMEA