In the age of Internet and rapid globalisation, the famous “sharing is caring” is taking on new significance. Technology has allowed us to not only communicate, but also share resources like never before in history.
The sharing economy allows people to share their apartments, cars, power tools, and other physical assets when they don’t make a full use of them. Even though the concept has been criticised for having a negative effect for certain industries, the positive implications include convenience, job creation, and most importantly improved resource utilisation and environmental benefits. Is collaborative consumption the future of Britain’s energy economy?
What is the Sharing Economy?
The sharing economy, also known as the collaborative consumption, has been dynamically growing over the last couple of years. It describes a socio-economic system, built around the shared production, distribution and consumption of goods and services between people and organisations.
The concept is known most largely because of websites such as Airbnb and Uber, which enable peer-to-peer exchanges through technology. However, its potential has been recognised among numerous different branches, and its application can be noticed across all aspects of social and economic life – money lending, crowdfunding, coworking, knowledge sharing, and many more.
Sharing Economy as the Most Thriving Business Sector in UK
The sharing economy in the United Kingdom has grown the fastest in Europe, supported through government policies. Moreover, business models that aim at creating a positive environment for collaborative consumption, are predicted to expand at over 30% per year over the next 10 years. According to Ipsos Mori, 18.5 million Britons use sharing economy websites and apps on a daily basis.
As a pioneer in growth and innovation among European countries, UK hosts The Sharing Economy Conference on the 7th of June 2017. For the second time, London will become a hub for those interested in the current state of the market and future of the sharing economy.
How is the Collaborative Economy Impacting the Energy Sector?
The human footprint continues to expand, and finding the balance between using and conserving natural resources grows in importance together with increasing demand for water, fuel, land and food.
Conventional energy technologies don’t work with the environmental needs of our planet. Renewable energy solutions become a crucial element of reducing carbon emissions and our reliance on the planet’s limited resources.
The energy sector is going through a major shift driven by green energy solutions, and sharing economy is coming to power, enabling individuals and companies to become more independent from commercial distribution systems. Businesses have already recognised the power of collaborative consumption. Piclo, the first UK online market for renewable energy, came to its existence in 2015, allowing consumers and producers to trade energy directly. It’s a collaboration between Open Utility and green energy provider Good Energy.
Just like renting homes from each other on Airbnb, the sharing economy could be an early glimpse of the future of renewable energy solutions.