The United Kingdom has been criticised in recent years for not effectively reaching their targets for renewable energy, in accordance with the Paris agreement; however, Great Britain seems to be making a huge switch towards green energy. Not only have 100% renewable energy tariffs begun to take off in a big way, but with the recently announced 2040 petrol car ban, the renewable infrastructure is set to see a huge upgrade. Read through this article and find out some of the ways in which Great Britain has set its statement about becoming one of the world leaders in renewable energy.
Wind energy is the key
The United Kingdom is ‘blessed’, if that’s what you want to call it, with high levels of constant wind. Scotland in particular has seen the biggest investment across the UK in terms of wind energy, generating enough to power 136% of the country’s household demand in March 2017. That said, however, because Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, it shares its generation with the other three composite members.
The UK is considered the most optimal place in Europe for wind energy and one of the best in the world. In order for Great Britain to become world leaders in renewables, wind energy needs to be fully exploited to earn this position. At present, despite its optimal conditions, is still only the sixth largest producer, with Germany and Spain both besting the Brits.
Earlier this year, wind energy took over coal for the first time in history. In January, Great Britain was running on an average of 11.5% wind energy as opposed to coal’s 9.2%.
Is nuclear really renewable?
Technically nuclear is not renewable due to uranium’s status as a finite material; however, the environmental effects caused by nuclear generation are much much lower than traditional fossil fuels. Using nuclear is much cheaper than standard renewables, so while many of the supply companies across Britain still have their sights set on profits, renewables will still continue on its incremental growth path, where nuclear is set to replace fossil fuel generation completely in the coming years.
Some supply companies, like EDF Energy, are marketing themselves as low-carbon suppliers, which is true in a technical sense, but is only helping short term. While they have a much lower carbon impact than most suppliers on the market, they primarily use nuclear energy in their tariffs, which is not a sustainable solution to our global energy crisis.
The 2040 petrol car ban
This announcement came as a great shock to a majority part of the British public, stating that after 2040 the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars will be completely banned. This means that after this point, all cars will be running purely on electricity. Obviously this is a great step for the environment, but a great burden on the national grid . In order to meet the demands of this new legislation, the renewable energy infrastructure in the UK is going to have to increase massively.
The whole point of this is to improve air quality and environmental conditions. As such, the solution is not to destroy the earth further by increasing the amount of fossil fuels we consume. In addition, due to their limited existence, doing so would only speed up their extinction. Being this the case, renewable energy is going to have to match the demand that will, inevitably begin increasing as of the announcement.
Renewable energy tariffs
In a bid to increase the amount of renewable energy in circulation around Great Britain, many suppliers have started to offer a 100% renewable tariff . The supply you receive doesn’t change, of course, but the amount of gas and electricity that is pumped into the grid will be reduced by the amount of energy that you use. If more people sign up for these tariffs, supply companies will be forced into investing more into renewables.
The only downside to this is that if renewable tariffs grow too quickly, they will begin to come at a premium if the infrastructure is not developed enough for it come cheaply. The growth we are seeing currently, however, is very healthy and is showing signs of approval from the general public.