The switch to renewable energy has long been envisaged to be an expensive one. But a revolution is on the horizon.
New analysis has revealed the cost of solar power is decreasing that rapidly, it’s now a cheaper alternative to coal. The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) report says “if the transition begins now, changes to the energy system could tackle greenhouse gas pollution without hitting consumer’s pockets”.
Scientists predict that investment in green infrastructure projects will reduce the cost of energy, with technological improvements that have led to a rapid fall in the cost of renewable energy in the last few years.
Now we’re not saying that it’s going to completely take the place fossil fuels tomorrow, but it’s most apparent that society’s warming to the idea of solar and wind power. And this is just the beginning.
In fact, 2017 was Britain’s greenest year yet, with twice as much electricity generated from wind as opposed to coal. The amount of electricity produced from solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectricity was enough to have powered the whole of Britain in 1958!
What’s the future picture?
EnAppSys, energy market analysis, has revealed the second quarter of 2018 saw an increase in UK energy being produced by renewable energy, which can be attributed to this summer being the fifth warmest on record with significantly higher winds than usual, and an increase in solar installations and offshore wind farms.
More specifically, the UK’s energy looked like this:
- 7% from gas-fired power stations
- 1% from renewables
- 5% from nuclear plants
- 3% from coal-fired power stations
- 4% of electricity imports
As we can see, gas remains to be the main source of the UK’s power, with coal only producing around 1% of the overall power generation due to increased carbon prices. With the UK striving to completely eradicate coal by 2025, we are in good stead to achieving it!
Source: Smarter Business
The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) report advises action to be taken sooner rather than later. Activities such as investing in low-cost renewable technologies, for example, wind and solar, are needed to ensure they serve at least half the UK’s generating capacity by 2030. £3.8 billion is required to improve the UK’s social housing stock to increase efficiencies such as installing loft insulation and double glazing.
Just this month, over half a million churches have made the switch to renewable energy in a bid to tackle climate change, including some of the most famous cathedrals in the country. Their average annual electricity bill is around £1,000, so UK churches are thought to have already diverted more than £5million from fossil fuels to clean energy.
A report published by McKinsey Energy Insights says that improvements and investment in renewable energy and electric vehicles will reduce CO2 production and eventually lead to a decline in emissions. What’s more, the data foresees that by 2020, electric vehicles will account for 3% of global car sales which will increase to 20% in 2030.
New polling has also revealed that over half the British public would install solar panels and home batteries to help fight climate change if there was more help from the government.
What are the benefits?
The main advantage of renewable energy is that it’s sustainable meaning it will never run out. What’s more, we aren’t reliant on other countries for energy sources.
The cost of renewable energy is dependent on the total money spent on the infrastructure which means more steady prices when bulk energy comes from renewable sources. Moreover, it has a significantly lower cost of maintenance than traditional generators.
Renewable energy significantly reduces our carbon footprint compared to fossil fuel sources that produce CO2 and other toxic greenhouse gases as it produces almost no waste products.
What are the drawbacks?
With all its success, let’s not forget the lack of reliability of the supply – it’s highly reliant on the weather. Solar power is only generated when the sun is shining and wind turbines turn on a windy day, so this poses a lack of ability to be powered on demand. This opens a whole new can of worms, to seek new, more efficient ways to store surplus energy and distribute it at a later date when required.
Summer 2018 may have benefitted sonar panels, but due to high pressure suppressing windy conditions, wind farms have suffered this season. Turbine blades were sat for idle for days as a result of the wind draught.
Renewable energy may be cheap to maintain but it’s expensive to develop renewable energy stations, from research to manufacturing. Likewise, you need space available to build wind farms, and that poses the risk of nearby residents campaigning due to visual pollution.
Upon reflection, the pros most definitely outweigh the cons. As non-renewable energy sources begin to diminish, it’s evident the negative effect fossil fuels have on our planet which emphasises the importance of making the switch to renewable to save our future generations.
Though we may not be in a position to make the transformation any time soon, getting a significant portion of our daily energy needs from such sources will certainly have a positive impact on our economy and our planet.
Want to contribute to a greener planet? Smart meters are part of the government initiative to help reduce carbon emissions throughout the UK. They are for both domestic and business customers looking to ease the burden of energy bills and help monitor the usage and costs. Whether you require a smart gas meter or electricity meter, Crown Energy are experts in the installation, removal, and relocation.
Call us today on 0161 549 8454 to find out how we can help.