Turbines Tree

Can The Government Meet Renewable Targets?

It has been an important week for renewable energy in the UK. The Government set out its plan to power the country with the new energy bill and, thankfully, renewable energy has a large role to play.

In amongst all the numbers of decarbonisation targets, energy budgets and renewable levels it is perhaps the perfect time to take a look at what this will mean for the consumer. Can the targets be met? And what is the long term vision for renewable energy in the UK?

What are the targets for renewable energy in the UK?

The Government has pledged to invest £7.6bn in the renewable energy sector. Most of this financial promise will be delivered between 2015-2020 as the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, admits this is what’s needed ‘to keep the lights on.’ Britain’s ageing energy industry needs an overhaul to bring about a sustainable future. Renewable has a large part to play with some ambitious targets.

It is hoped that by 2020 Northern Ireland could generate 40% of its power from alternative energy sources and Scotland could produce a staggering 100% of its energy from renewable sources. Overall, it is planned that 40% of all the UK’s electricity will be renewable energy.

Can renewable targets be met?

The current Government does appear to be committed to reaching these aims. In truth, if another Government was to be elected in the next election they would also strive for similar targets with Labour Leader Ed Miliband claiming his party could achieve higher levels of renewable energy. So there is support from the top and if the promised level of finance is delivered there is no reason renewable cannot grow to provide a big chunk of the energy we need.

For these goals to be met, however, would require overcoming certain challenges. The cost of taking power from a renewable energy source and putting it into the National Grid must come down. The price is currently too high and while that remains it will prove a hindrance to a long-term shift to renewable power.

There is also a need to invest in the right technology. The best technology needs to be placed in the best locations to maximise the generation of power. It is proposed that wind power will be the predominant source of green energy. As we know the wind doesn’t always blow and turbines run at a low efficiency. Therefore, energy generation needs to be maximised with the best locations and technology. For all forms of renewable energy the technology also needs to keep developing so we can make the most of the energy source. The mantra for renewable is quite aptly: make hay while the sun shines.

On the positive side, a boost to the renewable sector could play a large part in economic growth. It will create thousands of jobs and help a financial recovery so support for renewable energy should not dwindle. Renewable energy has the financial and public support, so if the hurdles can be overcome this energy bill should have real impetus. As always, though, time will tell.

What does this mean for the consumer?

Inevitably, the consumer will have to contribute to the cost of modernising the UK’s energy industry.

In tax and utility bills everyone will be contributing. Yet at least a shift towards to renewable is a shift towards a sustainable future.

Crucially, the increased energy bills could be a real motivator towards renewable energy. With bills ever-increasing there is even more incentive to invest in a microgeneration system for each household. Producing your own free electricity will save on the bills. It also means that more of the country’s power comes from a renewable source, helping towards those targets.

With a microgeneration system the public can grasp the initiative and do a bit to help as it is important to put these targets into context. These targets are just a figure to aim for by 2020. Yet these targets only feed the larger picture. We want renewable sources to provide as much power as possible. Safer and sustainable, renewable energy is simply the future. If as many people as possible have a microgeneration system the targets may not only be met but the idea of a fully renewable energy industry may move from the impossible into the realms of possibility.

Written by Michael Hallam

Leave a Reply

Download Our Free E-book

Ebook - 50 Energy Efficiency Measures