2015 was a ground breaking year for advances in renewable energy as billions was invested into wind and solar power and the UK was well on its way to reaching its 15% renewable energy target by 2020. Unfortunately, this is now being abandoned as the government pursues fracking and nuclear energy.
Renewable energy creates jobs and helps the economy grow and the UK has huge potential with over 8,000 miles of coastline and one of the windiest weather patterns in Europe. To allow for a zero carbon future the government needs to commit to and implement policies to protect and enhance investments in renewable energy.
Friends of the Earth supports renewable energy and wants to see more wind and solar farms being built across the UK. These sources of energy are completely renewable and produce next to no carbon dioxide emissions. Through a combination of renewable energy systems being put into place, Britian can meet its renewable energy target.
Why wind power?
- Electricity is produced as wind power,harnessed by the turbine powers electrical generators
- The price of onshore wind power is falling as wind turbines are becoming increasingly efficient and cheaper to build
- Data from the National Grid suggests that 11% of the UK’s energy mix was generated by wind in 2015
- They do not cause damage to the environment when being assembled or taken down
- They do not produce any greenhouse gas emissions
- The ground where they are placed can still be used for agriculture
- It is cheaper than coal, oil or gas
Why solar power?
- Electricity is produced by photovoltaic cells on solar panels converting sunlight directly into electricity
- Solar panels are usually placed on roofs meaning they do not take up any extra space and can be used in urban areas
- They do not generate any greenhouse gas emissions
- It is reliable and predictable- we have a constant supply of the suns energy
Being energy efficient is all about behaviour change and being more careful about how we use our energy.
It is important as it helps to reduce fuel bills (pushing people out of fuel poverty)
There are many ways homeowners/individuals and businesses can practice energy efficiency.
Here are some examples;
- Installing energy saving street lights (e.g. LED’s)
- Using hybrid/electric cars
- Switching to public transport, car sharing, cycling or walking
- Draught proofing windows and doors (e.g. By using draught excluders)
- Install an energy efficient boiler
- Have a smart meter installed- these measure how much energy you are using in real time so you can monitor your usage and know where to make changes and your energy supplier can install them for free