In early October, England’s Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson established a plan of sourcing 100% of the country’s energy from emission-less sources. He hopes to reach carbon neutrality by 2035, increasing the demand for sustainable technological advances. Before examining the major societal and technological shifts necessary to achieving the goal, we must assess the UK’s drive for sustainability.
The Drive for Sustainability
Nearly 43% of England’s electricity source derived from fossil fuels in 2019. The energy sources release greenhouse gases into the environment during the combustion phase, creating adverse ecological and human health effects. The pollutants alter the atmosphere’s natural composition, hindering its ability to maintain life-sufficient temperatures of Earth’s surface.
Over time, the emissions raise the global temperature, creating a ripple effect of environmental degradation. The series increases agricultural limitations, water scarcity, forced migration and other biodiversity-minimizing impacts. The PM plans to reduce England’s greenhouse gas emissions production to enhance conservation and climate change prevention efforts.
Another driving factor enhancing the country’s reliance on renewable energy is human health protection. In high emission regions, individuals have a greater risk of developing asthma and other respiratory illnesses. More citizens also develop lung cancer in polluted areas, increasing the demand for emission-less energy sources.
Making the complete transition away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy requires significant technological and systematic changes. The UK can support its sustainable goal by improving battery storage systems, building a clean electric grid, adopting efficient devices and expanding offshore wind farms.
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Battery Storage Advancements
Solar is one of the most recognizable forms of renewable energy. It effectively converts non-depletable sunlight into electricity without producing emissions. Though many individuals invest in solar power, placing panels on their roofs, the technology has limitations.
Panels directly produce electricity from sunlight, immediately transferring the energy into one’s outlets. Store large quantities of solar power have created challenges within the industry. Environmental scientists and engineers studied the source’s limitations and developed sustainable solutions using hydrogen fuel cells.
Hydrogen is a renewable energy source, which professionals are using to expand the storage capacities of solar power. Solar energy feeds through an electrolyzer, splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The system stores hydrogen in tanks until the energy demand rises.
The technology transfers hydrogen into a fuel cell system during peak electricity hours, producing a stable energy source. Hydrogen can remain in storage for extended periods, helping production centers access enough power to support an entire grid.
If the UK adopts hydrogen storage technology, it can generate and store enough renewable electricity to support regional demands.
Building the Clean Electric Grid
The country must also convert all conventional, fossil-fuel-powered electric grids into clean energy systems. Professionals can follow the model produced in Monterey, California by Vistra ate Moss Landing. The company converted an old power plant into a renewable energy storage facility using large-scale battery power.
Professionals placed a 1,200 megawatt-hour lithium-ion battery in an abandoned smokestack, holding enough power to support the region’s peak-hour needs. Using established energy production space to produce and store renewable energy can help England effectively develop a sustainable grid system.
Adopting Compatible and Energy Efficient Tech
The UK must also transition away from fossil-fuel-reliant technology to support its 100% renewable energy goal. Maintaining a consistent power source requires energy-efficient devices. When our gadgets over-consume power, they may quickly deplete the supply, creating limitations.
Energy-efficient systems and appliances can heat and cool our homes, power our lighting and regulate our generated electricity consumption patterns. Individuals must additionally adopt electric vehicles to support the transition, fueling the transportation sector with emission-less energy. The country plans on advancing its production methods, producing enough power to support the carbon-neutrality goal.
Expanding Offshore Wind Farms
The PM hopes to achieve its 100% renewable energy objective by expanding wind power production. He plans on investing nearly £160 million into the offshore wind sector, minimizing interference with land use. Boris also expects the increased production rates to support 250,000 new green jobs, increasing job security while decreasing ecological degradation.
The Sustainable Impact on Society
UK residents can expect the renewable energy transition to affect their daily lives significantly. As emissions decrease, individuals’ health and well-being may improve, minimizing their risks for fatal illnesses. They can also anticipate a country-wide transition towards sustainable technology, ditching all fossil-fuel-reliant devices for electric versions.
Written by Shannon Flynn