Recent news reports from the National Infrastructure Commission have said that the switch to renewables should happen sooner rather than later. It has been considered that taking this leap would be expensive, however the Commission believe that if it begins soon this would not be the case. Just a few years ago this kind of switch was not thought to be possible, but the industry has grown and changed so much over recent years that now, by 2030, half of all our power will come from renewables – a big jump from the current 30%.
The main concern:
The efforts to improve our homes and businesses will need to step up a gear to meet the UK’s targets regarding things such as insulation and double glazing. Also, more investments will need to be made into wind and solar projects as these are the low cost and most effective sources of renewable energy in the UK. In the report they state:
“If we act now, we have a golden opportunity to make our country greener and protect the money in the pockets of consumers long into the future – something few of us expected to be able to do.”
It is thought that over the coming years electric vehicles will have a major role to play in reducing emissions, with many Britons now choosing not to buy a diesel car when they renew their vehicle. A massive 34% of greenhouse gases come from car emissions. The report suggests that the government prepare to switch to electric vehicles by 2030 instead of the current plan to have half of all new cars being ultra-low emission. With charging points popping up in car parks everywhere, this could soon be a viable option – the report calls for more spaces to be used for charge points by 2020.
The biggest challenge:
This will be to find a way to deliver low carbon heating at an affordable cost which must happen for any targets to be met, as currently we still rely heavily on fossil fuels. The suggestion? Hydrogen gas powered heating has been suggested as an alternative to current fossil fuels as a cleaner fuel as it doesn’t create co2 when used, instead producing water vapour and heat, and its pretty efficient as fuels go too. If the switch was made, emissions could be cut by 73% – of course this would not be an easy solution as it would be a major task to change systems. Also, there is the issue of it being highly flammable, so a safe supply would be important and lastly, the process of making the hydrogen fuel can itself produce co2, so this needs to be factored in.
There are major energy changes coming our way, but they will need to happen swiftly to maximise the chances of meeting clean energy targets and minimise the chance of inflating prices.