A new report from the WWF indicates that by 2030 as much as 90% of the UK’s electricity could be produced by wind, solar, tidal and other sustainable sources. Energy prices are currently a major political issue in the UK with the 2020 targets meaning household bills would increase by 4%. However the WWF argues that prices could be reduced through better energy efficiency.
There are times when I really get frustrated with my home country. One moment, it appears we are exceeding our 2020 renewable energy targets, the next our love for gadgets is jeopardizing them. However the WWF’s latest report seems to indicate that the UK is resting on its laurels and that there is massive potential for the country’s energy supplies.
According to the report, between 60% and 90% of the nation’s electricity can be gathered from wind, solar, tidal and other sustainable sources. This figure would further be subsidized with the help of an international supergrid and gas power stations.
The WWF’s Positive Energy report not only trumpets greater energy efficiency, but unlike other reports it includes a continuation of renewable energy building after 2020. The energy scenarios at the core of the report were developed by GL Garrad Hassan, the world’s largest renewable energy consultancy and part of the GL Group. It states that in the highest renewables scenarios (90% of capacity), ambitious action on energy efficiency would reduce the capital costs of renewables, gas and supergrid interconnectors from £216bn to £170bn.
This unsurprisingly trumps the 45% target predicted by the government’s official advisers, but WWF points out that the build rates in its scenarios are actually lower than the government’s own forecasts in its national renewable energy action plan and significantly below industry projections on realistic build rates. The difference is that in WWF’s scenarios, rather than build rates falling rapidly after 2020, growth is maintained thanks to gas power.
“Developing a low-carbon and sustainable power sector in the UK is first and foremost a question of political will,” states the report. Not only would it create hundreds of thousands of jobs and new economic growth, but “investing in clean energy offers us a means to tackle the two most crucial market failures that now confront the world: the financial crisis and climate change.”
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to lead the greenest UK government ever, but considering there are plans to construct more nuclear power stations, this title is in doubt.
“This report is inspiring, but also entirely realistic. It shows that a clean, renewable energy future really is within our grasp,” said David Nussbaum, chief executive of WWF-UK speaking to The Guardian. “Failure to commit to a high-renewables future would leave us facing the prospect of dangerous levels of climate change and high energy prices.”
Via The Guardian