Renewables under attack

Renewables as percentage of total energy in EU

Renewables as percentage of total energy in EU


As the above graph shows of the EU 28 only the Netherlands, Malta and Luxembourg produce less of their total energy from renewables than Britain. Since the election the Tory government has made a concerted attack on renewables, energy efficiency or any effective action on Climate Change. The Zero Carbon Homes standard has been abandoned, the Green Deal was a shambles, the reduced road tax for low emission vehicles has been axed, and support for onshore wind and for solar power has been massively reduced while money is being pumped into fracking and offshore oil exploration. Globally the arc of history is trending firmly towards energy efficiency and renewables. Fossil-fuels are history. Investments in them will become stranded assets. Britain is going in the opposite direction from most other countries. In fact it is only England and Wales, as an independent Scotland under the SNP would pursue a much more Scandinavian socially egalitarian and renewables driven economy.

Nuclear power seemed to some people to be a necessary part of a low carbon economy just a few years ago. Some people still hold this view, yet even France, traditionally the most pro-nuclear country on Earth is now turning against nuclear in favour of renewables. The emerging way the electricity grid operates will be dominated by distributed renewables, powerfully interconnected and much more like the internet and the cloud than the old centralized grid. Baseload power stations like nuclear or coal are obsolete. What is needed is flexible, dynamic, nimble load balancing capacity which will take many forms including increasingly renewably generated gases, pumped storage hydro, distributed batteries and a range of other technologies best suited to fit with a wind and solar dominated grid. People used to believe that renewables could only provide a small percentage of electricity or the grid would be subject to instability, I recall figures as low as 7% being quoted many years ago. On the night of Thursday 9th July 2015 Denmark produced 140% of its total electricity from wind power, exporting the surplus to Germany, Norway and Sweden.

Huge numbers of British people want a modern efficient European renewables based economy, diametrically opposite to where this government is taking our country. Craig Bennett, the new CEO of Friends of the Earth, sees that organisation being forced into a much more confrontational relationship with governments than it has had for much of the last few decades. I tend to agree with him. This government really is beyond the pale!

I’ll be taking my message about the positive possibilities about what this country could be doing, and highlighting some of the really good stuff that is going on both in Britain and more especially elsewhere as humanity steps up to the challenge of Climate Change, and the myriad forms of pollution of which it is but one aspect. I’ve three talks coming up in and around Herefordshire in October, see the ‘Talks and Classes’ page of this website for details, or book me to come and give a talk in your town or village. Technologically and philosophically there is just so much we could be doing, and in some places are doing, to secure a better future.


France moves away from nuclear and towards renewables

Outdated Baseload

Danish wind

My talks