How Renewable Energy Technology Prevents Climate Change

The scientific journal Nature urges policy makers to “keep fossil fuels in the ground” if we are to have any hope of preventing dangerous levels of climate change.

climate change

Photo credit: MattysFlicks

Christophe McGlade and Paul Etkins of University College London have found that we must leave two thirds of our fossil fuel reserves in the ground if we are to have even a 50% chance of reaching our climate change targets. This is because fossil fuels that are extracted from the ground are inevitably burnt, increasing CO2 emissions and contributing to global warming.

What are the consequences of global warming?

Politicians worldwide have agreed that that a 2℃ is the safe limit for global warming. Yet currently we are on track for a 5 to 6℃ temperature rise by the year 2100. According to scientists, the result of a heated planet would be:

The destruction of coastal cities worldwide.
That the entire tropics would be uninhabitable, displacing millions.
The Arctic would be ice-free all year round.

It goes without saying that such a situation would be a disastrous for our children and our grandchildren. In order to prevent climate change on this scale, we must move away from our dependency on fossil fuels and embrace alternative energy technologies.

Does renewable energy technology offer a realistic alternative?

The most common criticism leveled against renewables is that they cannot possibly provide all of the electricity that a country needs. What if I told you that not only is it possible, but in fact it’s already been done.? Iceland, for instance, already sources 100% of its electricity renewably, as do Albania and Burundi. In fact, here’s a list of 45 countries that are already at least 60% powered by renewables.

The truth is that renewable energy technologies are both effective and affordable. Unlike fossil fuels or nuclear energy, solar panels, wind turbines and hydro electrics are safe for humankind, sustainable and socially responsible. If Albania can do it, why can’t we? We must act now to adopt alternative energy consumption and avoid disastrous climate change.

Renewable energy has a vital role to play in protecting the planet from climate change. If you are interested in learning more about solar panel installation in Essex and the South East, please feel free to contact us.

What is Community Energy, and Why is the Government trying to Kill it?

Despite promising us that “we’re all in this together” the government has just passed legislation that effectively kills community energy schemes. It’s time to ask why.
What is community energy?

solar panels

Photo credit: ricketyus

Community energy is produced locally. Due to the fact that it has less distance to travel, there is a reduction in transmission losses, resulting in a drop in energy prices over the long term. Community energy schemes usually favour low carbon and renewable options that avoid polluting the local area. In 2013, the secretary of state for energy and climate change, Ed Davey, pledged his support to community energy schemes, saying that they would bring “power to the people.”

Community energy groups like REPOWER Balcombe and Brixton Energy have installed solar panels that are owned by the community to ensure that power is green, local and affordable. They also ensure that revenues stay within the local area, rather than propping up the ‘big six’ energy companies. The profits generated by Brixton Energy, for example, are given back to local charities
Why does it matter?

The cost of energy is quickly becoming a major concern in many household budgets. Not only that, but 10% of the population is in fuel poverty. This meant that more than one million working households were unable to properly heat their homes this winter.

To make matters worse, many now suspect that the ‘big six’ energy companies are unfairly profiteering by overcharging homeowners. Oil prices have fallen 55% since June, British Gas have delayed their corresponding price reduction until after the worst of the cold winter weather. Yet when oil prices rose, energy bills went up like a rocket. Community energy schemes represent a fairer alternative to the current system, one that puts people over profits.

What just happened?

Community energy schemes were starting up all over the country – until the government quietly changed two important rules.

Firstly, the Financial Court Authority (FCA) changed the rules so that energy co-operatives can not be established if they plan to sell the power that they generate to the national grid. Removing this potential source of revenue makes it so much harder for energy co-operatives to be profitable.

Secondly, George Osborne changed the tax rules so that co-operative energy groups will no longer benefit from two major incentives: the Enterprise Investment Scheme and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme tax relief. Both schemes offer tax reliefs to investors in smaller high-risk companies, but thanks to the legislative changes those investing in energy co-operatives can no longer qualify. Why should this be the case? Why reward the investor who puts his money into a profit-seeking enterprise and penalise the one who invests in a not-for-profit? The most likely answer is that the ‘big six’ don’t want to see their profits hurt by community energy schemes, and are pressuring the government to cut them before they grow.

It’s hard enough to establish a new enterprise at the best of times, but when the government is constantly changing the rules to favour the dominant monopoly, it’s almost hopeless. It’s time to ask: why shouldn’t we have power for the people that’s also generated by the people?

Do you represent an energy co-operative interested in installing solar panels or other renewable energy technologies in your local community? How have the recent changes to legislation affected you?