Renewable Technologies Generate More Energy Than Nuclear In Europe

Renewable energy technologies are cheaper than nuclear plants, safer than nuclear plants, and now they generate more energy than nuclear plants too.

“For the first time ever in Europe, renewables produced more power than nuclear – and solar power was key in achieving this remarkable achievement,” according to Michael Schmela of SolarPower Europe.

Countries around the world installed solar panels at record-breaking pace in 2014 to bring total capacity to 100 times the level it was at the start of the millennium. Britain was at the helm in Europe, and is on track to retain first place this year too.

This milestone shows us that Britain can power itself with largely through renewable energy, without taking a nuclear gamble.

Why should we choose solar panels over nuclear power plants?

Nuclear plants are, in comparison to coal, low-carbon. But there remain a number of compelling reasons why policymakers prefer solar panels and wind turbines to nuclear power plants.

First are the health concerns. Nuclear plants cause radiation that can be dangerous to those that live and work nearby. Numerous researchers have uncovered an elevated risk of cancer in those that live near nuclear plants, such as the Bradwell nuclear power station. Worse still, there is always the risk of a nuclear meltdown such as the one that happened in Fukushima. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is at pains to point out that “there is no safe level of radiation.”

Another problem is the production of nuclear waste, which takes tens of thousands of years to decay. By 2020, we’ll have 140 tonnes of plutonium – what the BBC describes as the “biggest non-military stockpile in the world.” This necessitates investing in tough security measures to prevent deadly nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands.

The most radioactive waste produces enough heat to corrode all containers, and would kill anyone exposed to it for more than a couple of days. Some waste can be reprocessed, but the only long term solution we currently have is burying it under the ground. It’s for this reason that few people consider nuclear to be a sustainable option.

Nuclear plants are also much more expensive than renewable technology…

Perhaps most importantly from the government’s perspective, nuclear has turned out to be a very expensive method of producing energy.

The company that is building Hinkley C, the UK’s latest nuclear plant, is treading water after running into immense financial difficulties building plants in Finland and France. Unfortunately the building underway in England is based on the same model that has so far been a complete failure on the continent. Critics say that Hinkley C the most expensive object ever built, and of course it is the British taxpayer that has footed the bill once again.

This doesn’t even cover the cost of decommissioning a plant once its lifespan is up, which can be just as expensive as construction. The cost of decommissioning Sellafield nuclear plant has completely spiralled out of control.

What’s next for solar energy?

While the latest nuclear plants are getting more and more expensive, the cost of solar panels is going in the other direction.

“New wind and solar power systems can generate electricity up to 50% cheaper than new nuclear power plants,” according to Patrick Graichen of Agora Energiewende.

A study conducted by Prognos AG concludes that a system of renewable energy technologies supported by natural-gas power plants to overcome intermittency would be 20% cheaper than constructing more nuclear power plants.

Overtaking nuclear is an impressive milestone for renewable energy – one that would have been unimaginable five years ago. Overtaking coal is the vital next step.

Be part of a brighter future. Install solar panels in Essex with Complete Renewables today.

Solar Energy Could Meet The Entire World’s Energy Demands In Under Two Decades

From zero to hero: explosive solar panel growth means that renewables now produce more power than nuclear in the UK.

UK solar output almost doubled last year in Britain, with solar panels installed on buildings and land unsuitable for farming producing enough energy to power 2.4 million homes. If solar energy continues to grow at the current rate, its output will match the world’s power demand in just eighteen years time.

How much energy do solar panels produce in the UK?

On one record-breaking day in July, the country’s 709,000 solar installations supplied 16% of the UK’s electricity demand.

This is an enormous success for a country that barely had solar panels five years ago. Britain has demonstrated its potential to become a dominate player in the global solar market, providing jobs, a return on investment, and cost-effective electricity at home.

But the competition is fierce. Other countries not traditionally known for their environmentalist thinking have woken up to the possibilities of solar. India and China will each have 100GW installed by 2022.

A solar-powered future for the UK

By making better use of our largest unused rooftops on warehouses, factories and supermarkets, solar power in the UK can exceed even the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s expectations.

An independently verified plan from the solar trade association has solar power providing 7% of the UK’s electricity on a daily basis in 2020, outcompeting fossil fuels on price, and providing 57,000 jobs across solar and solar-related industries. Carrying out this plan would eliminate subsidies for solar panels and cost household’s just £13 each on their energy bills.

And it’s not just the solar trade association that are reading the writing on the wall.

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest forecast is that renewable energy will produce more power than coal within fifteen years, and Saudi Arabia’s own oil minister has predicted the end of oil by the middle of the century. Deutsche Bank estimates that the global solar market will be worth $5 trillion by 2035.

Solar panels are getting cheaper and better – having seen a 70% price drop in five years. These improvements combined with improvements in energy storage and the implementation of “smart grids” that respond efficiently to consumer and supplier demands, we could soon be powering our country without polluting it.

Why choose solar power?

Aside from the obvious financial and environmental incentives, there are numerous compelling reasons to invest in a solar future.

The solar industry is much more home-grown than other energy industries. That means when we spend on solar, more of that money stays in the UK than if we spend on nuclear technology or off-shore wind, both of which require more parts, technology or labour to be imported from outside of the country.

Producing energy in the UK would also free our politicians from wrangling with dubious Russian or Middle-Eastern fossil fuel suppliers. It’s very difficult for the UK to condemn Vladimir Putin’s involvement in Crimea, for example, when by purchasing his coal we contribute to the cost of his army.

Then there is the voice of the British people to consider. Solar panels enjoy a greater than 80% public support levels across a number of opinion surveys, making them more popular than the government and much less controversial than nearby nuclear plants, fracking or wind turbines.

According to chief executive Juliet Davenport: “Solar power in the UK is an astonishing success story. Five years ago solar hardly existed in the UK, so it’s amazing to see… over 15% of the UK’s electricity being produced by solar [on the 3rd of July]. The public has really got behind it, it goes hand in hand with farming and biodiversity, and best of all it doesn’t pump carbon into the atmosphere.”

Be part of the solar success story. Install solar panels on your Essex building and reduce your energy bills.