Realising the potential of wind

I’ve spend more time this month considering the future for the UK and how we can move to become sustainable and successful in the long term. My main thought is that given the UK is so windy and we have such a large territorial water area that we need to fully embrace the potential for wind. I wrote about this in an earlier blog post, but the thought really has stuck with me.

We can become fully independent of geo-political risks around the world by moving completely away from oil and gas, by de-carbonising our economy we can generate all our needs by offshore and onshore wind power and at the same time sell surplus electricity to mainland Europe and Ireland.

Around 40% of electricity generation comes from renewables at present, which is on target to grow to over 50% in the next few years, but only around 9% of total energy usage comes from renewables, the rest is made up of heating, transport and aviation, which use fossil fuels at present.

There are Key changes:-

From the now earlier date of 2035 all new cars need to be zero emission, so no more petrol or diesel.

From 2025 all new home builds can no longer have gas central heating.

Local Government can do more to help also as transport can be moved to electric only vehicles, if we can move buses, taxis and all small vans to electric only during the next 15 years that will make a great difference

Tree planning – boosting natures ability to absorb carbon by replanting trees and designating more areas to be natural beauty or nature parks is a great supply side measure.

Getting to carbon neutral will be very challenging.

Over the last year I have been increasingly supportive of the Governments committment to making the UK carbon neutral by 2050, it seems a long way in the future but 30 years goes by in no time, I remember finishing university and spending a year in Australia that seems like yesterday but was 30 ago years now..!

We are making progress in two areas, Wind power and in particular offshore wind is really moving quickly and before long more than 50% of the UK’s energy will come from this source, another 7 Gigawatts of capacity is moving forward via Dogger Bank and the three wind farms whose construction there has just started.

In time I can see us being able to phase out oil and then gas fired power stations and in time biomass also.

Solar power is popular but less than 5% of homes have them installed and the UK is not a very sunny place so the potential there must be limited.

Electric cars are becoming more available and people really want to make the switch once mileage range is a little higher and prices a little lower, I sense that the automotive industry is at a tipping point and we’ll soon see electric vehicle sales rising as a % just as fast as we have seen wind power increasing as a proportion of generation.

A really big challenge however is domestic heating, all new homes must be electric only heated and that has to be made law very soon. Then existing homes need to convert to electric via heat pumps either air or ground source, that will be very expensive and hard to achieve.

But the good thing is that we are at least making progress.

Telford and Wrekin and their so called climate emergency

Last year my local authority Telford and Wrekin declared a climate change emergency, this was a brave move by the Council and recognises that that World is in trouble and urgent action is needed to address the issue of Climate Change and CO2 emmissions.

However what has been done in the last six months? Well very little indeed it seems, there has been no change to the Council’s policy on vehicle procurement, though that is been planned for, there has nothing done to address the fact that T&W is bottom of the league for the number of charging points in the Borough. Some things are being thought about for the Councils own staff and buildings, but what about the Borough in general.

House building is moving forward at a rapid place, but no requirements for solar panels, heat exchangers and so on, just standard gas central heating builds with no charging points and all homes being built to the same old minimum building regulations.

Sadly this is just a PR exercise at present, when it should be a leadership by example program. There has been no emergency budget, no change nothing of substance.

Shame on Telford and Wrekin!

Wind Energy the UK has enough for all of the EU and Eastern Europe too!

A major challenge facing the whole world and the UK is the impact of carbon usage in the economy and reliance of it in almost every aspect of our lives.

I read Biology at University and always had an appreciation of the issue, but like everyone else I am only now seeing the full scale of the issue. There are however hopeful signs, the media and population are now actively discussing the issue. Politicians have made a strong committment to become carbon neutral by 2050 at least in the UK, and slowly things are changing.

I went with my wife to look at a new car, and whilst Mercedes didn’t yet have an electric model of the version of the car we want, they are launching one in 2021 and will have a hyrid in 2020. So electric cars are coming and reasonably soon!

The greatest thing about the UK is not its weather, but it does have a very key benefit, the UK is one of the windest countries in the World and we have large territorial waters which are amogst the the closest to shore and the windest at the same time.

Wind farms are springing up in these offshore waters at a rapid rate and a very large amount of new build is planned and already in progress. Onshore wind has also expanded a lot.

Between onshore and offshore and nuclear we are already generating around 40% of our electricity requirements.

As electric car ownerhip increases then the amount of CO2 emmissions will rapidly reduce and as wind generation expands the % of energy generated from fossil fuels will drop also.

There is actually enough energy potential in our offshore estate to provide all of the electricity needs for the UK, the EU and Eastern Europe also. I can’t see this ever being allowed by the EU or countries like Russia, but the UK could in theory generate all of Europe’s (East and West) electricty from wind power and there would then be no need for any fossil fuel generation.

Here are a list of UK Wind Farm Operators and links to our sister site Reporting Accounts where you can find detailed information on each one

Talisman Energy UK Ltd

I will update this post as I find more companies, this whole area is really promising, it offers the World and the EU in particularly a way to achieve carbon neutrality, lots of employment opportunities for UK companies and as our own North Sea Oil is depleting anyway a solution so we are not dependant on Russia or the Middle East for our energy needs.