I’ve been waiting decades for this moment.
Ever since my father built and erected a wind turbine in our back garden in 1975, I hoped that a time would come when common sense would prevail and renewable energy would be seen for what it is: a clean, carbon neutral, unlimited and free-at-source of energy that does no harm to our beautiful planet – our one and only home.
I think that moment has come and want to celebrate it and explore its potential within our industry and beyond.
Up until now, renewable energy technologies have nearly always been a ‘nice to have’ addition, with the numerous barriers to their uptake including capital costs, competiveness with fossil fuel energy, planning, NIMBYism and scepticism. Additionally there has been heavy and sustained resistance from traditional producers of energy and many in government. All this meant, that for too many years, the percentage of energy generated by renewables stayed in single figures without any sign of improvement.
But how things can change! In the first quarter of 2016 UK renewables’ share of electricity generation was over 25% and rising; in the last few years, we’ve seen the cost of photovoltaics drop to record low levels; planning departments across the UK are now more relaxed about approving solar panels on roofs and hey, even the likes of Shell are now referring to themselves as an “energy” – not oil - company.
I never thought we’d see a day when the UK avoided using coal for energy generation entirely but this happened on 21st April this year. This was not only because other, less carbon intensive fuels were being used but because renewables are genuinely competitive with conventional fossil fuels. We now have hard-nosed investors getting in on the act (see topdocumentaryfilms.com/breakthrough-renewable-energy) meaning that substantial funding is being directed at developing and manufacturing affordable renewable technologies, because it pays.
This is the tipping point I had been waiting for and truly is a very exciting development.
To celebrate this major shift in energy generation, The Green Register is holding a half-day Renewables Revolution conference in Bristol on 7th December 2017 designed for construction professionals and others interested in the topic.
The event will cover:
- Local and national renewable energy policy
- What a 100% renewable UK would look like
- Cost comparisons and financial benefits
- Technological innovation in solar, wind and biomass
- Breakthroughs in battery storage for buildings
- Case studies with integrated renewables
There will be an open-to-the public renewable energy exhibition and an electric vehicle will be on display.
I am looking forward to marking this historical tipping point with all attendees who can see the sun (or the wind, wave, hydro…) at the end of the tunnel – Come and join us.
Director, The Green Register