How can your money make UK renewables happen?
Ecologist Partners: Triodos Bank
by Lisa Stanley
The UK is at a crossroads at which choices need to be made that will decide where our energy comes from in the future. Recent events are prompting an energy revolution, and many people are now more convinced than ever that a significant part of the UK’s future energy supply has to derive from our own renewable sources.
How Can Your Money Help Make UK Renewables Happen?
We believe that, despite much-discussed changes to national energy policy, the UK Government will remain committed to supporting renewables over the coming years, albeit as part of a diversified energy mix. Indeed, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said recently, ‘we want to support the shift by traditional industry to cleaner sources of energy. When we say that we want green growth, it is a very real aim, driven by very real economic needs.’*
And as the UK more widely also begins to recognise this shift, we can expect an increasingly narrow margin between the cost of renewable and ‘conventional’ energy generation. In fact according to Ofgem the cost of wind power to the average UK’s household is just two pence per day. In contrast, the rising cost of gas imports added about £120 to domestic energy bills last year. The wind industry is driving costs down rapidly through economies of scale, technological innovation and sharing best practice.**
With the UK Europe’s windiest country, as well as wind being the world’s fastest-growing renewable energy source, it makes sense that onshore wind power has a large part to play in the country’s energy future. Not only could power generated by UK wind turbines fuel the country’s energy needs several times over, but UK wind also positively negates climate change by reducing reliance on fossil fuels and preventing CO2 emissions.
In addition, the renewables sector has a positive impact on the UK’s economy. According to RenewableUK ‘expansion of the wind, wave and tidal industry has the potential to generate up to 120,000 jobs over the next ten years, both directly and through the UK-based supply chain that is growing alongside the industry.’**
And figures from RenewableUK show UK electricity production from renewables increased by 33% in 2011 and by 45% from onshore wind in particular. However, the figures also show that the UK’s reliance on imported fossil fuels hit a 36 year high.
RenewableUK says the trend for increased generation from renewables is set to continue and will ‘help the UK reduce its over-reliance on expensive and unpredictable supplies of imported fossil fuels.’ Ensuring that ‘the UK develops an energy mix that will not only protect consumers from fluctuating fossil fuel prices in the short term but will also deliver long term security and growth.’
With more than 4,800 shareholders and generating enough green electricity to power almost 24,000 UK homes***, Triodos Renewables is the UK’s most widely-owned independent renewable energy company in the UK. It believes there is a long future ahead for UK renewables and provides a vehicle for a growing number of individuals to invest into renewable energy generating assets. As part of its future strategy it is focusing on small to medium-sized onshore wind projects and sensitively sited brownfield site developments in particular.
*Speaking at the Global Business Summit on Energy in London on 6 August 2012
*** Estimate based on assumed industry standard of 4.7MWh per home
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