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    Step up solar and wind power to meet demand

    January 26, 2023 - Birmingham Mail


      WHAT is needed is a properly-funded nationwide insulation and upgrade programme for UK homes, rolled out as soon as possible, and emergency support now for those on the frontline of fuel poverty.

      And we need to triple the amount of solar and wind power by 2030 to permanently lower our bills.

      Renewables are not expensive and they are now supplying 43 per cent of the UK's electricity.

      Prices for renewable energy technologies are dropping rapidly.

      The cost of electricity from solar power fell by 85 per cent between 2010 and 2020. Costs of onshore offshore wind energy fell by 56 per cent and 48 per cent respectively.

      Also, UK residents are paying more for their electricity produced from renewables than the cost of producing it, due to an antiquated wholesale pricing system where the most expensive generator (here, natural gas) sets the price .

      I also challenge the sweeping generalisations that wind and solar are environmentally damaging and unreliable.

      UK wind turbines are typically producing 70 to 80 per cent of the time, and the reliability of renewable energy overall does not depend on a single source, but from several, and these work together to pick up demand off the grid when another falters.

      The default may be natural gas, but increasingly other energy sources are coming into play such as biomass, hydropower, tidal and geothermal.

      Decentralised community energy can also be part of a smart energy system to meet local demand spikes.

      As for environmental damage, fossil fuels - coal, oil and natural gas - do substantially more harm than renewable energy sources, and fracking for UK shale gas is one of the worst and also regarded as not safe, hence the 2019 moratorium.

      Christine Curwen, by email


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