[category_ads ads_name=lhs_ads]
[category_ads ads_name=lhs_ads_sticky]

Can renewables help the energy crisis?  

Can renewables help the energy crisis?  

War, soaring energy bills and a Boris pushing for nuclear energy out of all the available options… We now need to be more dependent on domestic energy production than ever, but what exactly is that going to mean for us? More fossil fuels or more renewables? There’s no question that fossil fuels are damaging, unsustainable and expensive, but are renewables really the answer to this problem? Let’s look at the facts about green energy – what it can do for us and if it is actually more economical than fossil fuels.  

Internationally traded gas prices are currently FOUR times the price of what they were last year, causing energy companies to go bust and energy bills to soar. Subsequently, the cost of living and inflation has gone up, with average energy costs predicted to increase by 50% of what they were last year. Not the news anyone wants to hear. A lot of this rise is coming from the impact of gas on electricity prices and investing in our own energy sources can protect us from foreign disruption. This is currently very much a hot topic amongst politicians who can’t seem to decide whether to invest more in green energy or stick with fossil fuels.  

How much of our actual energy production is currently from renewables?  

According to the National Grid, over the last year the average amount of energy demand was 30.2GW and energy production was:  

  • 41.2% (12.45 GW) of fossil fuels including gas and coal  
  • 25% (7.55 GW) of renewables including solar, wind and hydroelectric  
  • 25.1% (7.60 GW) of other energy including pumped storage, nuclear and biomass  

Renewables are great… when they work. On some days, wind energy accounts for half the electricity produced in the UK but on other days, when the wind doesn’t blow, it accounts for only 10%. Weather, time of day and time of year can all affect the output of renewables. This problem could be solved if we had adequate storage facilities to store excess energy for use on days when renewables are not effective – technologies which are currently being developed. Unfortunately, it’s still the early days of this technology and we are still reliant on natural gas as a backup until we have found a viable method for storing renewable energy. Therefore, we are still dependent on international gas sources as we are not using enough of our own supplies. That’s right – there is actually no shortage of oil and gas in the North Sea, just a lot of it is being sold to the highest bidder and exported. Another kick was when the conservative government decided in 2017 to close down a major gas storage facility – meaning we were unable to continue storing our own domestic natural gas and instead, are dependent on imports and therefore vulnerable to price fluctuations.  

At least natural gas is better than coal! 

Coal was previously our main energy source, emitting 44% more carbon into the atmosphere than gas.  

Things are changing and we have a goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. However, in light of recent events, some politicians think that based on our new need to be more self-sufficient we should be less focused on reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and more focused on acquiring additional domestic fossil fuels.  

This is certainly not the most environmentally friendly option but is it the most cost-effective?    

Renewables are very expensive to set up but more cost-effective than fossil fuels in the long run. Initial costs include planning and grid connection which are both costly and lengthy processes costly and lengthy processes – adding just one wind turbine to an existing wind farm can cost over £1 million. The planning process can take up to five years too.   

There has previously been under-investment in renewables because of the initial costs. However, the UK government has now set up a support scheme for renewables, offering £285 million a year of funding for this technology. The electricity generated from the new technology is forecast to be enough to power 8 million homes. Applications are open for offshore/onshore wind, floating wind, tidal and solar with the notion that a more diverse range of technologies could pick up shortfalls in their reliability.  

Competition between the price of energy from different sources is vital if the targets for renewables are ever going to be reached. Renewables are actually cheaper than oil right now but they are not currently replacing it due to unreliability and lack of storage issues. More domestic energy production overall does not mean cheaper oil costs either.  

What about other options? 

Could fracking provide a solution to the energy problem? The industrialisation and destruction of the countryside produced very meagre returns previously so it’s not an economical or ethical choice to make.  

What about nuclear? On 7 April, Boris Johnson announced that plans were underway to create eight new nuclear reactor plants in a bid to make the UK more self-sufficient. This would reduce the reliance on oil and gas, together with plans to increase the amount of wind, solar and hydrogen production. Under these new plans, it is estimated that 95% of energy will come from low-carbon sources by 2030. BUT building nuclear power stations takes a very long time. The only new nuclear station at present in Somerset has so far taken 20 years to get from planning to construction and is still a long way away from actually producing any energy. Nuclear is the most expensive form of energy production and has previously lacked financial backing for this reason.  

In somewhat of a contradiction, it was also announced that new projects for oil and gas were underway in the North Sea, with the argument that domestic production of fossil fuels creates a lower carbon footprint than importing it from abroad. No new plans were announced to help with home insulating and energy efficiency which many environmentalists argue is key to solving the energy crisis.  

Properly insulated homes would cut down energy usage overall so this would definitely be a worthwhile investment. UK home energy use could be cut down by half with proper insulation and efficiency but changes in policies as a result of different governments have meant that planning and incentives for this have not run smoothly.  


To conclude, in the long term, renewables are much more cost-effective than fossil fuels and are clearly better for the environment too. Some initial investment is required which can be a barrier but in the long run, this looks like the best option.  

Government incentives such as grants to help businesses create more renewables and to help homeowners properly insulate their homes will accelerate the push to a renewable future. They could also try re-opening the gas storage facilities and creating renewable storage facilities for maximum effect. Let’s not forget there is a climate crisis as well as an energy crisis here.   

Source: yougen.co.uk

Who will land the Economy Minister role in Vaughan Gething's new cabinet

The smart money is on Hefin David, but don't be surprised by a late twist Source: www.business-live.co.uk

Green bond renewables firm Engenera collapses into administration

Engenera Renewables offered businesses and householders the opportunity to get energy-tech at no up-front cost Source: www.business-live.co.uk

Work set to start on new cinema plaza

Spades will go in the ground in Lichfield as part of redevelopment of city's old Debenhams store Source: www.business-live.co.uk

Brown Moor employment plans earn allocation in Leeds Local Plan

Scarborough International Group is hoping to put 596,500 sqft of business space on the site near Thorpe Park Leeds Source: www.business-live.co.uk

Black Country land deal could pave way for new resi scheme

Future High Street Living has snap up former industrial space for regeneration project Source: www.business-live.co.uk

Trio of North East firms win places on ORE Catapult tech acceleration programme

Ten firms in all will take part in the Launch Academy programme Source: www.business-live.co.uk

We Just Compare