We received the good news last week that 46% of the UK’s electricity is generated from renewable energy. Clean energy has its name because it’s comparatively greener to fossil fuels, but the key to mitigation is to use less – whether it’s energy from the sun or dug from the ground. Commitment to behavioural change alongside increasing the supply of renewables will allow us to live more sustainably. If we do nothing to adjust our energy consumption we’ll continue to accelerate climate change so it’s crucial for us to put equal focus on energy efficiency if we want to see results.
A popular way to generate energy in the UK is through the use of wind turbines, however there is a carbon cost to their construction, installation and maintenance, particularly if they are off shore. The process of building a wind turbine induces miles of travel to transport parts, steel production, plastic being refined etc. – all of which release greenhouse gases. Once built, many birds fly into the spinning blades so more wind turbines mean the number of birds meeting their demise will rise and the unknown operational life of wind turbines has posed the theory that the utility price will increase in order to make a profit. We must also remember that biomass – another major UK source, is only renewable if the plants are then replanted and that this method releases methane into the atmosphere. Most forms of renewable energy pose the same greenhouse gas risk and we must keep this in check in the interest of balance.
Clean energy is yet to be incentivised to make it affordable on a mass scale so it remains too expensive for many companies and households. In fact, according to an article in The Guardian, 4 in 10 UK solar energy companies are considering leaving the solar market due to government subsidy cuts and Brexit may mean a further blow to the deprioritised area of climate change. On the other hand, reducing your fuel spend is easy; clean tech’ has been evolving for years to offer businesses an affordable way to monitor and reduce their energy usage. Usually advanced control systems have a sub 2 year payback and can be lease purchased or delivered As A Service so there is still a cost-effective way to slow down climate change. If we focus on lowering the surplus of carbon emissions now businesses can benefit in numerous ways, not least by improving their environmental ranking and attracting the younger generation who prioritise green issues. And it’s no wonder, as it’s their future our unmitigated energy usage will continue to affect.
Human activity is the leading cause of global warming because there is always a consequence to energy use. In the coming years it’s essential that all economic growth is tied together with green initiatives so we achieve a low carbon economy and incorporate energy efficiency into our daily lives.