The Future of Renewable Energy

A Look at the Sustainable Party's Vision of the Future of Renewable Energy

The CCPI, or Climate Change Performance Index is an annual independently run analysis of climate performance across the UK and 60 other major countries covering 92% of climate emissions, including Canada, China, Russia, and the United States. It uses 4 categories to rank the different countries:

  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Renewable Energy
  • Energy Use
  • Climate Policy

In the 2023 Index report published in November last year, the United Kingdom ranked 11th overall, down 4 spaces from the previous year. That’s 7th in both greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, 22nd in climate policy, and just 36th in renewable energy out of a 63 ranking score system.

So overall, the UK is making important strides in leading both Europe and other first-world countries into a new sustainable future, however we clearly lack substantial policy surrounding the implementation of renewable energy sources at a level that would replace the demand caused by Britain’s shift away from fossil fuels, a vital step in the process towards sustainable growth and the infamous net zero target. Reliance on oil also means that Britain is susceptible to fluctuations in the European market, as much of UK oil is imported from other countries. The 2022 invasion of Ukraine (excluded from the 2023 index study) illustrated this dependency, as Russia supplied a significant amount of oil to Britain and much of Europe. The inability of the UK government to compensate this loss meant gas prices soared, in a time in which the majority of the public were already grappling with rising costs and high inflation following the pandemic.

This crisis was further perpetuated by British based gas companies who saw an opportunity for profit amongst the short supply, and raised their prices accordingly. BP saw profits rise by 56% from 2020 to 2021, and up to a record 76% the following year, a time during which household energy bills were up by over half. In 2024, the Office for National Statistics led a study into the cost of living, stating that over 1 in 4 adults in the UK were struggling to afford their bills, with 86% putting energy costs as a significant reason for this.

What is being done?

The current Conservative government has made some attempts to mitigate the energy crisis, both directly in the form of relief packages and by increasing investment in other sources of energy. The former has been dubbed a “drop in the ocean” for fighting inflation and rising costs in the long term, and the latter a far-fetched voter scoop, aimed at appealing to younger voters at a time when the Conservative government was on the political rocks. Neither directly address the issue of climate change either, lacking the comprehensive nature of a transition plan and a mapped out idea of what Britain will look like in its renewable age.

In a report published in April 2022 titled "British Energy Security Strategy”, previous prime minister Boris Johnson stated “we are going to take advantage of Britain’s inexhaustible resources of wind and sunshine”. The report continues to emphasise a switch to renewable energy production such as solar and wind farms, investment in public transport and electric vehicles, and implementing more efficient insulation within homes and businesses. Many of these pledges do not meet their agreed upon targets, however, and has resulted in precious little progress being made.

Similar climate policies implemented by Rishi Sunak have assured the electorate that Britain is on track to meet its binding commitment both to a 68% reduction in emissions by 2030, and the overall net-zero target by 2050 as established by the 2016 Paris Agreement. However, official assessments of the UK’s 2023 NDC estimates that even in the best-case scenario this will fall short by nearly 10%.

Other UK parties face similar shortcomings. In February 2024, Labour publicly announced that the party would no longer be upholding its pledge to supply £28 billion annual spend to combating climate change, opting instead for a more conservative £4.8 billion, a reduction of over 80%. This announcement came the same week published research hit headlines as the world measured a consistent global temperature rise of 1.5C across the entire year, a significant and concerning milestone in climate history.

Evidently, a vast number of those in government are less inclined to commit to the transition to a greener future and are unfamiliar with the technology available to them.

So, what will the transition to a renewable and reliable energy supply look like?

The UK currently generates approximately 90 terawatt hours per annum (TWh/pa) by means of renewable energy, including roof-mounted and ground-mounted solar PV systems, offshore and onshore wind turbines, and hydro-electric generation systems. This is just over 17% of the total generation needed to achieve net zero and the switch to 100% renewables, estimated to be around 526 TWh/pa respectively.

Put simply, this means the UK needs to generate another 436 TWh/pa using renewable methods in order to meet its net zero targets by 2050.

So, what is the best way?

Britain currently operates under a supplier-focused energy supply system, while the switch to a completely sustainable, customer-focused electricity supply system would provide more than enough energy to power the whole of the UK, providing sufficient electricity at the lowest unsubsidised price worldwide. This supply is 100% sustainable, and does not rely on imports, keeping Britain protected from changes in the international market.

The Sustainable Party's Solution is built upon three major principles:

  • Providing a resilient supply of renewable energy to Britain using proven cost-effective technology. This supply will be able to meet the electricity demands of both domestic and commercial properties.
  • Ensuring no cost-burden falls upon the taxpayer, sustainable electricity is comparatively far cheaper than imported oil, and it’s cost should reflect this.
  • Pioneering a new way of sustainable growth, leading Britain into a new age and re-establishing our place in the market economy. Should this solution be tried and proven, other countries will likely follow our lead.

The Solution:

Sustainable Community Grids

The UK is divided into Sustainable Community Grids (SCGs), areas and regions of, ideally, one to two million people. However, the SCGs could be matched to existing boundaries for existing counties (or larger boroughs /metropolitan areas) and / or regions. These areas use the existing regional DNO (Distributed Network Operator) infrastructure to distribute the energy generated within the SCG area from a combination of solar PV systems, and, ground-mounted (in suitable locations within / adjacent to the community’s region) turbines. This supply has been proven to be sufficient in meeting demand, as well as supporting the transition and implementation of electric vehicles.

Each SCG is monitored by its own Electricity System Operator (ESO). The role of these operators is to proactively manage the electricity supply, both by monitoring the current and predicted electricity demand (domestic and commercial use alongside weather conditions and storage capacity), maximising the energy storage in the EV batteries (also connected to the grid), and, if necessary, implementing Demand Response actions.

Demand Response Actions are to be implemented in the event that multiple consecutive days are forecast in which low intensity daylight and low wind speed will reduce the community generation. These events would not impact usage abilities, the affected parts of the UK would simply draw from storage reserves established during summer and windy days.

The infrastructure required for the switch to renewable generation has already been established and is in use, the Sustainable Party’s plan simply utilises it in a more efficient way.

Exports and Imports

As well as this, however, the National Grid and regional Distributed Network Operators can use the existing bi-directional interconnectors with other UK regions and countries for renewable export / import. While highly unlikely to be needed, this also provides the infrastructure for a last resort import system for non-renewable energy, in the extremely unlikely situation that all other levels of resilience in the UK electricity supply have been unable to satisfy demand.

The total renewable generation will exceed the annual expected electricity demand requirements by an agreed contingency amount. This surplus in expected annual generation will minimise the risk of any unexpected time of year supply-demand shortfalls.

Funding

While the required infrastructure for a switch to 100% renewable energy generation is already in place, sufficient funding will be necessary to support the installation of additional solar PV systems and onshore wind turbines. The Sustainable Party has pledged to use only 100% private sector finance to fund the required investments, with each Community Grid raising its own money to support the transition.

Britain’s journey to 100% sustainable energy generation will be an enormous step both in combatting climate change and pioneering new green technology across Europe.

Sustain Party RoundelStand for the Sustainable Party

We aim to have candidates in as many UK constituencies as possible in all future local and national elections. To achieve this aim we need your support!

We are actively seeking potential candidates, especially those who may already be considering standing as independents, who are committed to promoting genuinely sustainable economic growth for Britain, but who don’t necessarily accept some of the growth restricting policies of other environmental parties.

>> Find out how you can help!

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