Can the UK go green and keep the lights on?

Can the UK go green and keep the lights on?

2020 was a year never to be forgotten and we’re not just talking about the negative side of it. Nope, we want to talk about the amazing impact it had, and what it showed us. You may not know this, but in the first few months of 2020, the UK relied solely on renewable energy. For the first time in history, the power generated by clean, renewable energy was greater than power generated by traditional fossil fuels. The pandemic played a significant role in showing us what a cleaner world would look like. According to reports (1) nitrogen dioxide levels and small particle pollution were significantly lower when compared to the previous year. It’s also revealed behavioural changes can cause a great impact too. The graph below illustrates the difference we witnessed (2):

With this new data in mind, we can see there’s a possibility of the UK running on 100% renewable energy, and soon. But, let's break this down further and see the current progression and potential factors that could help the UK go 100% green and keep the lights on.

Is going completely green in the UK really that far off?

The future of the UK going completely green is not too far away. We can already see the progress made since 2004, with renewable energy in the UK growing tenfold – and 37% of electricity is now from renewable sources. In addition to this, Scotland now produces 90% of electricity from renewable sources. It is also worth mentioning that almost a quarter of the UK’s electricity was generated by wind turbines in 2020. Double the share of wind power in 2015 and up from a fifth of the UK’s electricity in 2019. All this information influenced the government to introduce their 10 point plan (3) in November 2020. This is significant, as it’ll allow three times as much investment from the private sector by 2030.

Changing to renewable energy could boost the UK economy.

Following up from the 10 point plan, it’s said to “mobilise £12 billion of government investment … to create and support 250,000 green jobs”. The fact the UK relied solely on renewable energy helped create a public attitude in favour of it. It’s helped a greater number of people in the energy sector look towards renewable energy jobs. Statistics (4) also suggest if the Government takes steps to maximise the economic benefits of renewable energy, a surge in contracts for renewable energy projects will result in a tidal wave of £20billion in investment and 12,000 new jobs in energy and construction.

How can switching to 100% renewable energy have a positive impact?

Research has found switching to wind, water and solar, worldwide, could eliminate 4 to 7 million deaths from air pollution annually. All the while slowing and then reversing the effects of global warming – and in doing so, stabilising the global energy sector. In hindsight, going completely green benefits everybody in terms of health, the economy and as individuals. To learn more about renewable energy, we would like to hit you with facts you may or may not have come across.

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Published 19/09/2021