The UK government signed a deal to ensure wind power will produce 30% of electricity by 2030. This deal with the wind power industry is just another step forward by the UK to help fight climate change. The goal is to replace energy generation with low-carbon sources.
The cost of wind energy has fallen sharply and the UK is jumping on board. By 2030 the country plans to have 30% wind, 30% nuclear, and 30% gas with carbon capture technology installed. The other 10% will be made of other forms of energy like solar.
Push For Clean Energy
The UK is definitely leading the way when it comes to getting its energy from low carbon sources. Although at the moment, only wind energy is on track to meet the 2030 goal, this is real progress. It shows that the UK is fully committed to the plan, which is very different from other rich nations that are falling behind.
The UK is the first major economy to push large amounts of renewable energy, which is surprising. Both wind and solar energy have become cheaper than high carbon-emitting energy sources like coal. In the long run, replacing coal needs to be a priority for every nation that relies on this substance.
How Big of An Increase Is This
In 2017, wind energy accounted for 6.2% of total energy production in the UK. By 2020, the country plans to reach 10% and with the newest deal, it will reach 30% by 2030. This is almost a 24% increase from 2017 energy levels, which is huge.
This giant jump is only possible thanks to shrinking wind energy costs. The rate at which the cost is shrinking is not only shocking to skeptics but also wind supporters. And with full government backing in the UK, the wind industry will be able to properly build up offshore farms.
Only Wind is On Track
The UK’s energy plan has three parts, wind, nuclear, and gas. However, only wind is on track. To meet the nuclear goal, a total of six new plants are needed, but this is very unlikely. At best the UK will build one new plant in Hinkley, instead of the proposed six. This is due to the large costs of building nuclear power plants.
Gas is another story altogether. While there are many plants that run on natural gas, the plan outlines plants equipped with carbon capture technology. There are currently no plants like this, with only one stuck in the planning stages.
Of course, the big question is, why is there such a big focus on nuclear and gas energy generation?
Clean renewable energy is necessary for the fight against climate change, but it does have one big drawback, reliability. While sites for wind energy are chosen very carefully, it is entirely possible for low wind speeds to occur. This, in turn, will decrease the amount of power generated on a certain day. If an electric grid were to rely solely on wind energy, you would expect blackouts on days like that.
For this reason, other more reliable sources of energy generation are necessary to ensure blackouts do not occur. Both nuclear and gas energy are extremely reliable and you can directly control how much is generated at any given time. This makes them the perfect choice to be used alongside wind energy.
For example, let’s say that the wind is not very strong one day. You can increase the amount of power generated at both the nuclear and gas plants to make up for it. On the flip side, if it is a very windy day, you can reduce the amount of power produced to compensate for the extra wind energy generated.
On the Right Track
One thing is for certain, the UK is on the right track. Even if the other parts of the energy plan do not come together, reducing the amount of coal burned and increasing the amount of clean renewable energy is a big win. More nations need to follow the UK’s example and fully embrace renewable energy sources.
However, this can be difficult when nations like Australia and India rely on coal for the majority of energy generation. Unfortunately, climate change is not going to wait. Change needs to happen now.