Climate Emergency

Climate Emergency

Last night UK MP’s approved a motion to declare an ‘environment and climate emergency’, this was on the back of the Welsh assembly and the SNP also declaring a ‘climate emergency’ earlier in the week with the SNP also pledging today that Scotland will have a target of net-zero emissions by 2045.

A report commissioned by Greenpeace, the results of which were released today, states that two thirds of Britons believe that there is a current climate emergency and 76% would alter their voting patterns to help protect the planet.

Environmental lobbyists and protests groups have been putting forward a raft of proposals including a reduction of carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 – the existing UK deadline is 2050 – which they claim will help avert future doomsday situations.

Our recent past was focused on coal fuelled power plants capable of generating vast amounts of energy on demand with the negative affect of producing thousands of tonnes of harmful greenhouse gases including CO2.

The UK has been gradually phasing out coal plants with the last of them due to be decommissioned in 2025. This does leave a gap in our generation capabilities hampered more with the recent news that five of the proposed six new nuclear power plants are unlikely to be built and seven of the current eight set to be decommissioned by 2030.

Renewable energy generation offers a solution to the energy gap, but it is not without its limitations. There is currently over 42GW of installed renewable energy capacity in the UK. In Scotland alone the overall renewable energy generation capacity doubled between 2007 and 2015.

A continued rise in energy generation of this type would go far in reducing our carbon emissions but it does offer the flexibility that more traditional generations methods do. This is due to the intermittent nature of renewable energy generation. You can’t will the wind to blow or the sun to shine during high demand peaks. Nor can you ask either to stop when levels of demand drop well below levels of supply.

National Grid now believe that a zero-carbon electricity network is possible by 2025 and recently released proposals on how this could be achieved, however this would require a massive increase in the energy storage available in the system. They have estimated a minimum of 13GW of storage would be required to operate carbon neutral, there is currently 2.8GW of storage available.

Increasing to this level of energy storage does not come easy and we have been looking to new technologies such as batteries to help, but at the scale required the only proven technology currently available is Pumped Storage Hydro.

Pumped Storage Hydro however can offer a viable solution to this issue storing vast amounts of renewable energy ready to send it to the grid on demand. These projects however take a long time to develop both through the planning process and development stage which is why we must act now to promote this practical and workable solution to problem which belongs to us all.

Comments are closed.
WordPress SEO