What Will Shutting More Power plants Mean To The Renewable Energy Sector

While the statements of the lights will be kept on coming from Westminster are loud and clear what is not so clear is how the government intends to do this amid claims that more power stations are to be shut. This is based on tougher carbon emission rules that will be coming to play as a directive from the EU, however any such claims that the UK would merely fill such a gap left by the closure of power plants facilities with increased investments in solar PV farms, on and offshore wind facilities couldn’t be further from the truth.

power plant closures

Why Will 2016 Be A Significant Year Within The Energy Industry

This is primarily to do with the strict carbon rules that will come into play and with UK power plant closures already increasing due to natural decommissioning the fear now in the eyes of energy providers that because of investment within the sector being practically non existent their will be subsequent shortfalls in energy outputs. Adding to this the stricter sanctions coming in to play that are likely to seriously question the current coal burning plant within the UK plus the lack of consistent investment within the renewable sector then you have the makings of a serious energy shortfall.

A Cold Winter Could Be A Big Reality Check

This is one of the fears that a significant surge could leave the country heavily reliant on an energy network that could not be up to the task. With over 8 gigawatts in power plant energy decommissioned in the last 18 months and potentially even more if they do not meet strict guidelines being set by the EU the current energy grid would be at pains to meet demands of a cold snap of that suffered in 2011. To put this into perspective 8 gigawatts would have handled the energy needs of over 16 million homes and thus when you realize the number being discussed the severity of the issue becomes clear. Further to this is the problem being highlighted by the lack of under investment within the renewable sector which would help to fill potential gaps within the energy network had it been supported as the energy companies have been stating.

Why The Shift To Renewable Energy Needs To Be Substantial

With energy costs one of the leading monthly outgoings to homes and businesses and energy analysts predicting that within the next five years prices could increase by more than 40% within the UK the need for increased energy generation via renewable sources be it solar panel farms, wind energy, hydro and more really needs to increase. This is in stark contrast to Germany who have invested heavily in wind and solar power who have reduced their energy bills dramatically over the last decade with them now close to a 10 year low.

How Germany And UK Differ In Renewable Energy

Currently Germany is one of the largest installers of solar power panels within the EU and claimed close to 25% of their energy from renewable sources last year and have had a structured long term renewable plan in operation for a number of year. They are also well on track to meet their renewable 2020 renewable energy targets. The same positive report can not be said for the UK who are currently less than third towards meeting their 2020 objectives and while their is the positive news of a growing domestic solar PV market the commercial market for businesses needs invigorating.

large solar installs in Germany

What Is The Government Doing To Increase UK Energy Production

UK business pay the most in taxation through the tax levied on carbon emission and rather than increasing this to encourage renewable convergence the chancellor has froze this until 2020. However the government has acknowledged this problem and as such put into action U.K.’s Electricity Market Reform with the purpose of bringing new power plants to the grid through various methods the fruits of their labor will not be seen for some time as the structure won’t be fully operational before 2018. With the 2020 target looming large economists predict that UK homes will each pay to the tune of £120 per year to see the 2020 target satisfied.

Will The UK Meets It Targets Given The Negative Report

What is the most important point to remember is that currently the government still has time on their side and given there current efforts with incentives such as the Green Deal and it’s subsequent restructure they are looking to put firm actions in place. One of the concerning issues is how far behind their targets they are, but with some clear and competitive incentives around solar power, wind energy, thermal power and more the amount of energy from renewable sources could significantly improve. Also while a number of power plants are to be phased out multiple avenues are being looked at from recommissioning dormant facilities to totally new nuclear and coal fired plant in plans thus a clear balance with a view to an all inclusive energy future needs to be adopted if we are to keep the lights on while meeting the EU renewable energy targets.

Some previous related articles of interest:
Solar PV manufacturers looking to be more transparent
The 2014 budget and it renewwable energy obligations
How Nottingham council is utilising solar panels

What Will Shutting More Power Plants Mean To The Renewable Energy Sector
How power plants and the way they operate vastly impact the way the renewable energy sector works.

SolarKing UK
renewable energy investment, solar pv projects
Could the closures of more power plants lead to greater investment in renewable energy

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March 20, 2014
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