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Renewables Race: Does the UK risk falling behind?

Published:  22 February, 2023

Two of the country’s leading energy bodies, Renewables UK, and Energy UK, have warned that the country is at risk of falling behind in the race to become a global renewable energy leader. Following the rise of interest rates and inflation, the renewable energy sector faces the challenge of losing investment and supply chains to international competition.

As nuclear power stations become an increasingly credible option for the UK government, Mandip Bhamra, the head of renewables at SaveMoneyCutCarbon, comments on what smart solutions are already available, and how they can help us stay on track for integrating renewables to produce cleaner energy resource.

This comes as the National Grid recently revealed that last year, they spent a record £4.2bn on balancing payments to ensure that supply matched demand. Despite energy efficiency being a top priority on the agenda for the UK government, payment balances meant that the National Grid needed to take measures of importing power from abroad, shutting off wind turbines, and increasing the activity of gas stations, subsequently driving up the costs of consumers’ bills.

As a result, Renewables UK has stated that the Government must encourage corporations globally by putting in place a share of fiscal incentives, otherwise, they risk not securing investments in solar and wind farms. This follows the news that a lack of energy storage in the UK has forced the government to spend £60bn on foreign gas imports from October 2022 to January 2023.

Bhamra has outlined the importance of wind and solar power:

“Solar and wind are truly clean energy sources – but its about when people need power. Generation of wind turbines is year-round but inconsistent, and the vast majority of solar generation comes in the summer. In the winter there will always be a shortfall, we are then faced with the problem of oversupply and under supply. But resorting to nuclear is just lack of imagination – we need to invest in our under-developed energy infrastructure.

“As homes and businesses decarbonise, opting for solar, battery, heat pumps and EV, there will be an increase demand on electricity. With DNO applications on the increase, we need to invest in infrastructure in order to accommodate the demand in renewable energy installations. This will be key in the race to net zero.

“There are smart solutions available, which have the effect of connecting your car or heat-pumps to the grid. They can draw energy when available, and even return it to the grid at peak times. But again, you will only be able to take advantage of these opportunities if you are in an area where the infrastructure is sufficient.”

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