The time is right….again

Global issues have produced powerful shifts in public understanding and acceptance of the need for onshore renewable generation of all types with thought-leading communities now actively looking to benefit from bringing it into their backyards.

Energy is now almost certainly the single most critical input that modern society depends upon, without it, almost no economic activity of any type happens. The war in Ukraine and its effects on energy prices has sent an unmissable signal to just about everyone in the UK; no one is seemingly immune to the effects. The UK clearly needs an energy supply that is reliable, predictable, affordable and immune to supply disruptions by foreign providers. Whilst nuclear presents one potential alternative, its historic deliverability record should discourage anyone with any willingness to learn from experience and there is still no plausible solution on how to store its waste safely for thousands of years.

Renewables, with all their intermittency challenges are a much better long-term solution overall. Coupled with the massive, continuing and predictable improvements in battery storage technology, this is the superior bet to be making with our own and our children’s futures.

Greta Thuneberg, COP26 and recent weather events are highlighting the need for urgent action on carbon emissions. Slow adaptation or Business-As-Usual simply is not going to deliver a solution in a timescale that matters; action is needed now. Renewable energy is one of the vital pillars to reducing carbon emissions, the more the better from this perspective.

DistGen actively developed its current set of installations between 2008 and 2015 but then stopped because of the stated and demonstrated hostility of the UK government to onshore wind. Whilst some hints have been given about that stance there has so far been few tangible changes in the regulatory framework to encourage onshore renewable energy generation of any type. Even so we now strongly believe that this impediment can be overcome where local communities and the planning authorities that provide their planning control services are actively supportive. Octopus Energy recently ran a campaign to solicit contact from communities potentially interested in hosting renewable generators; the response currently numbers over 8,000 and is apparently still growing. Something needs to be done, it is up to us to do it for ourselves. Fortunately, it looks like a lot of us recognise the imperative and are willing to act upon it.

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