An energy independent Britain
The UK used to be fairly self sufficient in energy, in oil, gas and coal. But that’s changed recently as the North Sea reaches depletion (of oil and gas). Globally, we now depend increasingly on unstable parts of the world for our energy supplies. We’re also exposed to the global energy markets and commodity speculators.
What do we do?
Make our own. The UK has an abundance of a different kind of energy, the Green kind – energy which won’t run out or pollute – from the wind, from the sun and from the sea. We have over 7,000 miles of coastline from which to harness the sea, some 40 per cent of Europe’s wind energy and, though it doesn’t always seem so, we even have the sun.
We can use these three forms of renewable energy to run our country, to power our lives and to be energy independent again.
And we can make our own gas – Green gas.
The UK map showing the current dependency on fossil fuels
The Way it is Now
We import – nearly three quarters of the coal we use in the UK from countries such as Russia, Columbia and South Africa (1). Within 100 years we’ll need to import it all.
It happened only recently, but we now need to import over 30% of the gas we use from other countries (2), this can rise to 50% during Winter peaks (3). And that figure is of course going up as the North Sea depletes, to 100% over the next few decades.
We have seen a decline in our oil production since 1999. We now import over 10% of the oil we use (4), and as with gas, our North Sea reserves are emptying fast.
A map showing one possible future for the UK: sustainable energy.
The Way it Could Be
The more ambitious among us say we could provide 50 per cent of the UK’s energy needs from the wind. And we’re all for being ambitious.
Up to one quarter of our electricity needs could currently be met by putting solar panels on our roofs (5), so imagine the potential once solar parks become the norm.
Once the technology is right, we could generate as much as 20 per cent of our energy using tidal power (6). And then there are the waves…
Up to 50% of the UK’s domestic gas needs could come from Green Gas made here in the UK from various sources, much of which is currently considered as waste.
Of course making energy from Green sources is only half the battle – we also need to reduce our energy consumption, through technology and behaviour change. If we do both we can create an Energy Independent Britain.
If you switch to Ecotricity you are a part of this. We use our customer’s energy bills to create new sources of green energy, right here in the UK.
1. DECC Digest of UK Energy Statistics Table 2.4
2. DECC Digest of UK Energy Statistics Table 4.1
4. DECC Digest of UK Energy Statistics Table 3.1
5. MacKay (2009) Sustainable Energy Without The Hot Air
6. HM Government. The UK Renewable Energy Strategy. Chapter 5: New Resources and Technology. 5.23
Glenn T. Seaborg
"One of the first laws against air pollution came in 1300 when King Edward I decreed the death penalty for burning of coal. At least one execution for that offense is recorded. But economics triumphed over health considerations, and air pollution became an appalling problem in England."
Glenn T. Seaborg, Atomic Energy Commission chairman