Clean energy comes from the Earth’s natural resources – sunlight, wind, waves, tides and geothermal heat. As a source of power it has two great advantages: it will never run out and, unlike oil, coal and gas, it does not pollute the planet or cause dangerous climate change.
Clean energy is versatile. It can meet a broad spectrum of our power demands – from supplying major cities to powering small settlements in remote locations, unconnected to any electricity grid.
It is adaptable. The sheer range of clean technologies available to us means that one technology or another will be appropriate for almost every community – and can be built close to where it is actually needed.
It is abundant. Solar power alone has the potential to meet the world’s energy needs many times over. Here in Britain we have more than enough wind, wave and tidal resources to meet our own energy needs and export energy to other countries.
And it is perfect for the UK, which has some of the best and most accessible clean energy sources in the world. We could, and should, be global leaders in the field, reaping huge industrial, economic and employment advantages by being at the forefront of the fastest growing new technologies.
So why isn’t Britain leading the world in clean energy?
Well it’s certainly not because the technologies aren’t up to the job. We already have offshore wind farms capable of the same power output as a conventional power station, and tidal power stations have been in operation in France since the 1960s.
Clean energy already contributes about six per cent of the UK’s electricity supply. The UK government is committed to producing 15 per cent of our energy, that’s 35-40 per cent of our electricity, from renewable energy by 2020.
The truth is that successive governments have not properly supported the development of the clean energy technologies best suited to our windswept islands – namely wind, wave and tidal power. Years of weak policy, indecision, planning obstacles and a high-placed political determination to build a new generation of nuclear power stations, regardless of cost, has held back and undermined clean energy in the UK.
The result? A lack of investment which has kept clean energy prices high. But despite this, wind energy in particular has found its market and power from wind energy is growing by 30 per cent a year. And now there is the potential to develop real clean energy industries in Britain.
What are we doing?
Clean energy already provides around a fifth of the world’s power, but if we’re going to avoid the worst consequences of global warming we need that figure to grow – and quickly.
We’re campaigning hard to make this happen, and to finally put clean energy where it belongs – at the very heart of our energy system.