According to an article published on Bloomberg.com, Energy Minister Greg Barker has pledged to increase the nation’s use of solar power by 800 percent. Barker released a 38-page, solar-power plan on October 8th, which reveals that he is engaged in discussions with energy companies about how the government can accomplish this goal.
Recent research estimates that the United Kingdom will produce 10 gigawatts of solar power within the next 10 years. Some put the number as high as 20 gigawatts. This is a substantial increase from a June study that estimated the country’s output at 2.4 gigawatts.
In the spring, Barker intends to issue a policy on how to achieve this goal, after he gathers and reviews all of the available data.
Energy costs are rising in the United Kingdom
Barker’s report was issued one day before SSE, a company that delivers energy to more than 3.5 million homes across the nation, published a press release that reveals its plans to increase rates by 8.2 percent on November 15th.
SSE references two main justifications to support its decision:
- Costs to purchase energy from international sources have increased by 4 percent.
- The government has instituted taxes on energy bills that increase energy costs by up to 13 percent.
The last time SSE raised its rates was in the October of 2012, and consumer-advocacy groups contend that other energy companies will follow suit. SSE states that the additional cost will average 2 pounds per week for customers that use electricity and gas. This rate increase adds fuel to energy-crisis fears, which have been hotly debated throughout the week in Parliament.
Among the many topics being discussed are wind-power farms. The government is locked in combat with grassroots organizations that claim that these farms disfigure the natural beauty of the countryside.
“New solar installations must be sensitive to public opinion and mindful of wider environmental and visual impacts,” says Barker. “The impacts of deployment on grid systems balancing, grid connectivity and financial incentives will also have to be considered, ensuring the challenges of deploying high volumes of solar PV are addressed.”
Barker claims that the best approach to quelling the energy crisis is for policymakers to pass legislation that financially advocates solar power. In order to have a real chance of becoming a mainstream source of energy, solar power must contend with traditional forms of energy.
The Energy Minister’s figures show that the use of solar power has increased from 94 megawatts three years ago. Many government officials believe that solar energy will allow Britain to reach its European Union goal of extracting 15 percent of its total energy consumption from renewable sources.
Some research suggests that renewable energy can diminish carbon emissions by 34 percent before 2020. However, it must make financial sense to accomplish this goal.
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