The real beauty of renewable energy
It is axiomatic to say that developers exaggerate the benefits of their products. (‘Solar panel output only 10 per cent‘, South Wales Evening Post, 22 May 2015). ‘Twas ever thus.
Readers of my age will no doubt remember the promises made in the 1950s that nuclear power would provide us with electricity that was too cheap to meter. And let’s not get started on broadband speeds!
When the National Grid was first established in the 1930s, over 50% of the energy produced was wasted through inefficiencies. It has taken us 80 years to get to the current state where transmission losses are below 10%.
These days technology moves a lot faster, and we are seeing improvements in the efficiency of renewable energy systems almost daily.
But the real beauty of renewable energy is that we can all do it. We no longer need to rely on multi-national big business to provide our energy needs.
Even with the current state of the technology it is possible for individuals and community groups to get a net benefit from renewables.
And if we were to develop small scale renewables to the maximum extent, with solar panels on all our houses, schools, public buildings and businesses, that would be an awful lot of 10 percents; an awful lot of clean, safe energy generated; an awful lot of carbon footprints reduced; an awful lot of domestic energy bills cut.
As the Scots say, “Many a mickle maks a muckle” – a lot of little things add up to a big thing.
Letter published unedited in the Evening Post on Friday 29 May (not available online).