The Industrial Revolution first began in Manchester, and this has been the location where the energy secretary has recently given a speech about renewable energy and his desire to see Britain go through a second revolution, which will deliver green energy and efficient technologies to the country.
In his speech he acknowledged, “Currently the UK is producing two percent of the world’s carbon emissions, but this does not mean we should only do two percent to help the problem. We have the power to bring a greater change to the world and reduce carbon emissions by much more than just two percent.”
The Chancellor recently gave a very different speech which stated, “We cannot afford to put Britain out of business by solving the world’s energy problems. Britain is only responsible for contributing two percent of the world’s carbon emissions; this is a very small amount when you consider that China and the United States alone are responsible for 40 percent of the world’s emissions.”
The energy secretary, Mr Huhne, continued, “People are much too negative about our country’s potential to produce renewable energy. We’re much to focused on fossil fuels and our recent discovery of shale gas highlights this very problem.
So far, we have not successfully got any electricity from shale gas, but renewable energy is something we currently utilise. The fact that people are more excited about this gas find, than potential renewable energy is a sad statement about the state of our country’s environmental thinking.”
In his speech Mr Huhne addressed the issue of the cost of renewable energy stating, “It is a common misconception that people think that the reason renewable energy is not being utilised is because the government are not funding it. This is simply not the case, last year 70 percent of renewable projects were funded by the private sector.
“In fact, in other countries worldwide, governments are spending more money on fossil fuel subsidies than they are investing in renewable technologies. Sometimes the amount spent by government on these fossil fuel subsidies is 10 times greater their spending on renewable energy.”
He also addressed two other major misconceptions with renewable energy. The first is that renewable energy can’t provide enough power for the country, to which he says that the value of continuous and secured energy source is more important.
The final misconception he addressed was the idea that people do not want renewable energy to be developed. A recent study suggested that 80 percent of people in the UK view wind power favourably wear as gas power is viewed with around 50 percent approval ratings.
In recent months Mr Huhne has won several battles over the renewable energy situation in the country, however overall it is quite clear that he is losing the war because the powers against him are just too great. Chancellor George Osborne recently made the announcement that investments in green energy are going to be cut, while the subsidies going to fossil fuel companies are going to be increased.
John Constable, the director of the Renewable Energy Foundation has stated about this decision, “This is a form of corporate welfare that is incredibly counter-productive to the energy industry. It gives them no incentive to develop green technologies and does nothing to help them drive down costs for the consumer.”
It is very important that in the near future the government focus on renewable energy and see expenditure in this industry as an investment in the future of the country. The only path that makes any sense is for the government to choose clean and secure energy for our future.