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Coming of age: the green energy revolution

Developers and operators are busy building the new green infrastructure.

green energy revolution

Renewable energy has come of age. Developers and operators are busy building the new green infrastructure.

Amidst the growing number of installations of wind turbines, solar panels, EV charging points, battery storage facilities, and anaerobic digestion plants that together will secure energy supplies for now and the future. Alastair Frew, Head of Lodders’ specialist renewables team, explains. 

Q: Why are renewables important?  

Reducing the UK’s carbon emissions and increasing the energy the country gets from renewable sources will help ensure the future security and sustainability of our energy sources, and importantly, play a key role in tackling climate change. 

Q: How is the UK performing? 

The UK is the world leader in offshore energy generation, and is recognised worldwide as the country that has most rapidly de-carbonised its emissions. 

Since May 2020, the UK National Grid has burned zero coal. According to the most recent government research*, renewables account for just over 29% of the UK’s electricity supply – second only to gas-fired turbines (41.9%) – the majority of which comes from wind turbines and solar farms.  

Q: What’s the next big thing for renewables? 

The technology supporting and enabling renewable energy generation and usage is becoming more and more powerful.  

Take electric vehicles (EV). The number of EV cars already on the road has risen exponentially. Based on today’s figures of the number of cars on UK roads, modest estimates suggest there will be around 20 million EVs by 2040. The big question is how will the country keep them charged up, as plugging-in that number of cars every evening will represent a huge power-drain and its unlikely the current provision will deliver sufficient electricity generated by renewable sources to keep up?  

The answer lies in some clever tech that follows the principle of the mobile phone charging ‘mat’. We will soon see EV charging mats or plates at public car parks, traffic lights and outside homes. As well as this, whenever it is physically plugged-in, each EV will use its own battery as part of the National Grid – cars with full batteries will be gently drained to back up the public network, before being recharged later on when the off-shore electricity kicks in when the winds blows more strongly that evening; smart metering, and charging mats, with your car being treated as just another appliance’. 

Enabling the ongoing replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy is battery storage technology, which stores energy from solar and wind for instance, and then releases it when power is needed most. 

Q: What is one big challenge for UK renewable energy? 

Infrastructure. Developers and operators need land and buildings to enable the green energy infrastructure and are approaching landowners to strike a deal. Landowners have much to consider to be sure they get the best and right deal. Not just on the sale of land, but also clarity on the tax savings and complex tax planning that surrounds these transactions, and getting agreements water-tight from the off is vital. 

Knowledge of and interest in renewables has reached unprecedented levels, as landowners and developers embrace the technology to minimise running and business interruption through loss of energy, and take advantage of the potential cost savings and reduced business overheads that come from being self-sufficient and ‘off-grid’. The green energy revolution is well underway across the UK. 

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