Renewable energy is taking off globally, with huge growth in solar and wind power in particular.
In many countries solar is now cheaper than fossil fuels and prices are predicted to keep falling.
Clean energy future
A 100% renewable future is possible, and it should be a goal for all Governments. The exact mix of renewables will vary from country to country, but renewable energy is vital in order to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Here in the UK, we are lucky to have colossal renewable energy resources from wind, wave and sun. Other sources such as tidal energy, hydro and geothermal also have huge potential.
Much renewable energy is relatively small-scale, allowing for more local, community and individual ownership of energy generation.
This frees people from relying on the big six energy companies, which are keeping the UK hooked on fossil fuels.
In Germany, for example, where they are at least 10 years ahead of the UK on renewables, half of renewable energy is owned by citizens and co-ops, and many cities control their own energy needs.
With half a million solar installations on UK rooftops, renewable energy is growing in the UK, creating jobs and boosting the economy.
Barriers to community energy
Despite this success, there are still barriers. Communities are finding it difficult to raise cash for renewable energy projects and overcome planning problems.
Friends of the Earth has been supporting renewable energy and leading the campaign for the feed-in tariff, whereby homes, businesses and communities get paid for producing green electricity.
Our Run on Sun campaign continues in this vein, pushing for a huge increase in community renewables, with a focus on solar panels on schools.
Renewable energy campaign
- The UK is already the world leader in offshore wind power, and there is huge potential for further growth. Friends of the Earth is campaigning for an increase in the number of offshore wind projects to bring down costs.
But strong support from the Government is needed to bring factories, jobs and maintenance contracts to UK firms.
- In Europe, Friends of the Earth is calling for the EU climate and energy policy to contain an ambitious target for renewable energy by 2030. This will encourage investment in the sector as well as reduce carbon emissions.
- Internationally we are calling for a global feed-in tariff, to ensure rapid take-off of renewable power in developing countries. We are campaigning for this to be funded through the robin hood tax – a tax on currency speculation.