Wind power is already a success in Sussex

Walking dreamily along a well trodden path in the South Downs National Park, the lone wind turbine at Glyndebourne caught my eye, a tiny pinwheel in the distance. It was a typically windy day on the Downs, so the blades spun vigorously, generating ample electricity to power this important cultural centre in the heart of Sussex.

Nature provides Glyndebourne with more than enough wind to power its operations including an electric vehicle charge point in this verdant countryside. With a persistence and patience that lasted six years, the one or two wilful objectors were won over and the Glyndebourne wind turbine finally got planning approval. 

Now their lone wind turbine is a tourist destination for people interested in the relationship between the arts performance centre and an electricity generation technology that dates back to the late 19th century.

Government's de facto ban on onshore wind

Two years after the Glyndebourne turbine became operational, the Government effectively banned onshore wind power. The effect that this has had on the British economy is decimating. 

Most of the industry’s suppliers and installers who weren’t large enough to trade internationally, have gone bust, England has missed a golden opportunity to generate its own home grown electricity by exploiting its superpower of the most abundant wind resource in Europe. 

Research has shown that wind power can meet 100% of the UK’s electricity demand, when combined with energy storage, both short and long term, at varying scales from domestic to utility.

Onshore wind power it the cheapest form of energy to develop and already accounts for 40% of the UKs annual electricity mix. Photo: Pixabay / Pexels

Protecting the interests of the fossil fuel industry

One may see no coincidence that onshore wind power, the lowest cost and cleanest energy source has been banned, while at the same time 51 licenses to drill in the North Sea to recover, refine, distribute and then eventually combust more climate changing fossil fuels have been sold by this Government in the past 12 months. 

Powerful economic interests continue to accumulate exorbitant profits from the existing oil and gas infrastructure. Those stakeholders invested in these vast profit taking activities are permitted, encouraged and stimulated by this Government. 

Politicians insist that gas is needed to prop up the prevailing economy, incentivising investment in oil and gas exploration by giving higher tax breaks than for renewables development by up to 10 times, despite record levels of national debt and the rewards of a clean energy economy.

The need to break the UK's addiction to fossil fuels

This maligned economic cycle of extracting returns from investment in the fossil fuels infrastructure will continue as long as its justification is a prioritisation of astronomical financial returns over people’s well-being both in terms of equity, energy security and the environment.

Government policy making that keeps people dependent on fossil fuels, while a natural resource offering the lowest cost electricity remains underfunded and under-supported is a sad reflection of Government’s ability to legislate for the future. 

The economics of wind as a power source is the same as oil and gas, now that battery storage has eliminated the intermittency of wind power. 

Each industry needs people to do the work. Each industry produces energy. Each industry using the same transmission and distribution infrastructure. 

The difference is that wind power requires retraining and education, two important requirements for the paradigm shift needed to drive forward the clean energy economy.

The fossil fuel industry still attracts £billions of investment and supports thousands of jobs. For a successful transition to net zero carbon emissions, governments must create the right conditions for investment in renewables and the emergence of a well-paid, well-trained workforce. Photo: Unsplash

The need for governments to provide economic support for the energy transition

The value chain for oil and gas is well established and easy to perpetuate. A change to a clean energy economy brings the threat of stranded (worthless) assets. 

Effort needs to be made by government to support alternative activities that create new value chains, while encouraging the transfer of valuable investment from business as usual, to the new clean energy economy. 

A first step would be to equalise the tax incentives given to fossil fuels investors and clean energy investors

Join BHESCo and support the transition to clean, affordable energy

Each company that won a gas license from the UK government will invest millions, if not billions into perpetuating the status quo infrastructure that is destroying the quality of life of living beings on this planet. 

This lack of vision fails to protect our well-being and continues to perpetuate the current weakness in energy security, while ignoring the obvious solution available in an abundant natural resource.

If you are interested in working with BHESCo to revolutionise the way that your business or organisation sources it’s heat and power then please provide your details in the form below and a member of our Projects Team will get back to you to discuss next steps.

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