Given the state we are in, and what we want to achieve, the answer to this question surely ought to be known by everyone who thinks that they are paying attention:
What proportion of the UK's total energy usage now comes from wind & solar? Is it:
- none of the above
If you selected the last option you'd be spot on, as the correct answer is around 4%. The other possible responses come within range when we think about electricity, not total energy usage. Needless to say, gas and oil feature heavily in the other 96%. The ONS has the detail. This is an awkward fact when it comes to the transition to net zero.
I thought of this when I heard that the Labour Party is said too be minded to stop all future investment and exploration in our domestic oil and gas fields. No more North Sea exploration, no new gas fields, no investment, etc. I say "is minded to" as it hasn't actually said yet, and indeed might never do as the party is prone to kite flying ahead of elections to see how the wind of public opinion catches ideas. If lift off is achieved then the issue might well find its way into the manifesto. The idea is likely to be the brainchild of Ed Miliband, the party's energy sous chef.
But it would be nonsense, and self-harming nonsense at that. And very un-green policy-making if we are to rely on imported oil and gas for all the energy we shall need in our transition to renewables. And we shall need both for many years to come. Even the SNP, with a mind on Scottish jobs, thinks it's nonsense
Maybe all this is just a nod to the cynics running Just Stop Oil or a ploy to attract the unthinking green vote, it is their policy after all, and would surely please them if they were paying attention.
I'm writing about this because I think that something close to this idea seems to be pretty mainstream thinking in NGOs promoting renewable energy in schools. Does economic realism ever intrude on that, I wonder.