Recent British weather has proved that a future powered entirely by renewables is still a long way off for the UK as it does not provide enough reliable power during the winter months, when demand is at its peak.
A recent Policy Exchange report found that wind was significantly variable in the first month of 2017. While it produced approximately 10% of total peak electricity demand one week, the next this statistic fell by a factor of six.
Furthermore, the storage technology is not developed enough to provide long term, large scale storage and is too expensive for current demand.
The author of the Policy Exchange report, Matt Rooney, highlighted that even if the technology was available, it would not be environmentally friendly due to the emissions caused from mining the metal components needed.
In his last interview, the late Sir David Mackay, ex- Chief Scientist to the Department for Energy and Climate Change, described the notion that Britain could be powered 100% by renewable energy as an “appalling delusion” and encouraged the accelerated development of carbon capture and storage (CCS).
In an op-ed for the Huffington Post, Rooney supported Mackay’s stance on using clean carbon technologies to reduce carbon emissions, rather than relying heavily on renewables.
He said: “We need huge amounts of low carbon energy in order to completely decarbonise electricity, heat, transport and industry. This mammoth task will be a lot more achievable if we accept that renewable energy cannot do it all.”