Renewable Energy News -September 2018
September has been a busy month in the world of renewable energy, so we’ve rounded up some of the ways in which it has been making the news in recent weeks.
More money invested into UK EV development
At the recent Zero Emission Vehicle (ZVE) Summit, Prime Minister Theresa May pledged that a £106m fund will be used to help the UK develop EV technology, including vehicles and batteries alongside the previously announced ‘Road to Zero’ strategy. The plans are expected to create at least 1,000 UK jobs in design, manufacture and other low-emission and hydrogen technologies.
What can we learn from Norway’s dramatic EV adoption?
More than 35% of Norway’s cars are fully electric, compared to around 0.5% of the UK, at the end of 2017. Experts believe that incentives for EV adopters in Norway make all the difference there; such as tax exemptions (VAT/sales tax), free parking and the ability to use bus lanes. If some of these incentives were introduced in the UK, it’s thought that it could make a huge difference to the number of EVs on our roads. For example, a similar tax relief system in the UK to that enjoyed by Norwegian EV owners would account for 20% off the list price of a car, making them much more attractive for lower-income households. Public charging infrastructure is another way in which Norway leads the rest of the world, having tripled their number of public charging stations between 2011-2017.
Can renewable energy installations change a location’s climate?
Researchers have released a study indicating that installing a large number of wind turbines and solar panels in the Sahara desert would transform the amount of rainfall and the temperature of the area, having a huge impact on the types of vegetation the area could support. The study calculated that if 9 million sq km of the sparsely populated Sahara desert were to be covered in renewable energy sources, it could generate around four times the amount of energy the world currently uses, as well as essentially changing the climate of the region. Wind turbines cause changes in the way air flows, mixing warmer air from above, which causes more evaporation, precipitation and allows more plants to grow. Solar panels reduce the reflection of sunlight from the surface, which triggers a significant precipitation increase. These two technologies, if used on a major scale, could potentially support a growth in vegetation and allow for the production of livestock in an area where that has not been possible previously.
Scotland is leading the way in lowering carbon emissions
Scotland is outperforming the rest of the country when it comes to tackling climate change and lowering their emissions. Emissions dropped 10% in 2016 alone through Scotland’s investment in renewable energy sources over traditional fossil fuels, but the government is keen for this progress to expand into other areas too, with a challenging target of cutting emissions by 90% by 2050. The rest of the UK has a target of an 80% reduction in the same timeframe. Plans to reach the Scottish target include a renewed focus on phasing out diesel and petrol cars, in favour of low-emissions alternatives, along with tree planting and restoring peatland.