Five ways you can accelerate the clean energy transition this summer
Posted by Sam Tonge on 4 July 2018 at 9:13 am
According to the meteorological calendar, summer is finally here! The ‘beast from the east’ is now nothing more than a distant memory, meaning that if we’re being optimistic, we can expect our usual dose of sunshine within the next few months.
We have recently written about how we now stand at a crucial turning point in our clean energy transition, with 2017 proving to be a record-breaking year for renewables. This is of course despite challenges in the sector and uncertainty surrounding the future of subsidies and investment.
What happens now will arguably depend on us. It’s clear that how we generate and use energy is changing, but we have a role in shaping the pace and characteristics of this change. Here are five ways you can help accelerate the clean energy transition in your community this summer.
- Benefit from the Feed-in-Tariff before it closes
The Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) is a Government scheme designed to promote the uptake of small-scale renewable and low-carbon electricity generation technologies, including solar PV (the most common for householders), but also anaerobic digestion, micro-hydro, wind power and cogeneration.
With sunshine around the corner and the FiT scheme due to close to new applicants in April 2019, there’s no time like the present to find a reputable installer of solar PV and other microgeneration technologies. The rates of payment you can receive for your solar PV through the FiT are published by Ofgem who administer the scheme. However once you’re registered with the scheme, your payments are guaranteed to last for 10 years.
- Invest in battery storage
Between April to November, a solar PV system is working at its best and is probably producing enough energy overall to cover the majority of a home’s energy demand.
However if you’re out at work on a sunny day, your home probably won’t be using all of the energy your PV system generates and so energy will be exported straight back to the grid. Conversely, during evenings (when you’re more likely to be at home) you’ll be buying energy back from the grid because your system isn’t generating at that time.
A battery helps alleviate this problem. It can store the solar energy that’s generated but not used at the time, so you can use it later on when your system isn’t generating.
- Get on board with green travel
Here at YouGen we’re excited about the recent UK policy announcements on banning petrol and diesel cars in favour of electric vehicle (EV) technology. The Regen report (released in April 2018) highlighted how a fleet of battery-powered EVs is a natural fit with an increasing proportion of renewable generation in our energy system. What’s more, an EV can even provide you with the opportunity to be flexible in when you use electricity, with some suppliers offering special tariffs for EV owners.
However it’s understandable to have reservations, especially at this time of change when there’s so much information and choice out there. This is why now the time to get ahead of the game and get clued up on the different types of EV technology including hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric models.
- Write to your local councillor
Not feeling confident enough to lead the change just yet? The Solar Trade Association (STA)’s Leading Lights report explains how councils can lead on the clean energy transition, listing 10 recommendations to help all councils boost their solar capacity in public projects.
We recently reported how a number of local authorities in the Midlands and the North are already doing just that. As it becomes increasingly clear that we can no longer rely on central Government to take the lead, it seems some local authorities are stepping up their game and are fast realising the societal, financial and environmental benefits of solar projects.
If you feel that your community is being left behind by an over-reliance on fossil fuels you could make your priorities known to your local councillor.
- Defend your home from temperature extremes
The clean energy transition is not just reliant on renewables, but also improving energy efficiency. When installed correctly, insulation can bring financial, environmental and even health benefits to your home.
But what we’ve found is particularly noticeable for an occupant is a vast improvement in personal comfort, as a result of a more even temperature. Insulation can mean the home remains at a warmer temperature in winter, but also a cooler temperature in summer!
If you’re thinking small, why not start with draught-proofing doors and windows, but remember to make sure you seek professional advice from a reputable tradesperson for bigger improvements . Ventilation is just as important as airtightness, to ensure condensation dampness doesn’t become an issue.
So there we have it. Five ways you can make the most of this summer to get ahead of the game and play a lead role as a clean energy champion in your community. As this is by no means an exhaustive list, please contribute your suggestions by leaving a comment below.
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Image credit: Steamtalks.
About the author:
Sam has contributed to our blog since 2016 and previously worked for the National Energy Foundation.
He became interested in green energy after completing a degree in Geography (BSc) at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Sam is passionate about renewable energy and is committed to spreading the word about the role it plays in delivering environmental sustainability.
If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.
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