Despite the efforts of developed governments for tackling global climate change, there are some current energy issues in the coming years, which require a change in the existing system. For example, the UK (which is considered “the leading voice in Europe”- Bohne, 2011) has the target of 15% renewable energy use for its final energy consumption, as part of the EU’s Strategy of providing 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 and 80% carbon reduction target by 2050. However, this challenge raises other issues, which need to be improved to guarantee the sustainable development of energy supply in the UK and other developed countries, which are:
- Renewable energy prices are currently not competitive with those of the fossil plants
- Investors are insecure about investing in electricity generation and transmission which is likely to require more than double of the current rate of investment by 2020
- The public is reluctant to pay high prices for the renewable energy
- The social cost of carbon is not reflective in the actual market prices because it does not take into account all of the damage caused by climate change
- The carbon price is volatile and hard to predict
- Uncertainty of supplying energy for the future generations if existing polluting plants are closed
- The future electricity system will contain more intermittent (such as wind) and inflexible generation (such as nuclear)
- Demand for electricity is likely to rise
Greater government support could be a solution in order to encourage micro-generation for producing power in house scale, such as mini-hydro, biofuels, wind and solar or waste incineration (combustion of waste to produce electricity) and implantation of smart metering as opposed to centralised large power plants with the aim of promoting responsible energy consumption.
Furthermore, studies have demonstrated the benefits of simple efforts from communities can be performed in order to reduce the consumption of energy, which will be reflected in their lower electricity bills.
So, what’s the plan?
Read more at:
Bohne, E., 2011. Conflicts between national regulatory cultures and EU energy regulations. Utilities Policy, Elsevier. 19, pp. 255-269.