The Key to our Zero-Carbon Future is Renewable Electricity
A zero-carbon future is an electric future. As well as the electric products we rely on today, in a decarbonised world we will be plugging in more electric transport, heat and industry to the grid. This switch is only possible and environmentally sound because of the rapid expansion in renewable electricity.
A decade ago we could barely imagine 10% of our national electricity demand being met by renewables, yet in 2019 that figure was 37% and rising. Renewables now regularly make up more of the electricity mix than fossil fuels and in coal generation has been all-but phased out of the UK power system. The UK has led the way in deployment of many of the technologies that have scaled up quickly to meet the challenge – particularly onshore wind, followed by offshore wind. As I regularly remind colleagues the first commercial scale offshore wind farm in the UK was delivered here in Wales. That industry now goes from strength to strength delivering green jobs and investment in Wales and across the UK.
But in order to keep this progress going and to hit our legally binding commitment of net-zero emissions by 2050 (Lib Dem policy is 2045) we need all forms of renewable electricity – large scale and small scale.
Here in Cardiff we have examples of smaller scale projects being delivered by Cardiff Council like Radyr Weir and the new solar farm under construction on Lamby Way.
These projects will be a vital part of the electricity mix. The question is whether there is an opportunity for more schemes to go forward if the council did more to engage local communities in Cardiff with these projects? While it is right for the council to take the construction risks for these sites, there seems to be an opportunity for the Council to offer local people an opportunity to invest in these projects. By doing so it might free up capital for the council to seek the next scheme, but might also encourage community energy groups to take a more active role in delivery of renewables in Cardiff. I know, for example, that there is an ongoing discussion about rooftop solar on leisure centres to be explored across the city – could a collaboration between Council, energy groups, and Better finally secure a renewable energy scheme that communities across the city could take a direct interest in?
I’ve worked in renewable energy for over a decade and it is an absolute privilege to work with superb teams delivering some of the larger scale projects that have transformed the electricity system of Wales and the UK. As a candidate I would champion delivery of more renewable electricity schemes in Wales, and look to ensure that we delivered as much as possible in Cardiff, working in partnership with Cardiff Council and local communities.
We owe it to future generations (including my campaign team!) to work faster and harder to make a clean electricity future a reality.
Let’s make a difference; let’s deliver green, clean power that is made in Cardiff.