Sustainable energy

Sustainable energy

Generating heat, electricity, and fuel is essential to power our homes, hospitals, and transport systems. We need to reduce our overall energy consumption in order to meet our carbon reduction targets.

Some forms of energy produce greenhouse gases in production and use. Energy sources can also pollute natural and community resources. Oil and coal produce unsustainable amounts of greenhouse gases. Oil spills can cause extensive and long-lasting damage to communities and wildlife. Shale gas extraction can pollute groundwater resources.

Wind and solar components require rare earth metals which are difficult to extract. Conditions for workers in energy extraction sectors can be dangerous and harmful to health.

Biomass generation can be a source of unsustainable deforestation or compete with food supplies. Hydropower dams can compromise water resources for communities and wildlife.

Nuclear waste can be difficult to contain, and radiation exposure is dangerous to human and environmental health.

Energy supplies may be compromised by extreme weather. There is potential to localise energy sources to increase energy security and with the added benefits of communities receiving dividends from shares.

 

What the public sector is doing:

World / Europe:

At COP23 (2017) multiple countries announced they would phase out coal power.

FAO (UN) has developed a‘Bioenergy and Food Security Approach’ with resources available to help create and implement sustainable bioenergy and food security policies.

 

UK:

In 2015, the UK Government announced plans to close all coal power stations by 2025.

 

Wales:

The Welsh Government has set the following targets for renewable and locally owned energy:
– 70% of energy consumed in Wales to be generated from renewables by 2030
– One Gigawatt of renewable energy capacity to be locally owned by 2030
– By 2020, new renewable energy projects to have at least an element of local ownership

The Welsh Government has strategies in place to decarbonise the energy sector in Wales; including their ‘Energy Efficiency Strategy’ and ‘Energy Wales: A Low Carbon Transition’

The National Assembly for Wales has researched the potential for a low carbon energy future in Wales through their reports; ‘Low Carbon Energy in Wales’ and‘A Smarter Energy Future for Wales’.

The Welsh Government Warm Homes Nest scheme aims to tackle fuel poverty by improving the energy efficiency of existing homes across Wales.

Local Energy provides finance and technical support to develop renewable energy schemes

The Re:fit Cymru programme provides professional support to Welsh public sector organisations to help them identify, develop and implement projects that will secure substantial financial cost savings, improve the energy performance of their buildings and reduce their CO2 footprint.

 

What the third sector is doing:

Find out more about renewable energy generation and community energy projects from the resources listed below:

10:10 Climate Action– take part in campaigns to champion renewable energy

Bridgend County Energy Challenge – The challenge aims to get people in Bridgend thinking and acting on energy issues through doing things like seeking help with their energy bills, making their home more energy efficient or getting together with their community to set up a local energy project in their area

Centre for Alternative Technology – offers short courses and postgraduate training in sustainable energy

Community Energy Wales – a network of and for communities working on energy in Wales

Energy Local – network of local energy clubs

Energy Savings Trust – support to help groups to engage their communities with climate change and take action on energy efficiency and renewable energy production

Green Alliance: Renewable Energy Locator – find out what renewable energy projects are present in your area

Renewable UK – renewable energy trade association, providing information, support, and policy forums on renewable energy

Severn Wye Energy Agency – provides advice on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy sustainability

South East Wales Energy Agency – provides advice on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy sustainability

Zero Carbon Britain – guide to sustainable future of energy in the UK

 

How you can make a difference:

Make your home or workplace more energy efficient with these tips from the Carbon Trust and Energy Saving Trust.

Try to identify ways in which you waste energy through actions in the home or workplace and put these right.

Consider generating your own renewable energy by installing solar panels or a biomass boiler.

If owning renewables is not an option, consider buying shares in a local energy scheme or switch to a renewable energy supplier.