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.
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.
In 2015, the UK Government announced plans to close all coal power stations by 2025.
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 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:
Try to identify ways in which you waste energy through actions in the home or workplace and put these right.