Our CEO Juliet Davenport spoke at an energy conference in London recently, and it's given us a lot to think about. Juliet talked passionately about the future of the UK's energy sector, and the changing role of renewables, consumers and batteries in delivering energy to our homes and businesses.
Juliet believes it will be a combination of consumer behaviour and disruptive technologies that will drive the transition towards a low-carbon energy sector and a sustainable economy for all. Unless consumers want the change, it can be difficult for Government to introduce short term policy that supports long-term climate benefits. When consumers are driven by a concern for the health and wellbeing of themselves and others – for instance, the impacts of a changing climate or illegal levels of air pollution – they have the energy and impetus to steer the Government to make the right choices.
We have seen a massive take up of solar and wind in recent years, which has brought the costs right down and given a huge boost to UK renewable generation. But disruptive technological change is not all about reducing costs. It is about the unforeseen inventions and the new ways of using and combining technology. Juliet thinks the transformation will happen through social uprising, where customers generate, share and consume energy in new and exciting ways.
The changing world means you cannot predict the future by looking at the past. In 1894, The Times reported that within 50 years London would be buried under 9ft of horse manure! This, of course, never happened. Urban civilisation was not doomed - along came the internal combustion engine and the Model T Ford.
Consumers have the energy and impetus to steer the government to make the right choices.
Nowadays, increasing numbers of cars, vans and buses in our cities are having an awful impact on urban air quality. If particulates and air pollution are the horse manure of today, then what are the options to dig ourselves out? The Government's recent plan to improve air quality in our towns and cities does not provide the answer we need.
But perhaps one of the solutions lies in electric vehicles (EVs). When run on renewable electricity, they produce no pollution whilst driving, and the renewable power can be sourced from small power generators from across the UK, or even from rooftop solar panels on your street. There are of course big barriers to overcome before everyone can use EVs to meet their needs here in the UK, but as EVs are able to drive further before needing a top up, and the places to do so become more widely distributed, there will be little to hold them back.
Here at Good Energy we think consumers will help shape the use of energy over the next 20 or 30 years, driving and owning the transition to a low-carbon world. Be part of that change and join Good Energy.