Is renewable energy the future?
09 April 2009

Time and time again I talk to candidates who when asked about why they want to get into to renewable energy sector say, “well, it’s the future”. This seems to be the accepted view among the general population, but is this the case?
In one sense of course renewable energy is the future – we are fast running out of fossil fuels and the rate of pollution we are currently maintaining is unsustainable. But does anyone really feel that the current forms of renewable energy are how we will solve the imminent ‘energy-crunch’?
Currently the BWEA say that the average wind farm in the UK should pay back the energy used in its manufacture and construction in six to eight months, in comparison with a coal or nuclear power station which take about six months. With the advantage that after that initial payback period the energy is to all intents and purposes entirely free (bar any faults or maintenance), and free of pollution!
With massive jumps being made in improving efficiency and in lowering the cost of producing energy from solar power, and the UK boasting some of the best wave and tidal resources in Europe, other technologies could come to the forefront in the next few years. Many innovative Wave and Tidal renewable energy companies are even starting to reach the deployment and testing stage of their projects.
Although my gut feeling is that the current products being used are not the future, surely putting in investment, resources and talented individuals now is the only way we will ever reach a point when we do have products which can provide us with constant and reliable renewable energy at the flick of a switch.