Going Green: Greener energy is cheaper in the long run
It might feel like those two issues aren’t connected – what’s the point in even thinking about green policies and pledges and net zero aims when everything is so expensive at the moment? Not to mention the fact we’re heading into an Autumn and winter that will cost households dearly when it comes to staying warm and ever-increasing food prices?
The truth is though, these issues are connected at their heart and that’s why it’s vital that green policies and pledges stay front and centre – they create skilled jobs, improve GDP and reducing pollution also improves the health and welfare of the whole population.
There are so many economic wins of going green and the sooner we act as a country, the less reliant we’ll be on expensive, polluting oil and gas and the more stable the cost of energy production for UK homes will become, which would mean a reduction when it comes to the utility bills that hit our door mats.
We know going green is cheaper – it’s far more cost effective to insulate your home once rather than keep the heating on constantly to make a leaky home warm. Wind and solar power produce electricity far cheaper compared to gas-fired power stations as there are no fuel costs and electric cars are cheaper to own and run than petrol or diesel cars.
We all know when belts are tightened it’s the seemingly surplus things that go, but with our climate so volatile, now is the time to accelerate going green because the impacts of climate change are even deadly serious.
In the Dagenham wild fires last year, only two houses had insurance – that means twelve families had their homes and all their belongings burned and they had no insurance to help them rebuild their lives.
UK house developers are increasingly building “affordable homes” on flood prone areas, not only does this wipe out huge swathes of green belt across the UK, it also means the homes built on these areas are likely to flood. Yet these homes won’t be able to get flood insurance as it’s a known risk when they were built.
There are almost endless reasons why we need green solutions in this country and it’s not just about keeping our energy supplies in UK hands, either. Clean technology creates jobs too. The UK has 469 solar farms across the UK, there are more than 1,500 operational onshore wind farms in the UK and the number of green jobs in the UK is at an all time high. Offshore Wind sector supports over 31,000 jobs and by 2030, the industry will employ over 97,000 people in the UK with 61,000 direct jobs and 36,000 indirect.
If policies which lead to this expansion, innovation and employment are slowed or don’t happen at the pace we desperately need them to, that’s a lot of people missing out on quality work and a lot of prospective investment in the UK that will go elsewhere.
Recently, Jaguar Land Rover owner, Tata, announced it was going to build its flagship electric vehicle battery plant in Somerset which is expected to create 4,000 jobs and many more further down the supply chain.
We need to continually drive our agenda as a green pioneer on a global stage, for the rest of the world to take us seriously as an investment opportunity.
The Confederation of British Industry reported that if the government can stick to its net zero aims, it could boost UK gross domestic product (GDP) by £57 billion by 2030. That could result in more jobs, more hospitals, schools, more investment in green spaces and education, .
Given that scientists like me, business leaders and economists strongly recommend we implement green pledges and policies , it’s entirely possible – if these pledges are actioned – that we can drive down energy and food prices and help those most in need to pay their bills. And crucially we all want a liveable planet.