We’ve passed the half-way mark into the first month of 2020 and all the grande visions declared in the past have either come to pass or are under revision. Britain’s “vision 2050” however is now only 30 years away and the groundwork is astounding. The UK is on the march to becoming carbon-neutral which will radically change not only the way energy is produced by the nation but also help to change the course of major discussions about climate change.
In June 2019 when the declaration was first made, Britain was the first of the G7 countries to take that stand. Since then, the European Union has revealed its decision to come on board and fuel the vision with a $1 trillion donation to be issued over the course of 10 years.
This is not expected to be a small feat. Abandoning the traditional use of fossil fuel to generate energy is challenging for any country that has come to rely on it. The UK is known for its role in the industrial revolution that forever changed the way we do business on a global scale and experience cross Atlantic transportation. All this was powered by coal. The numbers speak for themselves; fossil fuel-generated electricity from sources like natural gas, oil and coal stands at about a staggering 40 percent in the UK!
When hydrocarbons are burned, there is a spike in carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere which further depletes the ozone layer, traps heat in the atmosphere and significantly contributes to global warming and therefore climate change. The 2050 vision is intended to allow industries and larger technological developers sufficient time to create the necessary technology needed to not just change the current practices, but replace them with more sustainable options.
While some may wish to argue that 30 years is not enough time to make the necessary changes on a global level, it should bring hope to the possibilities of future prolonged success when we consider that in 2019 Britain was able to generate electricity for 2 weeks without burning coal and that in Q3 of 2019, fossil fuels generated less electricity than renewable energy sources.
There has been quite a bit of progress noted in the North Sea over the last few decades in the attempt to transition to renewable energy sources. Workers that were once stationed on gas and oil rigs were re-stationed to offshore wind platforms.
There are about 174 wind turbines, standing at about 100 meters tall, with blades of about 75 meters that produce about 7 megawatts of energy, spaced out at about 400 square kilometers of the seabed or about 40 by 15 kilometers. That’s a lot of numbers that all add up to something really powerful. On record, just one rotation of the turbine has been found to generate enough energy to fuel one average-sized home and just one wind farm is projected to generate sufficient energy to supply about 1 million homes with clean electricity over the course of one year.
The underwater cable connectivity of the turbines from the sea bed to the national energy grid significantly reduces our carbon footprint and there is also a process called carbon capture and storage (CSS) whereby carbon dioxide which is generally produced by oil and gas, is removed and stored in empty reservoirs.
Currently, I live opposite the beach in Whitstable, Kent and I have two wind farms within my eyesight the closest one being Kentish Flats Offshore Wind Farm. Besides being simply beautiful to watch from a distance, these turbines have already begun yielding impressive results which are projected to have far-reaching effects and help us meet our 2050 goal of building a world that will not only be around for another 30 years but sustain itself through the use of green energy.