The future is renewable, and it is affordable, say the people of Energy Alton
In 2016, a quarter of the UK’s electricity was generated from renewable sources – solar, wind (onshore and offshore) and tidal power. On many days in summer 2017, over half of the UK’s electricity generation was renewable. With its high level of sunlight, Hampshire is the largest producer of solar photovoltaic energy in the UK and capacity continues to increase.
The cost of solar panels has fallen 99% since 1977 (that’s not a typo!) and in many parts of the world solar power is now cheaper, without any subsidy, than fossil fuels. Large-scale battery storage facilities are developing fast.
Community group Energy Alton strongly supports renewable energy locally to help allay serious climate change and reduce pollution. In 2014 they won an award from the National Energy Foundation for installing a solar photovoltaic system on Alton Library. They are now encouraging local schools to install solar panels.
Free energy advice
Energy Alton is not just about renewable energy. The team can help you save energy and money, and increase your comfort. Run entirely by volunteers, the group has no commercial interest – just the public’s interest. They offer:
• Free home energy surveys and, in winter, thermal imaging surveys
• Advice on lighting, insulation, damp problems, renewable energy
There are public talks on a wide range of environmental issues, such as climate change and plastic waste.
Electric vehicles have arrived
It’s not just in the home, but on the road, that Energy Alton can help, especially as the Government annouces plans to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040, amid fears that air pollution from vehicle emissions poses a major risk to public health. Electric cars have zero tailpipe emissions which is crucial in the fight against climate change.
Costs are falling – calculated over four years, electric cars in the UK are now cheaper than petrol or diesel, taking into account both purchase and running costs. The mileage from one battery charge is now up to 150+ miles and even 250 + miles for some models. Charge points are becoming much more widely available, too.
If this subject has intrigued, and you want to hear more about Energy Alton, come to one of their monthly meetings, from 7.30pm, in Alton Community Centre, GU34 1HN. This is a free event with a bar. Why not become a member – it’s only £3 a year? Or get in touch about volunteering, the work is interesting and you don’t need to be an energy expert, just passionate about the future of energy.