Electric Britain: Can We Give Up On Fossils?


We’ve already talked extensively about how wind energy is slowly reshaping the way that we produce and consume energy in the UK – but household consumption is just one side of the coin…


Recently, Scotland has been breaking records for the amount of wind energy that they are producing, but the United Kingdom as a whole is still falling well behind targets that were made some time ago.

The Environment is fast becoming an issue that the electorate is prioritising and, thanks to online archival records, promises made by previous governments are slowly being revealed to have not been followed through with.

Electric cars have not caught on as much as manufacturers and politicians would have hoped. Despite there being over 30 different makers producing electric cars for sale in the UK, the British public has proven to be somewhat sceptical when it comes to taking the dive and moving away from traditional fuels. The government’s initial target was for 9% of the UK’s entire fleet to be comprised of electric cars by 2020.

About a year ago, the Guardian reported that the UK was falling well behind this target with 4.5% being a more likely target. Instead of tackling this failure head on, the government has instead decided to make another goal, which has already been the subject of criticism by the newly galvanised public as well as the press.

In a recent statement, the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, has declared that the government is planning on banning the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars by the year 2040 – a plan that he is hoping will incentivise consumers into making the leap to electric motors.  As much as this successfully puts the onus on car manufacturers and drivers alike to start investing in the technology of electric motors, the introduction of this new promise is, to no little surprise, being treated with a certain amount of disdain by the press and environmental bodies.

Motoring experts have already come forward to state that purchasing an electric vehicle at this time is neither practical or commercially viable for consumers; they’ve also said that the government has yet to consider the added strain an increased number of electric vehicles would have on the National Grid. The AA has spoken out on the matter, suggesting that having so many electric cars on the road would also cause the Grid to be put under concentrated pressure, being forced to ‘cope with a mass switch-on after the evening hour‘.

As much as the UK has come along away in the production of clean energy, the increased demand in electricity due to the proposed adoption of electric vehicles is said to potentially cause a shortage potentially leading us to import more of our fuel to make up the difference. The National Grid has reported that peak demand for energy would increase by 50 percent, this extra electricity would be roughly equivalent to 20 times the total output of the (as yet incomplete) Hinckley Point C power station in Somerset.

If the government is going to get on top of it’s proposed Clean Air targets then it’s vital that they find a way of persuading consumers to make the switch – let’s just hope we have enough clean energy to keep the cars running!