How Effective are ‘Mandatory Renewable Energy Targets’?
No one can dispute that Germany is the world’s leading advocate of solar energy. However, countries like Australia are rapidly progressing in their mission to adopt sustainable energy, as they are beginning to wholeheartedly embrace solar energy. With the Australian government’s decisively enforced ‘Renewable Energy Target (RET)’, a 13 year period has caused 1.2 million homes with solar panels installed on their roofs. In addition to this, development in research has led to an eventual reverse in Australia's reliance on fossil fuels, if the technology can be sustained. The ultimate goal of this scheme is to guarantee that 20% of the country’s electricity is produced from renewable sources by the year 2020. What is great is that solar power magnitude is said to develop even further in the next decade. Australia and Asia aim to increase their rooftop solar panels usage by up to six times in quantity in the next ten years.
Similar to the aforementioned scheme, a majority of other mandatory renewable energy targets aim to reach their objective by 2020. These legally binding objectives (in which 67 countries worldwide are a part of), include large scale and small scale schemes which strive to reach the national objective steadily, while simultaneously targeting a range of small and large regions and by applying first, second and third generation technology in these areas. In 2009, the European Commission initiated a renewable energy policy which enforced all member states of the European Union to abide to the ’20-20-20’ targets, which represent 3 main goals, including a 20% decrease in EU greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels, raising the share of EU energy consumption produced from renewable resources to 20% and an expected 20% increase in the EU's energy efficiency; all by 2020.
The Green Deal is an initiative supported by the government in the UK, which helps people comprehend the energy saving improvements they can personally make on their home, which can be beneficial for a more wide-ranging understanding of the situation on a local and global level. The Green Deal finance loan aims to fund a percentage of the installation costs of micro generation systems at home but is not that productive because costs still remain beyond for the average Brit’s budget.
However, times are changing. On a more local scale, to steadily achieve greater results, solar panels have become much easier to maintain in the United Kingdom. Especially with affordable apparatus such as electrical test equipment, which means you can now maintain your micro generation energy system at home with minimal additional assistance. Communities across the country are also making an effort to adopt more sustainable schemes of energy production, such as The Lancaster Cohousing Project based in Forgebank.
At a glance, it seems that a mandatory renewable energy target can be a beneficial approach for UK to adopt in various ways, both environmentally and financially. In 2013, British Gas raised gas prices by 8.4% and electricity prices by 10.4%, which on average is a 9.2% rise. With the pressure on the nation in terms of household bills, the prospect of renewable energy has become more appealing to all; not just environmentalists. Countries which have proven the potential for substantial progress over a relatively short period of time are Sweden, Estonia and Bulgaria, which have already exceeded their 2020 goal, 6 years ahead of schedule. This progress is due to a substantial growth in production of wind power.
Only time will tell if renewable energy systems in the local community are as reasonable as the promising outcome. The UK still has 6 years to pull something out of the bag, and at the rate technology is developing, who knows what the future holds for everyone.