Article Source: IMechE
Matt Rooney, Engineering Policy Adviser at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, comments on the Labour Party’s new energy plan.
“Labour’s new energy plan sets ambitious targets for faster decarbonisation, with a target of 85% electricity coming from low-carbon technologies like wind, solar and nuclear by 2030. Such ambition is to be commended. The focus on energy efficiency, which is widely regarded to be an area in which the country has fallen short, is also timely.
However, the policy of mandating solar on ‘every viable rooftop’ is misguided. This is an expensive way of generating electricity from solar energy. It would be more efficient, and less expensive, to direct the same resources towards dedicated solar farms that can be more readily optimised to produce electricity and that will not require expensive installation costs associated with rooftop solar.
The cost of solar panels has fallen rapidly in recent years, to the point that solar power can compete on cost with convention fossil fuel power plants. Whichever party is in Government should enable the roll-out of more solar capacity, but it would be a mistake to enforce an unnecessarily expensive method of production when cheaper alternatives are available”