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September brought the Renewable Power Generation (RPG) 2022 conference. RPG 2022 came at a time when the need for renewable energy has never been greater, and it was so good for those of us that could be there to be back in Savoy Place rather than following on a screen.  As well as bringing together international academics, researchers, engineers, and consultants working in renewable energy, we had the opportunity to hear first-hand from those charged with government responsibilities around achieving net zero. 

My session at RPG sought to help answer the question raised in a report published earlier this year, ‘UK renewables – limitless energy or a precious resource?'. This report and the presentation included quite a lot of background information on the scale of available renewable resources and likely energy requirements, along with security and storage possibilities. You may be interested in the slides, which can be downloaded below.

Alongside this, members of the IET’s Energy Panel produced a survey to capture opinions from peers in the energy sector about the many challenges we’re facing. The survey included 20 questions to gain views on the extent to which businesses and individuals are addressing net zero, barriers to progress, skills and other issues. The results  (available here) are particularly interesting - some standout points being:

  • 60% of respondents felt that there is good knowledge about what is needed to transition the energy sector to renewables
  • Over half of respondents believe that most of the technologies required to support the transition to net zero exist today, with a smaller group seeing the need for further innovation.
  • Engineering skills needs were seen as a key shortfall, with a lack of strategy in education cited as a key barrier to the development of appropriate skills.

Whilst it was good to see the level of individual engagement and personal actions, the most worrying output was that less than 1% of respondents believe that the UK has the leadership and commitment to achieve net zero in the timescales required – yes, that’s less than 1%!

What are your thoughts? Is your organisation prepared, or preparing to meet net zero targets? What might the IET and the Energy Panel do to most effectively help build consensus on the needs and actions so vital for 2050?