Energy - Time for a New Generation

23/05/2014 12:26 BST | Updated 22/07/2014 10:59 BST

Tackling bad news with good ideas

Energy is a topic that's seldom out of the headlines.

Whether it is rising prices, uncertainty over the sourcing of fossil fuels, discussions about onshore wind turbines, plans to change the structure for solar subsidies or the likelihood of power cuts, hardly a day goes by when energy is not the focus of at least one major news story.

There is good reason for this: the UK's future energy security is of vital importance to us all.

At the moment, we're heavily reliant on imports of the fuel we need to make electricity, and this reliance is increasing year on year. Good Energy's latest analysis, released today at the Hay Festival, shows that the UK imported around 61% of the fuel it used to generate electricity in 2012, up by 12 % from 2011.

It might surprise you to know that just three countries - Russia, Colombia and Norway -supply more than a quarter of the fuel we use to generate electricity. Overall, more than 50% is supplied from outside Europe. A little over a third of the fuel we need comes from within the UK.

Yet at the same time British renewables have shown tremendous growth. According to our calculations natural sources like sun, wind and water provided over a quarter of all the UK-based fuel used to generate electricity in 2012. Unlike other indigenously produced energy, renewable capacity continues to rise, with generation up 28% in 2013. Just as an example, in 2013, renewables generated enough electricity to power the equivalent of 12.5 million homes - that's twice the number of households in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Southampton, Nottingham, Sheffield, Bristol and Brighton combined. The potential of renewables to support UK energy independence is enormous.

And the appetite is out there: look at the phenomenal success of the Feed-in Tariff. There are now 430,000 installations across the UK, with a combined total capacity of more than 2GW. Ninety-nine per cent of these installations are solar photovoltaics - in itself an indication of the huge popularity of this relatively new technology.

And here at Good Energy, we've seen a 28% growth in our network of home and commercial micro-generators in the past 12 months, showing this trend is no flash in the pan.

We believe there is an enormous opportunity for us as a country to work towards a future free from fossil fuels. We need to get everyone involved, today; a new generation of people, business and society working together for a cleaner, more secure future. Let's tackle this bad news with good ideas, both technological and cultural, to create a better energy legacy for generations to come.

Good Energy is attending the renowned Hay Festival this year with the aim of stimulating debate about the way we approach climate change and how we can fill the energy gap in the future.