A recent interview with Boris Johnson sees the Prime Minister claiming that he wants the UK to become the “Saudi Arabia of Wind”. The North Sea is now home to the world's largest offshore wind farm, and has around 3,589 offshore turbines, producing monumental amounts of energy. It is said each rotation of a turbine can power an average home for a day.
Danish renewable energy giant Orsted has installed about half of the UK's offshore wind capacity. This FDI has in turn increased the UK’s renewable energy capacities. This has meant the UK can become less dependent on polluting energy sources such as coal and gas, but be more eco-friendly and closer to the 2050 target to become carbon neutral. This, as a result, increases overall public health as fewer people contract pollution correlated diseases, and as a result, the NHS is under less strain with health care. This decreases waiting lists that are already exceeding 5,000,000 and allows people to get the treatment they need.
However, other nations are still polluting vast amounts, such as developing nations China and India. China is the world's biggest polluter due to its industrialisation, which therefore sparks controversy as many people think they should be allowed to develop before implementing climate regulation, as the UK has done post the 19/20th century.
Nevertheless, they still negatively impact air quality, with China having the most populous country as well at 1.4 billion people, and with a rising middle class means demand for polluting vehicles such as cars rises too, therefore increasing emissions further. But, it is now cheaper to construct solar panels and wind turbines compared to burning fossil fuels, Bloomberg reports. This means that although this is an option for future Chinese production, they still have to decommission many thousands of factories still in heavy use. It has been reported the cost of solar panels has fallen by 4% as a result of an increased supply and technological advancements in the renewable industries.
The development of green energy such as solar and wind within nations such as the UK, through Siemens, and America, through Biden’s green jobs plan will further increase the availability and supply of green energy production. This will also lead to the development of specialised industries within these nations where excess production can be exported. This means that even countries that perhaps can't afford infrastructure or the foundations for a renewable energy supply, can still access this from other countries, and possibly receive aid in the form of renewable energy such as wind turbines too.
Furthermore, countries such as Sudan or Egypt which are exposed to large quantities of solar rays throughout the year can also reap the benefits of solar panels and also export their own energy as the world seeks to maximise sustainable energy security. Therefore, through external economies of scale, this excess production can be sold to nations such as China and India, thus helping these nations transition from burning fossil fuels. Hence, developed nations have a responsibility to develop and innovate green technology to then make it more available for developing nations to decrease carbon emissions in future, and make it more available and enabling lower developed economies to make this change sooner rather than later.
Written by Euan Taylor