INTERVIEW: Watch out for the renewables comeback

  • Posted: 15 Nov 2017

Good With Money Interviews Matthew Clayton, MD THRIVE: The thing about renewable energy is: it makes total sense. So much so that it’s hard to understand why any energy would not be renewable, now we have the technology to harness it.

Its marginal cost is basically zero, its supply is infinite and contrary to some opinion, reliable, when used in conjunction with other renewable sources (if you have hydro, solar, wind and tidal – you have no reason to worry about black outs).

Sure, the transition takes a bit of effort, but once it’s done, it’s done. And it really will be done.

Last week, the amazing news broke that offshore wind has become the lowest cost option for large-scale, low-carbon power in the UK, after the price paid for electricity from the turbines fell by more than 50 per cent in two years.

If common sense were the only factor behind energy policy, this news should mean curtains for projects such as Hinkley Point C. However, policy decisions never seems as straightforward as: “this is lower cost and lower carbon, let’s make it happen”.

Another example of energy policy failing to make sense came in 2015, when, just as small scale wind and solar were really cranking up, with the costs and subsidies meeting at just the right place for mainstream investors and developers to see real appeal, the Government swiped away the bulk of the subsidies. Just like that. The move put the brakes on a rapidly accelerating sector over night.

Many developers put the last few projects in the ground, then shut up shop. Homeowners who had been in two minds about getting panels suddenly saw their sums didn’t add up.

It looked like a victory for the anti-wind turbine lobby (which also contains a fair few climate change sceptics). The message from the Government was that it was time for the sector to stand on its own two feet – which had, to be fair, always been the goal. But the sector wasn’t quite ready.

At the time, that decision felt like game over. But Matthew Clayton, managing director of Thrive Renewables, offers a long term perspective, seeing it as a lull from which the sector will soon recover.

Read the full story at the Good With Money website.

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 18th September 2017.