Renewable Energy: What’s in it for us?

Solar System | 17 May 2024

There’s a lot of talk about renewable energy these days. This is particularly true in the world of electric vehicles (EVs). Solar car chargers like the Powerverse VCHRGD have proven to be a great green choice and a convenient and cost-effective way to charge your electric car. They fit firmly with the UK government’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to absolute zero by 2050. In fact, transitioning to an electricity system powered by renewable resources is at the heart of the government’s net-zero plan. 

But what exactly is renewable energy and will consumers truly reap its growing benefits?

In this article, we’re going to go through everything you always wanted to know about renewable energy but were afraid to ask!

What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy comes from natural, unlimited sources that constantly renew themselves at a rate that allows us to meet our energy needs–we’re talking solar, wind, biomass and hydropower here. This is unlike fossil fuels such as coal and oil, which take millions of years to form and, as the science shows, look likely to run out this century.

Also unlike fossil fuels, renewables emit little to no harmful greenhouse gases (GHG) or other pollutants into the air. 

A future lack of GHG in the atmosphere will help the climate to stabilise and benefit wildlife populations. It will also help human health. According to research from Harvard, air pollution from burning fossil fuels like coal and diesel is responsible for approximately 1 in 5 deaths worldwide. And because health is also a financial matter, when the air is safer to breathe and our health is less affected, we’ll be able to high-five lower health care bills. 

Benefits of renewable energy

So, what are some of the further benefits of switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy? Actually, there are a lot:

Benefit #1: Renewable energy is decreasing in cost

Electricity from renewable resources has the reputation of being costly. But this rep is outdated. It stems from the initial investment governments channelled into building wind turbines, solar farms, hydroelectric and geothermal plants in the 1970s and onwards. 

However, the scale of renewable energy installations has since grown, driving down overall costs. Moreover, maintaining these stations and storage plants is far less painful on the pocket than fossil fuel power stations. After all, renewable energy tech doesn’t require any fuel to keep it powering. 

The commitment that governments in Britain and beyond have made to transition to zero-carbon electricity generation has also brought into being various green policies and incentives. These are aimed at encouraging businesses and private individuals to adopt renewable energy. 

Benefit #2: Renewable energy is environmentally-friendly

One of the biggest boons of renewable energy is its environmental credentials. Truth talk: All energy technologies, including that of renewables, can cause some emissions. But overall, minimum carbon and greenhouse gases are passed into the atmosphere through renewable energy production. Whilst the main arguments found are around carbon and GHG, other pollutants have a real impact on quality of life. This is why many cities are setting up clean air zones including London’s ULEZ.

Renewable energy also has minimal impact on ecosystems and wildlife habitats. Pollutions emitted by fossil fuels disrupt the supply and quality of birds and animals’ food and water supplies, and the safety of their habitats. 

And, of course, most renewable energy sources are sustainable, replenishing themselves naturally without sucking dry finite resources.

Benefit #3: Renewable energy won’t run out

The great thing about renewable energy is that it is… well, renewable. For example, the sun is set to shine each day for the next 5 billion years. Similarly, we won’t have to worry about a lack of wind to keep wind turbines turning – especially not on these islands! It’s an abundant and inexhaustible resource so, like solar and other renewable energies, using its power does not deplete our natural resources.  

Benefit #4: Supplies of renewable energy are stable

The negative impact on the supply of power during the COVID lockdowns and the subsequent Russian war reminded us of one very significant point: Access to fossil fuels is heavily influenced by political problems, market instabilities, war and other outside human forces.

But wind, solar and hydropower? Yeah, we can pretty much depend on all countries having less strife-riven access to these supplies. The fact that renewable energy is produced locally too strengthens this likelihood.

Of course, natural renewables do not always produce power consistently. However technological advances over the last few decades have increased storage capabilities when energy is in ample supply.  

Types of renewable energy

There are several different types of renewable energy, though all come from six areas:

Solar, wind, biomass, hydropower, geothermal energy, and marine energy.

Solar energy

Solar energy is simply energy captured from the sun’s rays. There are two types:

  • Photovoltaic solar energy uses panels to soak up sunlight and turn it into electricity. 
  • Thermal solar energy, on the other hand, uses collectors to absorb and focus sunlight to produce heat. 

While solar power thrives in direct sunlight, it’s a myth that it doesn’t work on gloomy days. It does–making it a great option for cloudy climates like that of the UK.

Other factors also make solar a superstar among its sustainable power peers. For one, it’s an unlimited source. No one’s expecting the sun to switch off anytime soon. Secondly, it doesn’t release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere or emit any waste. This makes it a 100% clean source. Plus, solar energy is produced silently, which kicks to the curb any worries about noise pollution.

Solar energy adoption has increased rapidly in the last few years and is set to become the most relied-upon energy resource by 2027. This has greatly helped to reduce installation and usage costs. And even while some consumers fitting solar panels on their private residences may feel a squeeze on their purse with the upfront payout, this outlay is typically recouped within 5-15 years. 

Wind energy

Wind energy utilises the kinetic energy of the wind to generate electricity through wind turbines. Onshore wind farms are on land, while offshore wind farms are in bodies of water like oceans or lakes. 

Like solar power, wind energy is abundant and unlimited. It’s also clean, emitting no CO2 while it’s being generated. 

In the UK, offshore and onshore wind power is the largest renewable energy source, contributing just under 29% of total electricity generation in 2023. This is a large leap up from previous years and points once more to the growth of renewable energies in the government’s overall net zero plan.  


Biomass energy involves the conversion of organic materials, such as crop and forest residues, wood, and animal waste, into heat, electricity, or biofuels. It’s packed with stored chemical energy from the sun, produced by plants through photosynthesis.  This is why it can be burned directly for heat or converted to liquid and gaseous fuels. 

As a result, it has the unique advantage of being used across the electricity, heat, and transport sectors, earmarking it as an essential part of the British government’s shift from the use of traditional fossil fuels. 

Britain is already a global leader in biomass technologies, with this particular renewable currently accounting for 5.2% of its energy outlay. 

However, according to a recent report,  more long-term assurances and financing are needed, particularly in support of potential energy crop growers, if the UK is relying on biomass to contribute towards its net zero goal across multiple economic sectors.  


Hydropower uses flowing water to make electricity. Using water as a source of energy isn’t anything new. As early as the fourth century BCE, the Persians were using water wheels to irrigate fields and grind grain. Fast forward to the Industrial Revolution in 19th century Britain, and water was also the go-to energy source for new and exciting inventions.

Today hydropower continues to work with dams and rivers. In dams, water is stored and then released to spin turbines, while rivers’ natural flow powers turbines directly. 

Clean and convenient, hydropower is hailed as the most reliable renewable energy available in the world. However, the initial costs of building a hydropower plant are similar to those forked out for fossil fuel factories. It’s also susceptible to droughts, which may become more common as climate change continues to heat up our planet.  

Geothermal energy

Geothermal energy taps into the Earth’s heat to generate electricity or provide heating and cooling for buildings. It utilises heat from deep underground reservoirs of hot water or steam. While it’s an energy resource present everywhere, it can only be harnessed in locations with specific physical conditions. Hot springs, geysers, or even volcanoes – these are the geothermal power sweet spots. 

As with others, there are a lot of benefits to this renewable. For starters, geothermal power plants only require modest amounts of space,  making their visual impact generally smaller than wind turbines or water dams. Plus, they also don’t generate emissions and provide power non-stop, 24/7, 365 days a year.

Marine energy

Marine energy, also known as ocean energy, encompasses various technologies that harness the energy from the ocean’s tides, waves, and currents. Typically, it comes in two forms–tidal and wave energy.

Tidal energy captures the energy from the rise and fall of tides, while wave energy converts the motion of waves into electricity. However, marine currents can also be harnessed to generate power. 

Highly predictable due to the cyclical nature of waves, tides, and currents, this kind of clean, renewable energy is a perfect complement to other energy sources such as solar and wind. 

Additionally, a great advantage of marine energy is its potential to deliver clean power to remote or rural communities far from any power grid.

Renewable energy on the grid

The increasing integration of renewable energy sources like solar and wind into the power grid has presented consumers with more affordable energy overall. “Free” sun and wind power doesn’t just mean cleaner energy; potentially, it also means cheaper bills. 

How renewables keep your costs down

Using smart meters, consumers can schedule their energy usage around weather patterns, taking advantage of the times when renewable energy generation is high, such as sunny days or windy nights. This energy can then be used to charge electric cars if you have a solar-ready charger or power up appliances. 

The beauty of this is that as well as helping folk trim their bills, it can also balance the grid by aligning consumption with renewable energy availability. 

Shop around and save: Many energy suppliers now offer more affordable two-rate and dynamic tariffs for off-peak charging or periods of excess generation on the grid. Shop around to find the energy retailers who can help you stay green AND gut your bills even further. 

Generate and save: Those who generate their own electricity through rooftop solar panels or small wind turbines can also save big on annual bills. For instance, by regularly using energy generated from solar panels, a typical household with a 3.5 kilowatt-peak system could save anywhere between £135 and £360 per year at the current (May 2024) Energy Price Cap rates.

Sell and save: There’s also money to be made by selling excess power back to the grid in times of high demand or low renewable energy generation. Under the smart export guarantee (SEG) scheme that launched in January 2020, British householders can receive payments from their electricity suppliers for sending surplus electricity onwards to the National Grid. You’ll need a smart meter to track your energy usage, and there are some criteria to meet. Also, the energy retailer must be a SEG licence. You can find a list of SEG suppliers here

These are optimum ways to save pennies and pounds while shrinking your carbon footprint. 

But here’s another big win: Those who adopt renewable energy usage and initiatives are also helping to build a strong and sustainable energy system for the future. Why not be part of it? You can take your first step today. Consider investing in solar panels or switching to an electric car when replacing your current vehicle. 

If you’ve already made the EV leap, why not save costs as well as the planet by ordering a solar-ready EV charger that allows you to plug in from the comfort of your home? 

It’s time to take the future back. We can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and develop sustainable energy supplies. Better yet–we can start it today.

Find out more about Solar-Ready Chargers and Solar Panels

So, if you’re interested in getting fit for the future, check out our solar-ready VCHRGD Seven charger. Rigorously tested, it’s compatible with all other sustainable tech and has been approved by the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles.

Additionally, if you’re considering installing solar panels, we’d be more than happy to recommend several trusted partners who can provide and install them for you. The main features you need to look out for are efficiency, compatibility, quality and warranty. 

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