From this April, the average domestic energy bill will rocket by over 50% as providers are forced to absorb huge increases in gas costs thanks to supply chains across the world that are heavily affected by regional geopolitics and adjustments to demand. The Covid pandemic has only exacerbated these anomalies and helped to drive greater fluctuations with delays to supply and operations.
But why can't renewable energy stop the UK from being strangled by rising gas prices, especially as renewable sources have grown by over 100% in the last eight years? The reality is we're still dependent on fossil fuels, and our ongoing love of coal and gas means that we'll be paying the price for the foreseeable future.
Renewable energy in the UK isn't yet big enough to meet capacity. Renewable supplies to the National Grid hit around 40% on average, from solar, wind, hydro and biomass.
Clean energy doesn't contribute more because we still use fossil fuels on a heavy basis, mainly to meet demand variations by switching fossil fuel power stations on or off or running them at different speeds as demand changes.
Renewable power is still largely dependent on the weather. For example, in Q3 of last year, energy prices rose because the expected autumn winds were lower than usual, and wind energy dropped by 17% against the previous year, forcing gas to be used.
Storage also remains a key issue with up to 40Gw of energy required for the UK's national grid at peak user times. Huge banks of batteries would be needed across the nation to meet demand with renewables on still, overcast days. The incentive to find solutions - localism, better planning and others - is certainly strong, though, as bills prepare to rocket.