Our asks: an energy system powered by renewables

The energy crisis has left us at the mercy of volatile gas prices. To ensure everyone can afford a warm home that doesn’t cost the Earth, we need to transition to cheap, green renewables. Find out how we can transform our energy system.

15 Feb 2023

What’s the problem?

The recent energy crisis has seen the price of gas skyrocket, sending our energy bills through the roof. 

In the UK over 80% of homes are dependent on gas for heating. This over-reliance has made us vulnerable to volatile global gas prices and has left millions of us struggling to afford the energy we need to heat our homes. 

Not only is this dependence on gas making our energy bills unaffordable, but it's also worsening the climate crisis. Currently, heating our homes is responsible for 14% of UK greenhouse gas emissions. 

For too long, we’ve been left paying the price for oil and gas companies’ enormous profits. With gas prices predicted to remain high for at least 5 years, it's time we ended our reliance on this expensive and polluting fossil fuel.

What are the solutions?

To move away from heating our homes using gas, we need to make the shift to electric heating powered by renewables.

Heat pumps provide the best alternative to gas boilers, with new high-temperature models making them suitable for nearly all homes.

Heat pumps don’t burn fossil fuels to provide heating, but instead extract heat from outside and use it to heat water for our radiators and in our hot water tanks. They even work when the air temperature is below freezing. Heat pumps could reduce carbon emissions from home heating by two-thirds.

And to end our reliance on gas long-term, we need the UK to move to a homegrown renewable energy system.

Luckily, we’re blessed with access to vast renewable resources right on our doorstep. We have huge potential to generate clean energy both onshore and offshore from wind and solar.

Two engineers walking along a row of wind turbines with their backs to the camera
Engineers at a wind farm © Credit: Witthaya Prasongsin via Getty Images

And not only is renewable energy good for our planet, but it's good for our pockets too. Homegrown renewable energy is now the cheapest form of electricity. Not only that, but it’s now much quicker and cheaper to build new onshore wind and solar farms than to develop new fossil fuel plants.

Renewable energy is the best choice for the environment, the economy and energy security. We want everyone to be able to afford a warm home, and with renewable energy there’s no reason why we can't all have one.  

What are we calling for?

To transition to an energy system powered by cheap, green renewables, we’re calling for:

  • The removal of unfair planning constraints on onshore wind in England. 
  • Support for the rapid growth of renewable power through the government’s Contracts for Difference scheme, which offers renewable energy projects a guaranteed price for the energy they produce.
  • Investment in upgrading electricity networks so that they’ll cope with greater demand when electric vehicles and electric heating, such as heat pumps, become the norm.
  • A change to the way electricity is priced, so it’s no longer tied to the cost of gas. At the peak of gas prices, this led to electricity costing 9 times more than it costs to generate renewable electricity. Changing this will mean renewable energy could be much cheaper, bringing down household energy bills. 
  • An urgent switch to heating powered by renewable power, primarily through heat pumps. 

By switching to renewables, the UK can move beyond dirty, expensive gas and become a country powered by homegrown renewable energy. This’ll not only help the planet but also bring down our energy bills and ensure everyone can afford to live in warm homes that don’t cost the Earth.