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King's Lynn Corn Exchange's Norfolk Chamber of Commerce and borough council Climate Expo on the longest day perfect for solar power lovers

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Did you know that it would take just one per cent of Great Britain’s land surface, covered in solar panels, to produce enough electricity that our nation consumes?

We would need to cover just eight per cent of land with solar panels to produce enough energy to replace oil use altogether. That includes all transportation. Just 8pc. Which is very close to the amount of land that is built on for people to live and the same amount as land used exclusively as grouse moor!

Not a great deal really is it? And that’s without wind turbines or hydro power, just solar.

The King's Lynn Corn Exchange on the Tuesday Market Place.
The King's Lynn Corn Exchange on the Tuesday Market Place.

There’s actually enough solar energy hitting planet earth in one hour to provide all the electricity needed for the whole planet for a whole year! We just need to harness more of it, that’s all.

So, if there’s so much of this ‘free’ energy, why do we pay so much for the electricity we use at home?

Well, energy markets are complex and I’m not here to explain or try and justify any one nation’s position but I do find it interesting to hear British politicians telling us the energy crisis is global and that all countries are seeing massive price hikes and the post pandemic supply crunch hit home.

Tuesday Market Place.
Tuesday Market Place.

Here in the UK we pay more for our energy than 95 per cent of other countries. That goes for oil and gas as well. Taxation is one major factor on the price of oil for burning in old fashioned combustion engines. I read recently that we, the taxpayer, take around 42 per cent from the price of a litre of diesel in tax and duties.

We then elect people to spend that money wisely for the benefit of the nation. At least that’s what’s supposed to happen, but no. Our current government subsidises the fossil fuel industry with billions of pounds of our money whilst cutting back on grant funding and incentives for you to take up renewables or to insulate your homes that were built for yesterday’s energy!

There is some taxpayer money going into renewables and de-carbonisation measures so it’s not all one sided. Let’s take a look locally, with our own council here in West Norfolk.

Well, on Tuesday at the Corn Exchange, in conjunction with the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, the borough council hosted a Climate Expo. An all-day event on the longest day. Perfect for solar lovers like me.

So, there we were, 20 to 25 Norfolk businesses all set up for a massive networking and talking shop. We saw local businesses who make cutlery and coffee pods from wheat-based products that are 100 per cent biodegradable within 12 months. Imagine a take-away, a picnic, a snack on the move or just a cup of your favourite coffee and producing zero waste? Well now you can.

Tuesday Market Place was filled with electric cars, car charging companies, electric mobility bikes and scooters and the main theatre was abuzz with inspiration, innovation and some amazing companies.

Like the geothermal team who displayed how deep we need to go into the earth to abstract heat for different applications. These people are actually repurposing old oil and gas wells, going a little deeper and taking heat from 6km down under!

The councillor in charge of climate and environmental measures locally, Paul Kunes, opened the day and talked about how the council is spending our money.

On ground and air source heating for council owned buildings. Solar panels to generate energy in leisure centres.

Using our money to reduce our bills which will save us, as taxpayers, millions of pounds going forward. That’s a good use of our money as far as I’m concerned.

If only the national Government worked on behalf of the people they represent, like the local government do, what a world we would live in, eh?

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