The UK energy sector has often been subject to change, but never more so than now. More significantly, it is electricity that is sure to dominate in the years ahead.
For this reason, more electricians and electrical engineers will be needed in the future, which is why electrical power system training will open the door to a very successful career.
Back in the past, things were very different. It was Britain’s huge coal reserves that fuelled the nation’s progress as the first industrial country. Burning coal did not just heat homes. It powered steam turbines and engines, keeping the wheels of industry turning and ensuring goods could be swiftly carried around the country as the world’s first railway services emerged.
However, all that was to change. Whether it was the use of diesel in trains, the arrival of North Sea Gas or the increasing use of crude oil, energy became more diverse and coal was in steep decline long before climate scientists emerged with the first evidence of an anthropocentric climate crisis.
Nowadays it is very rare to see a coal fire and only a few off-grid homes burn oil. Gas remains a major fuel, even though Britain ceased to be self-sufficient in it nearly 20 years ago and relies heavily on imports via the Langeled Pipeline from Norway and the BBL pipeline from the Netherlands.
While gas burning produces far less emissions than coal, it is still not a truly clean source, which is why its use is set to diminish, something that may be even more true following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
While very little of Britain’s gas comes from Russia – in contrast to the massive reliance of nations like Germany – the war has pushed up already high gas prices, inflating energy bills to alarming levels.
All this suggests that green electricity is going to be the way to go. Britain is already generating more from renewables than anything else, supplemented by Nuclear with more reactors planned. The lesson of the last year as demand for hydrocarbons has soared with the easing of the pandemic and war has made matters worse is that energy security is not something that can easily be imported.
With North Sea Gas and oil running out, coal unacceptable but the country able to call on extensive actual and potential resources in terms of wind, hydro and nuclear, Britain’s one clear means of sourcing its energy needs is centred on electricity.
This is not just about how homes, offices or factories are heated and powered. It is also about transport, with electric vehicles set to replace diesel and petrol by the end of the next decade.
This will require both more electricity to be generated and more installations from which to charge up battery-powered cars. Britain is increasingly likely to be at the vanguard of such developments, not least because in a world where China has been trying to control the bulk of the world’s lithium battery supply, some of the richest deposits of the metal have been located in Cornwall.
Add to that the electricity needed to store electronic data and it is clear that the world’s energy solutions are going to be dominated by the provision of greener electricity. That means the engineering and installation skills needed to keep the lights on and the wheels turning will be increasingly invaluable in the years ahead.