The founder of a British energy firm has compared the UK’s uptake of renewable energy to the invention of the lightbulb – which was derided for 79 YEARS before becoming accepted.
Steven Day of Pure Planet said it is within Britain’s power to turn 100% carbon free now there are cheaper alternatives to fossil burning energy to fuel Britain’s 28 million homes.
But he said it was important that people see renewable energy as part of a solution to climate change rather than how it is often wrongly portrayed – as a niche product for only those who can afford it.
Speaking at a TedxBrighton event, he said: “When I tell people that Britain will be 100% powered by renewable energy in my lifetime, I get derided. It’s worth remembering the same thing happened to those who invented the lightbulb more than 200 years ago.”
Steven said pioneers throughout history had similarly been chastised for being the first to have a single brilliant idea. As well as the lightbulb, innovators who championed a round, not flat earth and even the man who invented the umbrella was seen as a laughing stock.
He added: “It’s remarkable that something as synonymous for bright ideas, the lightbulb, actually took 79 years from its first incarnation to when it was actually launched in 1879. Even then it was met by hostility by the establishment.
“Members of the British parliament dismissed it as ‘unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific men’.
“The head engineer at the Post Office – in the throes of championing the wireless radio – called it “an absolute ‘ ignis fatuus’. In other words, a sham.
“ The New York banker JP Morgan went entirely against his father’s advice and invested all he had in this one, lonely thought and with Edison, created the world’s first power station and connected half of Manhattan – and in turn, the world – to electric light.
“Still the establishment wasn’t happy. Every home and business lit electrically was a customer lost to Rockefeller which supplied kerosene to the oil-powered lamps. So he started planting scare stories in the press rubbishing lightbulbs as dangerous. Aka fake news. Ringing any bells? People scared of change scaring other people with fake news?
“But the idea was too good to never catch on. As Edison said himself: “If you think you can stop me, go ahead and try. But you’ll have to do it in the dark.”
Pure Planet offers 100% renewable electricity which is cheaper than polluting power.
It is Britain’s first app-only energy brand. It is the first supplier to offer energy without a mark-up, meaning customers pay no more than Pure Planet pays for the energy on the wholesale market.
It offered renewable energy for on average £300 less per year than Big Six energy suppliers.
Steven added: “If we could capture just one hour’s worth of sunshine which hits the world’s surface, we would power the entire planet’s energy needs for a year.
“Similarly, if we could trap 2% of the wind which circumnavigates the globe every day, we would power the entire needs of the planet’s civilisations.”