The  UK is currently divided in terms of how people think we ought to be getting our energy supplies in the future - and the Isle of Wight has been at the forefront of some of those arguments.

In its most recent budget announcement, the Conservative party announced plans to launch a new body, Great British Nuclear (GBN) which will coordinate the delivery of new nuclear power plants to meet up to 24 gigawatts of nuclear power in the UK by 2050.

Here on the Island, a hard-fought, seven-year campaign by anti-frackers finally came to an end last year when planning permission for an oil and gas drill site in Arreton was denied.  

Planning officers at the time had recommended approval of the scheme, arguing that “economic benefits outweigh environmental harm”.

However, councillors had said the proposal had no local economic benefits and would damage the Isle of Wight’s “high-quality natural landscape, the key to its tourist industry.”

Meanwhile, other organisations and campaign groups want the Island to move towards more tidal and solar power.

A recent study published in the Applied Energy Journal has revealed that the island could achieve net-zero emissions by 2040 by creating tidal energy. 

However, back in 2015, local campaigners successfully protested against plans for a wind farm in Wellow on the grounds of the potential visual impact.

A recent Carbon Brief analysis shows that the UK's greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 3.4 per cent in 2022, concluding the post-Covid rebound.

Due to the rapid growth of clean energy, above-average temperatures, and historically high prices for fossil fuels, which reduced demand, emissions from coal and gas decreased in 2022.

These statistics show that the UK is trying to combat climate change and lower the rates of greenhouse gas emissions. 

I spoke to a few residents of the Island about their opinion on tidal and solar power as a new power source.

Jack Renshaw told me he believes “having solar power and tidal power will benefit the island massively, as it will protect our Island from using a power that will affect the environment of our homes.”

On the other side of the argument, Ella-Rita Groves commented how “The Isle of Wight is known for its old-fashioned towns so if we were to set up too many solar farms it might reduce tourism and destroy the Island's natural beauty.”

She also sauggested “including solar panels on roofs of the older buildings of the Island will lower the value of the ageing architecture.”

Of course, different countries often have different take on things.

For example, in the United States, President Joe Biden has recently approved a vast oil drilling operation in Alaska known as the Willow Project.

It has been said that proceeding with the project could produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil per day or an estimated 578 million barrels over the lifetime of the project (around 30 years).

Indigenous groups and leaders have varying opinions when it comes to the Willow project; some have expressed their support for the project and many indigenous people are already employed in the oil and gas industry in Alaska. 

Those people who oppose the drilling operation include an environmental group who argues that the project goes against Biden’s promise to fight climate change. Just two years ago the American President announced an aim to reduce emissions by 50-52 per cent from the 2005 level by 2030.