Can a radio studio be powered only by renewable energy?
Editor BBC Radio 5 live
On Thursday 5th September we’ll find out, as we fill the public piazza at BBC North with solar panels, wind turbines, processed chip fat for biofuel and enough exercise bikes to keep Richard Bacon’s show on-air by pedal-power…if our guests and listeners can cycle fast enough!
It all starts at 7am when we switch on a specially constructed mini-grid. For the next 12 hours a temporary outside studio in the piazza will be powered only by renewable energy.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed for sun, the “right type of wind” for the turbines and that the likes of British Cycling’s Chris Boardman can motivate every passer-by to get peddling to keep the needles wagging.
So why attempt this?
By 2020 a quarter of Britain’s capacity to generate power will be shut down, as old coal and nuclear power stations are due to close down. At the same time, our demand for power increases:
The energy regulator Ofgem has warned that if we don’t find solutions soon, we could face blackouts and our energy bills may go up dramatically. Politicians accept there is an issue, but there’s disagreement over what the solution might be, as the recent protests about fracking have shown.
What power sources will 5 live be using?
Britain has a legally binding target to produce 15% of all energy from renewables by 2020. On Energy Day 5 live will be harnessing solar power (solar panels), wind power (turbines), bio fuel (processing waste vegetable oil from the BBC North canteen) and human power (presenters and guests on exercise bikes, roundabouts and see-saws connected to the grid).
The energy debate goes much further than renewable energy though, so throughout the day we will also be discussing the role of non-renewable energy sources. The future role of nuclear, coal, gas and processes such as fracking will all be investigated:
Watch our video reports here
Who will be on-air?
5 live Breakfast will be reporting live from the piazza. Nicky Campbell will host “Your Call” in front of an audience with the Energy Secretary Ed Davey taking listeners questions about the energy debate.
Shelagh Fogarty’s Consumer Team will have an energy prices special, finding out how you can save money on your bills.
Richard Bacon’s programme will be pedal-powered, with guests and listeners cycling on bikes connected to our mini-grid. Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman will join Richard and set the bar on our cycling leaderboard.
5 live Drive will invite industry experts to debate how we keep the lights on in Britain and looking at what solutions may have been found in Europe.
Our TV colleagues from BBC Breakfast, the BBC News Channel and Blue Peter are also joining in our Energy Day and an advisor from Rip Off Britain will be on hand to share money saving tips on your energy bills.
We’d love for you to come and join in the debate, and pedal to help us stay on air, so to be part of Energy Day come along to BBC North, Media City, Salford on Thursday 5th September.