Despite the successes of offshore wind power around the UK, Europe's most windy country, and extensive farms in Northern Europe, solar power is the cheap, reliable global solution, especially in association with battery storage systems to the cheapness and abundance of coal. Near Flitwick in Bedfordshire a breakthrough is being made with a massive new solar farm backed by batteries. It will generate 10 Megwatts, enough for 2,500 homes, and will be entirely subsidy free.
While the UK may have ended its coal era, with a bit of open cast and, we think, still just one mine operating, we are still importing vast amounts of coal, and the world is consuming huge amounts too. But solar panel prices have fallen dramatically, to the point where President Trump is being asked to slap a big tariff on imports from China. The USA's solar imports surged 500% in just four years to 2016, alongside the shale oil boom. Germany's politics has got interesting too: nuclear is still being phased out, but Greens in the Merkel coalition want all coal use finished by 2030 and 100% renewables by 2050. Now that's more like an up to date energy policy. But note: the big sea based wind farms and big solar schemes tend to be foreign firm led. Same's true of new nuclear: EDF France, CGN China, Tepco Japan, Kepco Korea etc.