With the growth of electric and hybrid cars, a common cause for concern is how the electricity is being generated in the first place. Are you really reducing your carbon footprint driving a Tesla powered by electricity from a coal plant?
Things are improving, in 2013 renewable energy accounted for 14.9% of the energy produced in the UK. In 2017 it was close to 30%. That still leaves us with a long way to go but what are the viable options fo the UK?
- Tidal Energy
Tidal energy is very similar to hydroelectric energy due to its water-powered generation. However, it shares a lot more similarities with wind energy in its overall application. Studies have shown that over 15% of residents in the United Kingdom use tidal energy to power their homes and prefer it to other sources of renewable energy. Many people use tidal stream generators which rely on the ocean’s kinetic energy, ensuring no energy is wasted when the turbines are powered. These generators are also known for being more resilient when tested in the elements and last longer than other renewable energy generators.
- Solar Power
Mention renewable energy sources and many people will likely point to solar power. It has been around for many years and technology has evolved to not only power homes but big factories, farms, and companies as well. Many countries actively encourage people to switch to using solar power to not only save money but the planet as well. In the UK we don’t get the best sun so solar farms are never going to be commonplace, but solar power for home electricity or heating is popular and reduces the overall demand for fossil fuels. Gledhill is a UK based hot water cylinder manufacturer with several cylinders that work with solar power including the Torrent Stainless SP Sol. These cylinders are the UK made and long lasting with a dedicated support company Gledhill Response that handles all the BoilerMate, ElectraMate and Pulsacaoil Repairs.
- Wind Energy
Wind energy is growing in popularity over the past few years and is just as popular as other renewable energy sources due to its zero levels of waste and its positive contribution to global environmental well-being. Millions of people in the UK rely on wind turbines to power their homes with millions more across the globe adopting the energy source rapidly. In general, wind energy is a viable source of renewable energy but caution has to be taken when setting up wind turbines as they pose a significant danger to certain wildlife.
- Biomass energy
Biomass energy is one of the most diverse sources of renewable energy available. Wood is one of the more popular forms of biomass energy and has been around for millenniums. Recently, however, experts have discovered that alcohol products and landfill waste are also very effective sources of biomass energy. Despite these advancements burning wood still remains immensely more popular and cost-effective. Products such as our Torrent Stainless OV are designed to use burning wood as a supplementary energy source alongside your conventional boiler, thus saving energy and lowering the overall cost of running the boiler.
- Geothermal Power
Geothermal power is growingly steadily in popularity but has yet to rival the likes of wind and solar energy. Despite this, it has been estimated that more than 35% of the world’s nations rely on geothermal power to power homes, factories and so forth. The only drawback to this energy source is the cost of setting up plants which could be one of the reasons why many countries choose alternative options.
Biofuels rely on plant and animal life to generate energy. This particular energy source is only renewable when plants are being used to generate power since they can be grown throughout the year. Unfortunately, biofuels require intricate machinery in order for energy to be extracted and while the biofuels don’t cause high emission levels, the machinery used to generate the energy might pose a significant threat to the environment.
- Wave Energy
Water is very useful in the production of renewable energy and much like tidal energy, wave energy is also a good source of renewable energy. Thanks to wave energy converters, energy can be generated directly from the ocean in multiple locations. No toxic waste is produced in the process and in general, wave energy tends to be very reliable when compared to other renewable energy sources. While the general setup can be costly, wave energy possesses a lot of potentials and is one of the best energy sources for powering homes.
- Hydroelectric energy
When fossil fuels became more popular, hydroelectric energy took a major hit for years and had to play second fiddle. It has only recently begun to rise in popularity thanks to many people realising the dangers of fossil fuel. This energy source is one of the cleanest and in addition to being renewable, it does not cause any pollution. Furthermore, when dams are created to generate hydroelectric power, they come with added irrigation technology and flood control which further benefits society.
There are plenty of renewable energy sources that we can use to minimise our need for fossil fuel. At the moment Biofuels is the leading renewable energy source, representing 39.4% of all renewable energy produced and this is then followed by Windpower which generated 18.5%. The most impressive statistic is that in 2016 the UK generated more electricity from wind power than from coal.