With the closure of nuclear and coal-fired power stations, we need to look at alternative sources of power...
Gas-fired stations currently produce a large proportion of the UK’s power, but with supplies decreasing, we already have to import much of our gas from other countries. Landfill gas can also be used to generate power in renewable form.
Development of onshore and offshore wind farms is increasing in the UK as a major source of renewable energy. There are currently 115 operational wind farms in the UK, with 97 either under construction or with planning consent, and a further 164 in planning.
Wave & tidal
Wave and tidal energy use the movement and convert it into electricty. Both are powerful sources of renewable energy. At present, there are 2 wave power devices in use in our country. Tidal power is still being developed.
Renewable energy from the sun can be exploited in a number of ways – through passive design (e.g. south-facing windows); solar water heating; and solar panels (Solar photovoltaics) which convert the sun’s power to electricity.
Biomass can be burnt to help fire existing power stations and biomass only power stations. Materials used include straw, animal manure, wood chips and crops. In 2003, biomass used for both heat and electricity generation accounted for 87% of renewable energy sources in the UK (Source: DTI).
0.8% of the UK’s power comes from hydro-electric schemes which use the energy from flowing water to produce electricity.
Geothermal energy is generated from the natural heat and energy stored in the earth. Geothermal plants need to be situated near hot rocks, so limited numbers can exist in the UK. Energy can also be pumped up from the earth using ground-source heat pump systems.
For further information on any of the above, please visit the DTI website. http://www.dti.gov.uk/renewables/