Renewable energy is sourced from our planet’s natural resources, such as wind, rain, the sun, wave power and geothermal heat. Our government has already committed billions of pounds towards researching and endorsing these types of renewable energy sources, with an aim to integrate them into our everyday commercial and domestic environments.
This will reduce our reliance on the earth’s diminishing fossil fuels, such as coal, and cut our carbon emissions, energy wastage and save us money on energy costs. Previously the UK relied wholly upon coal to fuel its power stations to generate, however it has become apparent that renewable energy, coming from sources that will not be exhausted over time is the most efficient and eco-friendly way of producing power for the future.
Solar power is the use of direct sunlight in the production of electricity. The first solar power plants were developed in the early 1980s and nowadays solar panels are seen all over the world on a myriad of buildings and structures. The use of solar panels (Photovoltaics or PVs) to actually convert solar radiation into direct current electricity which can be used to power anything from home electrics to electric cars is a popular method due to the fact that it is entirely renewable. Homeowners with solar panels installed are not only able to power their own home but are able to potentially sell any excess energy made back to the National Grid.
Domestic Wind Turbines
Wind turbines are windmill-looking pieces of equipment that convert kinetic energy (energy from movement) from the wind in order to make mechanical energy which is then used to produce electricity. Wind power plants or wind farms may be seen all over the UK with both on-shore and off-shore plants in operation and more already being built or planned for the future.
Biomass fuels are a range of naturally produced fuels which come in a variety of formats including solid biomass, gases and liquid fuels. Biomass can be used to fuel numerous things such as vehicles (biofuel) and even wood burning stoves. The reason that biomass fuels have been so popular in recent years is because they are significantly cheaper than coal and even cheaper than gas and electricity. Made entirely from natural and renewable sources, biomass fuels are seen as the fuel of the future.
Ground Source Heat Pumps
Ground Source Heat Pumps, otherwise referred to as geothermal heat pumps or ground heat pumps are used to pump heat from the ground. Around six metres beneath the ground the temperature remains on average between ten and sixteen degrees Celsius. This heat comes from the sun as opposed to the earth itself. A ground source heat pump is used to extract this heat in order to effectively heat a building. Using a similar technique cooler air may be pumped into cool a building and act as air conditioning.
Micro Hydro Power
This type of renewable power is typically used to provide power to small areas or individual dwellings. It is basically the process of producing energy using the natural flow of water and therefore could be utilised anywhere around the world that has energy needs and water movement. It is particularly useful in poverty stricken countries. Micro hydro power, a more modest form of hydroelectricity often works in conjunction with solar power as there may be less sunlight during some of the darker months yet the water movement at this time is constant if not more pronounced during winter.
It is hoped that in the not too distant future that all fuels will be renewable which will reduce carbon dioxide production and have considerable benefits to both the environment and the economy.