Why Renewable Energy Is So Important
The UK still relies mostly on fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal and oil for its energy. These are all forms of non-renewable energy used from the earth's resources that are slowly plummeting and will eventually run out. Fossil fuels are expensive to use and harmful towards the environment as they emit carbon dioxide and other destructive gases. Renewable energy sources are becoming popular now as they are better for the environment and are easily replenished, never running out. Renewable energy such as solar, biomass and wind power can be used for home electricity, heating, cooling, hot water and many other commercial, industrial and residential uses.
Types of Renewable Energy
· Solar- The most popular form of renewable energy, solar energy can be collected and used in many different ways. Solar thermal heating creates hot water, solar panels can provide electricity and solar fans can be used for cooling.
· Wind- Wind energy is generated by turbines and can be used to generate electricity or to pump water. To create a considerable amount of energy, a large area must be covered to collect enough wind.
· Biomass- Plant energy is used in many parts of the world but the traditional way of burning wood is not renewable and releases masses of carbon dioxide in to the atmosphere. There are however more modern versions of renewable biomass energy such as methane and vehicle fuel, as well as bio energy that can produce electricity.
· Geothermal- The heat inside the earth's core and the constant temperatures in soil is used in geothermal energy. Heat pumps in the ground can be used to heat and cool buildings throughout the year, but geothermal systems cannot generate electricity.
· Hydroelectric- Hydropower is created using water to generate electricity and normally occurs on a large scale such as a reservoir or a smaller canal.
· Hydrogen- Though not exactly a renewable energy source, hydrogen is copiously available and produces low levels of pollution. When burned as a fuel, hydrogen can power motors and even automobiles. However hydrogen cannot be found as a natural gas and is always paired with another element so it must first be separated before used as a fuel or converted into electricity.
· Ocean energy- Driven by winds, tides and different temperatures, tidal energy and the motion of waves can be used to generate electricity in both small and large scales.
Although renewable energy sources can save a lot of money in the long term and are the most environmentally friendly, they can be expensive to install which makes it difficult for a population to switch over from non-renewable sources. Some methods such as solar panels are easy to install and can be incorporated within the original energy systems to make the switch easy and simple. The gas or electricity system can still be used as a backup when the solar energy is insufficient, so huge savings will be made and the carbon footprint greatly reduced.