Why is Renewable Energy Important to Our Future?
Choosing to ignore the warnings means a continuation of rising temperatures and the science now clearly states that should we allow that increase to go beyond 2 degrees, we will see mass polar ice sheets melting, which we cannot undo.
In this instance, we can expect over 70% of the Earths coastlines to disappear under an additional 0.2m of sea water, meaning beaches will erode and coasts will flood. Our land mass will become smaller. Meanwhile, extreme heatwaves and drought will be commonplace and freshwater will become more difficult to source. Soil erosion is likely to degrade crops, leading to increased famine for huge portions of humanity. Insect populations will sharply decline and the resulting impact on biodiversity will be catastrophic.
And so here we stand, at this junction, armed with knowledge and solutions but with a huge task ahead. Will we continue along the dangerous trajectory to destruction of our only home, or do we protect our precious planet and change, at whatever cost?
How does global warming happen?
One of main perpetrators of global warming is excessive levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere. In fact, we know that globally, 30 billion tons of CO2 is pumped into the air, which accounts for 84% of all greenhouse gases.
Many climate change deniers will argue that carbon is actually an essential part of the Earth's ecosystem, needed to retain its heat. It is also a fundamental part of photosynthesis and growth of healthy plants. And that’s true. But for a sustainable balance, the amount of carbon in our atmosphere should not exceed 12 billion tons.
The fact that we have removed at least a third of all forests, thus removing the natural capacity to absorb carbon, has accelerated the problem.
CO2 levels are measured by the particles per million (ppm) in the air. Over the past 800,000 years, the highest level prior to now was 300ppm. As of October 2020, the CO2 levels were at 415ppm.
These carbon particles have become trapped between earth’s surface and ozone layer and begun to warm the planet. This warming has already kick started a chain of events, beginning with the melting of glaciers and the expansion of the ocean, which means rising sea levels. This affects our weather cycles and systems, meaning more extreme weather events from floods and heatwaves to hurricanes.
Why is renewable energy important?
We have already done irreversible damage but we can still maintain and mitigate any further impact. To do that we must stop any further temperature increases and reduce our emissions and stop deforestation.
One key way that individuals can help is to look at the way we’re obtaining and using energy.
UK homes generate approximately 6 tons of CO2 per year, most of which comes from the way we heat our houses. Much of that heat is lost through poor insulation thanks to many of our properties being older, using traditional building methods and single glaze windows.
To be energy efficient means to use proper insulation, install double glazing and use smart heating devices to help you manage and reduce your energy consumption and ultimately your carbon footprint.
Making sure your energy supplier is sourcing renewable energy is a great start towards being more environmentally friendly.
Check out our blog on UK green energy suppliers that supply 100% genuine renewable electricity, as well some that supply green biogas from biomass energy.
Alternatively, by installing your own renewable energy technology, you can cut out the middle man and dramatically reduce your carbon emissions. You’ll also see up to a 68% reduction in your energy bills.
What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is a term for clean, sustainable energy that’s derived from naturally regenerating sources.
Using a combination of these natural sources and intelligent technology, we can generate enough heat and electricity for all our homes, businesses and production needs.
Once built, renewable energy generates no or very little pollutants and is non-evasive. It is able to not only generate more energy than we need, but often lasts for as many generations as the earth will sustain.
What are the renewable energy sources?
Although there are arguably more renewable sources, the main five renewable energy sources are:
Energy from the sun
Solar energy comes from the sun, which gives out infinite light and heat across the world. Solar rooftop panel on the roofs of our homes enables us to harness that power and use it as electricity. Originally conceived in 1954, solar cell content has evolved considerably and is now able to produce 250-400 watts of clean electricity every hour.
The energy gathered from the sun during the day can also be stored for use at night time in special storage batteries.
Solar thermal is another type of renewable energy using the power of the sun. Solar thermal involves a special solar panel called a collector that’s attached to your roof. The collectors are able to heat up water using copper wires inside of them. This hot water is later transferred to a special thermal store storage tank ready for use.
Energy from the wind
Depending on where you live in the world, wind energy is a real opportunity to create power. Living on windy island like Great Britain means we can take full advantage.
In fact, the UK has invested more into wind turbines than any other clean energy generator over the past decade with offshore wind farms strategically placed in the water of the North Sea around the edges of Britain. We also have many on shore wind farms further inland, which are expected to produce enough power for several millions of homes by 2030.
Energy from water
Tidal energy is produced by the surge of ocean waters during the rise and fall of tides. The UK has one of the largest marine energy sources in the world at more than 10GW, which represents about 50% of Europe’s tidal energy capacity.
Any countries near to water can benefit from tidal power technologies.
Hydro power is to harness energy coming from moving water such as waterfalls. Usually hydro power is utilised by windmills turning using the flow of water moving through the fans.
Hydrogen is a naturally occurring element, but it can also be used to generate a powerful energy by combining it with oxygen, water or biomass. When used as fuel, hydrogen leaves only water vapour behind, which officially makes it a clean and renewable energy source and one under much investigation.
Energy from organic matter
Biomass is essentially any organic material that comes from the earth that can be used to make energy. Biomass can either be burned to create energy, or the natural gases that occur as it decomposes are collected and reused.
Biomass material includes anything from food waste, agricultural waste or wood chipping on a forest floor.
Energy from the earth
Deep under the earth's subsurface, heat is contained between rocks and within fluids beneath the earth’s crust. This heat can be tapped into for heating, a method that’s been used for millennia, including our very own Roman baths here in the UK.
Scotland are also investigating the potential of this relatively untapped source of energy.
The UK share of renewable energy resources grey from 51.8% to 62.1% in just 2020 alone. This indicates a huge shift in attitudes towards renewable energy resources like biomass, nuclear and other ‘clean’ energies.
Renewable energy installation
There are several different types of renewable energy technology for domestic use. Because renewable energy is such a new industry, there are plenty of regulations that must be implemented before installation.
MCS approved renewable energy companies are the only ones allowed to install technologies into UK homes, putting a stop to any ‘cowboy’ behaviour as have been in other industries. By choosing professional and fully qualified renewable energy installers, you’ll also receive the best information about which technology specifically suits your home.
Factors such as the structure of your house, the size and age, along with types of materials used for building it will all contribute to how it retains heat and how it could potentially generate energy too.
For instance, installing solar panels (Solar PV) on a south facing roof is always better than any other direction so as to maximise sun exposure. Photovoltaic cells convert sunlight into energy which is then used for any electrical needs from appliances to lighting.
During times when there is no sun, like at night time or in the winter, some excess electricity can transferred to batteries or sold back to the national grid to earn an income.
Homes without south facing roofs might opt to go for a renewable energy supplier, who get their electricity from wind turbines and solar farms instead.
Heating your home using renewable energy
- Biomass boilers are a popular choice for homeowners and work much like traditional gas boilers, using existing pipes and radiators in the home. Styles include log burning hidden boilers that are automatically fed wood pellets to gorgeous contemporary woodstoves with real fires that are a centrepiece for any home.
- Air source heat pumps are another popular choice and extremely clever. These stand alone units are placed outside and work by converting cold air to warm. They are used to heat homes and provide hot water.
- Ground source heat pumps tap into geothermal heat underground. This heat is transferred to radiators and underfloor heating systems, as well as providing hot water to the home.
Renewable energy can be installed in your home to function in the same way as your traditional gas boiler and electric does. You have the same controls as you would normally do and your home feels just as warm and cosy and your hot tap still runs as you need it.
Cost of renewable energy
In essence, renewable energy is free! Of course, there is an upfront cost when you pay for the installations, but once up and running, energy can be generated sustainably and extremely affordably.
For the British homeowner, installing renewable energy has never been more cost effective.
The Renewable Heat Incentive is a government initiative that pays homeowners back each quarter for up to 7 years, just for installing renewable energy.
Investing in renewable energy UK
The rapidly growing renewables industry and government push to get the UK to be one of the first countries to go carbon neutral means there has never been a better time to invest in renewable energy.
From a stocks and shares perspective it’s much the same story. Britain ranked as the 5th most investable country in the world for renewable energy, after they pledged £160 million into offshore wind in a bid to become world leaders in the technology.
However, there must be no doubt that the work ahead is immense. Global governments must act in order to prevent our planet from becoming uninhabitable. With freak weather incidents becoming more and more regular, it is obvious that we have no more time for debate and little time to act.
Banks and governments are still investing in fossil fuels in the billions. This must stop and redirect focus to investment in renewable energy. Targets set in the Paris Agreement in 2016 are not yet being met and the pressure is on for global leaders to prioritise the climate crisis above all else.
Fossil fuels vs renewable energy resources
In May 2021, environmental campaigners won a historic case against oil giant Shell, forcing them to cut emissions by 45% by 2030. This signals that the tide is finally turning against fossil fuels, with many big oil polluters falling prey to climate lawsuits.
Now that fossil fuels have been exposed as harmful, with supplies depleting, it is no surprise that social pressure is building to use alternatives.
As ice caps melt, oil companies are intent on exploring uncharted waters for new gas supplies and campaigning is more intense than ever.
Deforestation causes are gathering much speed an attention, with global communities fighting to stop further destruction.
And as air pollution continues to kill 40 thousand people prematurely in the UK each year, a huge push for clean air zones in hot spots like Birmingham and London are finally happening, along with a ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol cars from 2030.
We have the technology and the answers to make our energy supply cleaner and fairer to our planet. By continuing to rely upon the usual coal, oil and gas for our home energy needs, the average home owner can expect to see gas and electricity bills continue to rise.
By contrast, clean energy will become cheaper and cheaper as the transition continues.
For more information on the many benefits of renewable energy in your home, why not call BioSun Energy for a no obligation discussion on 01892 347291.
Reduce your carbon footprint, and your energy bills and be a part of the green movement for sustainability!
We now know with certainty that human activity has made our earth get hotter by 1.5 degrees since the industrial revolution. A combination of burning fossil fuels with mass deforestation, over fishing and ocean acidification, we have managed to trigger global warming.
Let's talk about your project
If you have a project in mind or are thinking of installing renewable energy, please contact us for an initial informal chat.