The UK’s ever-growing population is leading to a huge rise in energy consumption. In fact, it’s set to increase by 50% between 2005 and 2030.
Here, with business gas suppliers, Flogas, we look at the energy sources available in today’s market and examine just how reliable they are.
Countries across the globe are now investing in renewable energy in the form of solar panels and wind farms. However, many believe that these are less reliable sources of energy and we could never be 100% reliant on them.
A wind farm relies solely on the amount of wind at the time of generation to determine how much energy is powered. In 2016, it was reported that wind farms across the UK generated more electricity than coal power plants and were also able to produce more power than solar panels.
Solar power is fast becoming a more popular source of power worldwide. The UK is currently leading the way in Europe for the amount of solar energy produced. In the whole of Europe, solar provides four percent of all electricity demand. However, following the UK government’s decision to cut incentives for householders to fit solar panels and for solar farms to be built, the amount of solar power installed in 2016 fell by around 50% compared to the previous year.
Similar to wind power, solar energy depends on the intensity and availability of sunlight and is not a fully reliable source.
Fossil fuels are still one of the United Kingdom’s highest used energy sources. It is a reliable form of energy that is made up of natural gas and coal and has supplied both domestic and commercial needs for many years.
Three major coal power stations closed last year and this led to coal electricity generation falling from 22.6% to 9.2%. It is now at its lowest output in 80 years.
Natural gas is a very reliable energy source, providing power whenever it’s needed. The presence of gas-fired power stations was up 45% between 2015 and 2016. This could be down to the collapse of coal generated energy.
In terms of emissions, natural gas emits 45% less carbon dioxide than coal and 30% less than oil. This shows that the impact that it has on the environment is not as extreme as alternate forms of fuel.
Gas is a multi-use energy source and can provide energy for a variety of reasons. It has its own purpose domestically for cooking, heating and drying as well as being able to generate electric power, power vehicles, produce plastics and many more useful purposes.
Gas is the energy source that is most available on a worldwide scale and is extracted by many countries for use through a drilling method.
Nuclear power is another large energy source in the UK. It accounted for 23.2% of energy generated in the UK, according to reports in June 2017. This source of energy is also reliable as it can provide power whenever it’s needed. It does not emit carbon dioxide but can be harmful if there are any accidents on site.
By looking at the information gathered, it appears that natural gas is still the most reliable, accessible and resilient supply of energy worldwide. Although renewable energy is on the rise, it’s not always able to provide power and this can be problematic in some situations.