Understanding our options for renewable energy can be a sticky topic - and sadly not in the marshmallow whirl kind of way. How we get our energy is complicated and really political, which can sometimes make it difficult to see our options clearly. So, let’s get to the (caramel) core of this issue and lay out some of the sustainable options to keep our freezers switched on for an ice-cream-filled future.
We’ve all felt the power of the wind at some point (camping holidays anybody?) so we can see why it might be a good source of energy. Giant turbines harness the wind’s energy, turning when the wind blows. Wind energy can be generated both on-land (onshore) and at sea (offshore).
Luckily, we have a pretty endless supply of wind AND onshore wind is the cheapest source of energy. Full stop. In fact, a recent report has shown that we could be saving £50 per year on our electricity bills if we embraced a boom in wind power. Think how much cherry garcia you could buy with that saving!
Other than creating the perfect conditions to enjoy an ice cream, the sun is a brilliant source of power. There are two ways that the sun can be directly used to create electricity: solar thermal uses the heat from the sun to create electricity, and solar PV uses the light from the sun.
Solar power is up there with wind as one of the cheapest sources of energy. We also love it over here in the UK, being our most popular energy source. We just need more of it please!
Hydropower uses the movement of water to generate electricity, which means that we can be very flexible with how we do it. Large-scale projects can use energy from tides or running rivers, and smaller projects only need shallow waters, like canals or streams.
The great news is that we already have loads of hydropower generation in the UK. On top of this, there are still plenty of places where small-scale projects can get started. This is great for local communities and the planet.
Who’d have thought that chicken dung could help to save our planet? Biomass is organic stuff from plant materials, food waste and animal waste - and yes, that includes farm animal droppings. Biomass is useful because it can make fuel in the form of gas and liquid, not just electricity. This means that it can easily be used for powering cars and heating homes.
Biomass is an important renewable energy source but we must be sure to get it from a sustainable source.
So, what are we waiting for?
These technologies are far from half baked; they’re ready to use right now. Onshore wind and solar energy are especially promising as they are very reliable, as well as being the most affordable technologies.
With the technology ready and raring to go, why haven’t we completely transitioned to clean and renewable energy? In the UK, current rules mean that renewable technologies, such as onshore wind farms, can have a hard time getting up and running.
That’s why 10:10 Climate Action are running a campaign to get rid of the barriers so that we can all be blown away by wind power.
Support the campaign by writing to your MP today!
This blog post was written by our climate activist pals over at 10:10 Climate Action.