Set to increase by 50% between 2005 and 2030, Britain’s energy consumption is constantly growing. This is mainly down to the growing population and our increased demand for energy.
The reliability of fossil fuels
One of the UK’s main sources of energy comes from fossil fuels. Made up of natural gas and coal, it is a reliable form of energy that has supplied both domestic and commercial needs for many years.
How reliable is coal?
Coal is now at its lowest output in 80 years. Dropping from 22.6% to 9.2% in terms of electricity generation, this was the result of the closer of two coal power stations — the lowest output in 80 years.
How reliable is natural gas?
Whenever required, natural gas has the capability to provide power whenever required. 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.
Natural gas emits 45% less carbon dioxide than coal and other energy sources, as well as 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 source that can be used for multiple things, providing the appropriate energy where needed. 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.
Through drilling initiatives, gas is one of the most common types of energy used across the world.
Growing in popularity: renewable energy
Across the world, many businesses are turning to renewable energy as their main source of power. Many countries are investing in solar panels and wind farms to generate electricity in new ways. However, many believe that these are less reliable sources of energy and we could never be 100% reliant on them.
The rise of wind power
Dependent on the power of the wind, energy generated on wind farms can vary. In 2016, it was reported that windfarms across the UK generated more electricity that coal power plants and were able to produce more power than solar panels.
The use of solar power
More and more people are beginning to use solar power as one of their main sources of energy. Currently, the UK is leading in Europe with the growth of solar energy produced. In the entirety of Europe, solar provides 4% of all electricity demand. However, following the UKs government’s decision to cut incentives for householders to fit solar panel and for solar farms to be built, the amount of solar power installed in 2016 fell by around 50% compared to the year before.
However, similar to wind power — it depends on how much sunlight is available.
Is nuclear power becoming more common?
Nuclear power is beginning to account for a large amount of the energy generated here in Britain. In June 2017, it was reported that it accounted for 23.2% of energy generated in the UK. This source of energy is also reliable as it can provide power whenever it is needed. It does not emit carbon dioxide but can be harmful if there are any accidents on site.
From what the research suggests above, natural gas seems to be the most viable choice. Although renewable energy is on the rise, it is not always able to provide power and this can be problematic in some situations.