Renewable energy will never run out, does not produce carbon dioxide and is available to everyone regardless of their location.
Benefits of renewable energy to the economy include job creation, rents, rates, services and the production of affordable electricity; an essential component of any economy and reducing the impacts of climate change. The levels of funds staying within the economy are significantly increased if the schemes are owned or part owned by local people themselves and the knock on effect of money generated from the industry remaining within the economy.
See more at: Renewable UK
Onshore wind turbines capture the kinetic energy from the wind and convert it into electrical energy which can then be sold to the national grid. Wind power is very consistent from year to year but has significant variation over shorter time scales. It is therefore used in conjunction with other sources to give a reliable supply.
Onshore wind projects provide many environmental, social and economic benefits, including the provision of local facilities, energy efficiency measures, significant job creation, education and training, energy security and inward investment.
Research conducted by RenewableUK on onshore wind farms has shown that for each installed megawatt (MW), around £100,000 stays in the community and surrounding areas during the lifetime of a project.
Solar panel electricity systems, also known as solar photovoltaics (PV), capture the sun’s energy using photovoltaic cells. These cells don’t need direct sunlight to work – they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be sold back to the national grid.
Wood Fuelled Heating Systems (Biomass)
Wood-fuelled heating systems, also called biomass 4systems, burn wood pellets, chips or logs to provide warmth in a single room or to power central heating and hot water boilers.
A stove burns logs or pellets to heat a single room – and may be fitted with a back boiler to provide water heating as well. A boiler burns logs, pellets or chips, and is connected to a central heating and hot water system.
Hydropower is the renewable energy contained in flowing water. Electricity generated using hydropower is known as hydroelectricity and is generally considered to be reliable.
In the UK there are three main methods for generating hydroelectricity:
- Storage – where a dam collects water in a reservoir, then releases it to drive turbines, producing electricity
- Pumped storage – where water is pumped to a higher reservoir, usually during times of low-priced electricity, then released to a lower reservoir, again driving a turbine, usually when the electricity price is higher
- Run-of-river – where the natural flow of a river or stream is used to drive a turbine.
Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a natural process in which micro-organisms break down the organic matter found in wet biomass waste (such as sewage sludge, animal manure and slurry and waste food) in the absence of oxygen, to produce biogas (mainly a mixture of around 60% methane and 40% carbon dioxide) and digestate (a nitrogen rich fertiliser).
The biogas can be burned directly in a gas boiler to produce heat or burnt in a combined heat and power (CHP) unit to produce heat and electricity. Alternatively, the biogas can be cleaned to remove the carbon dioxide and other substances, to produce biomethane. This can be injected into the national gas grid to be used in the same way as natural gas, or used as a vehicle fuel.