The need for more renewable energy was brought back into focus in the last few weeks. The climate change report that we’re running out of time managed to stay top of the news agenda, despite some hefty competition from other stories.
While there have been some setbacks in the last couple of years, however, the truth is that renewables are helping to change the world we live in. Many think that our green technology has indeed reached a tipping point and the dwindling number of fossil fuel addicts can do nothing to stop the new energy revolution.
Here are some little known facts that you may not know:
1. China is Wild About Wind
After years of ignoring it, China has finally got the renewable energy bug and have become the leading country in deployment and manufacture in the last 2 years. In fact, they’re so in love with wind, they’re erecting two turbines every hour.
2. Fossil Fuels Are More Subsidised Than Renewables
Some MPs in the current government complain that the problem with renewables is they need too much in the form of subsidies. They always miss out the inconvenient truth that fossil fuels have been subsidised a lot more than solar, wind and hydro power. All G20 nations together give four times more to coal, gas and oil.
3. More Jobs Are Created By Renewables
The other thing politicians tend to say is that we need to protect jobs created in the fossil fuels industry. The truth is that far more jobs (over 10 million worldwide as of 2017) are being created in the renewable industry.
4. Thermo-solar May Be The Future
Storing solar power for the evening has been a big issue but thermo-solar may be the key. The Gemasolar station in Spain uses molten salt to store heat and then uses that to drive turbines which create electricity 24/7.
5. The First Offshore Turbine Was Build 30 Years Ago
It’s now three decades since the first wind turbine was erected. The first was capable of producing just 30 kilowatts of power. Today’s modern turbines produce 6 MW, enough to power 6,000 homes. The total combined capacity of the world’s wind turbines as of the end of 2017 was 539,123 MW. Amazing.
6. 24/7 Solar Plants Do Actually Exist
Apart from the Spain Gemasolar station, there’s another 24/7 electricity producing solar plant in based in Nevada, USA. Crescent Dunes provides power for 75,000 homes for more than three hours at peak times and all through the day and night.
7. Geothermal District Heating is a Real Possibility in the UK
With all the work that seems to be going into fracking in the UK, most people don’t realise we also have some pretty great geothermal resources we could be taking advantage of. A quarter of us live in locations that may be suitable for geothermal technology.
8. The Internet is Greener Than You Think
Google, Facebook and Apple have all made big strides in creating an eco-friendly internet. In a recent report by Greenpeace, the tech giants topped the list of green companies. The good news is that the green badge is a good marketing tool for a whole range of businesses.
9. Iceland Gets All Its Power From Thermal and Hydro
Finally, Iceland may only have a small population but they get all of their power from thermal and hydro and are one of the most eco-friendly energy nations on the planet. In Paraguay, the Itaipu Dam provides over three quarters of the country’s electricity as well as a fifth of Brazil’s.
It’s possible to go full-on renewable and many countries are heading that way. We just need our governments and politicians to get on board.
The next time you think renewable energy in the UK and the rest of the world is stalling, take a look online to see what new innovations are changing the face of global power creation. Fossil fuels have indeed had their day.