Over sixty per cent of the UK’s electricity is produced by coal and gas powered electricity plants. These power stations generate millions of tons of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide which are known to cause climate change.
Much of the remaining electricity in the UK is produced by nuclear power stations, but there is still no satisfactory way to dispose of radioactive byproducts. With the decreasing stocks and rising prices of fossil fuels like gas an oil, environmentalists fear that even more nuclear power stations will be built, and so the race is on to find cleaner ways to produce electricity.
Green electricity is electricity that has been produced with only minimal impacts on the environment. Sources of energy like the sun, wind and tides are known as renewable energy. Green electricity can be produced using renewable energy sources.
Wind turbines are increasingly popular in the UK, and some of the energy for the national grid comes from wind turbines. The turbines are quieter and more efficient since improvements have been made to the design. Some people think they spoil the landscape, and the placement of some so called windfarms in areas of natural beauty has caused controversy.
A possible solution is to build wind farms out at sea. If this is ever possible, and of course affordable, wind could become the main source of the UK’s electricity in the future.
Solar power, even in the UK, is a free energy source that we could make much more of. At the moment, the cost of solar panels prohibits their wide use, but as demand grows and production increases, solar power could become the world’s number one source of electricity because panels can be used on a domestic scale even in rural areas with no requirement to be hooked up to the national grid.
The energy of rivers can be harnessed by power turbines which generate electricity. There are already a few large hydroelectric plants in the UK, and there is potential for many more low impact, small scale hydroelectric turbines in lots of places in Britain.
The holy grail of green electricity in the UK is wave power. Researchers are trying to find ways to harness the abundant energy that is in the waves all around our coastline. Wave power would be a fantastic source of green electricity in the future if a cost effective way of producing electricity could be implemented.
As consumers’ interest in green electricity grows, energy providers are looking for ways to make energy production more environmentally friendly. Even big providers like British Gas, who supply massive amounts of electricity, are offering carbon neutral dual fuel deals. This means that the carbon dioxide created as a by product of your electricity is offset by British Gas’s investment in projects to develop green electricity. Choosing carbon neutral products like this is a great way to support green electricity production and prevent climate change.