Wind energy is the UK’s most abundant renewable energy source; almost 12% of all electricity generated in 2015 was from wind power (DECC, 2016). The majority of wind turbines are found onshore in the UK; however there is a growing trend in the construction of offshore wind farms due to more favourable wind speeds.
Solar PV is short for Solar Photovoltaic and is the current technology used for converting solar energy from the sun into electrical energy through solar panels, it made up just over 2% of all electricity generated in the UK in 2015 (DECC, 2016). Although not as widely used as wind power in the UK, solar is utilised on a much smaller scale and has the benefit of being more predictable than wind power.
Anaerobic Digestion (AD)
Anaerobic Digestion is the process by which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen, this produces biogas made up from mainly methane and carbon dioxide which can then be burnt for heat and electricity. These gases are released regardless of how they are disposed of, so by capturing them and burning them we can create energy from something that would normally be discarded. The carbon released from the burning of biogas is being replaced by new plant growth, which makes this resource renewable. In addition to this, the leftover waste is then converted into nitrogen rich fertilisers which are needed for agriculture; this also saves power as the processes often used to create fertilisers require large amounts of energy.
Just under 2% of electricity was generated from hydro power in the UK in 2015 (DECC, 2016). Many hydropower sites have the added advantage of having reservoir storage, which gives the ability to provide electricity on demand so long as there is water available. Because of this and the relative simplicity of generation, hydropower is currently the most used renewable energy source globally.