Business Gas and Electricity: Think Geen!

What is Green Energy?
 
There is much discussion of how we are doing irreparable damage to our planet and how we need to reduce our carbon footprint. Using and producing green electricity is one way of doing so.

Majority of electricity in the UK is produced from fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas. The power stations that burn these fuels to generate the electricity emit thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year and this has a major impact on the environment.

A much more environmentally friendly option is green electricity. This is produced from renewable energy sources and has little or no impact on the environment. There are a variety of ways of generating green electricity, which are listed below.

Wind Power
The winds that sweep the UK can be utilised by wind turbines to provide electricity. These are in use in growing numbers in the UK and many more are planned, particularly off shore wind farms and domestic turbines with the availability of government funded renewable and alternative energy grants.

Solar Power
The sun can be used to provide electricity, even here in the UK! Solar photovoltaic panels installed in buildings turn rays from the sun directly into electricity and solar energy into hot water.

Hydro Power
Water turbines are currently in use in the UK and provide around 1% of the electricity used here. This technology has already been in use here for over 100 years.

Wave Power
There is great potential in using the energy created by the powerful waves off the British coastline. This is still in development stages but looks likely to be a major source of energy in the future.

Tidal Power
One possible way of using the sea tides as a source of energy is by creating turbines underwater similar to wind turbines. Another system, which involves capturing tides behind an estuary barrier and releasing at low tide, is planned for the Severn Estuary.

Geothermal
This type of energy is created from hot rocks deep under the ground. In some areas, steam rises at ground level and can be used to power steam turbines to generate electricity. Water can also be directed down to the rocks creating steam. Geothermal energy can provide heat and hot water for domestic use through ground source heat pumps.

Biomass
Organic matter or specially grown plants are used as fuel for power stations or in the form wooden pellets for domestic biomass boilers. This is a carbon neutral method of providing electricity, as the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere when the plants are burnt is equal to the amount absorbed when they were growing.

Landfill gas
Household waste that is disposed of in landfill sites across the country gives off methane gas whilst it decomposes. This gas can be captured and burnt in gas turbines to generate electricity. This will give off carbon dioxide but much less than the methane would emit.

Waste Incineration
As the UK rapidly runs out of landfill sites for waste, much of it is now being burnt in special incinerators. A percentage of this energy is being used to provide electricity. However, this is a disputed method as much of the waste being burnt could have been recycled. It also emits toxins into the air.

All major energy providers now offer green electricity to their customers either by supplying your power from a sustainable source or by funding renewable energy projects. The government has put in place a law, called the Renewables Obligation, stating that a percentage of each unit of electricity an energy provider sells must be offset with electricity from a renewable source. This percentage is set to rise but currently stands at 3%.

Eco Friendly Products
In addition to considering green alternatives to heating and powering your home it's equally important to consider purchasing eco friendly products. These are items manufactured from recyclable products, bulbs that use less energy and goods manufactured from sustainable and renewable resources, to name but a few.

You can also easily recycle items within the home such as plastic bags, bottles, boxes or even start harvesting rainwater for the garden, they are all small contributions that collectively make a massive difference to the environment.

12th January, 2010

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