We hear a lot about green energy these days. Green energy is clean and environment friendly. It causes less pollution and is more sustainable.
But it's not very easy for the UK to go green completely. Keep scrolling down to find out why!
National Grid has calculated that in the UK the total energy use per person per day is about : 110 kWh energy .
(this includes fuel, electricity, gas)
If we want to generate all our energy as clean green electricity then the UK will need to generate: 4.5 kW x 60 Million people = 270 GW electricity. This is almost FIVE TIMES the electricity that the UK can generate now.
(At the moment the UK can generate a maximum of 60 GW (60 gigawatts or 60,000,000,000 watts) electricity if using all its power stations and renewable resources simultaneously. See Generating Electricity section for the details)
National Grid has estimated the UK could generate enough electricity in renewable forms in the following ways:
To install 60000 wind turbines - almost all off shore
we need to put up ONE PER HOUR to finish by 2025!
The UK has, for many years, bought electricity from France, which is transmitted via cable under the Channel.
Norway and Netherlands have invested in the NorNed Link: Length 580 km Operating Voltage ±450 kV. This has a capacity of only 700 MW (700 megawatts or 700,000,000 watts) and a cost ~£500 million. This is very expensive and provides tiny amounts of electricity compared with what the countries use.
And this amount is tiny compared with the 30,000 MW of mainly offshore wind generation planned for UK over the next decade at an estimated cost £30 billion (new nuclear plants are £7bn each for 4,400 MW)
The map shows an ambitious idea to link the whole of Europe so that each country can used its natural resources, and sell excess electricity when it can and buy when it needs to. But many countries are struggling to produce much 'green' electricity so there won't be much excess to sell to others.
Plus the power networks (eg the undersea cables, the DC switchgear, the DC/AC convertor stations) that can deliver electricity across such huge distances don't have a proven track record - will they work reliably?
Even if this works, there probably still won't be enough 'green' electricity to keep our homes and cars running.
See the 'research' section for more details.
At the moment the UK relies heavily on gas for its heating:
On a very cold winter's night, the UK uses:
If the UK wants to move to 'green electricity' for heating this means that: