Renewable energy

Wind

UK power companies are now investing hundreds of millions of pounds in renewable power.

The greatest amount of renewable energy in the UK comes from wind generation.

The London Array in the Thames Estuary was opened in May 2013. It boasts a 630 MW capacity and has the ability to power 470 000 homes, this is the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

Many wind farms have been set up, particularly in Scotland and Wales. However some plans for large wind farms have been blocked by planners as wind farms are not always popular with local people. Often there are concerns about their visual impact in rural areas.

Globally there has been a huge increase in wind power capacity, but it remains underutilised.

The video below examines whether or not wind farms are a good idea.

Biomass

The supply of energy for biomass is more predictable than other forms of renewable energy. However people are concerned about how sustainable the sourcing of biomass may be.

Production of energy from biomass is expanding.

Sembcorp Biomass Station is a £60 million biomass plant built in the Tees Valley, UK. It uses sustainably cropped wood to produce 30 megawatts(MW) of electricity.

Thetford Biomass Power Station is a £69 million biomass plant built in Norfolk.

It is the largest power station of its type in the UK. Burning poultry litter it has a capacity of 38.5 MW of electricity. It can supply 93 thousand homes, producing a high quality fertiliser as a by-product.

Wave and tidal

The UK could generate all the electricity needed from around its long coastline by using tidal energy.

However, there are enormous hurdles to overcome, not least being able to construct a viable generator, and linking up generation in remote areas to the national grid.