A brief overview of Fossil Fuels:
It is not a secret that fossil fuels are running out, with the mass consumption over the last 200 years, the supply of fossil fuels is not only dwindling rapidly; but according to Ecotricity we currently consume the equivalent of over 11 billion tonnes of fossil fuels each year globally. Ecotricity also advises that if we keep using the fuels the way we are, it is likely we will run out of oil in just 53 years’ time. With our known gas reserves providing us with only around 52 years left. Fossil fuels supply us with everything from petrol, to gas and power within our homes and businesses. Although these fuels are used daily by each of us, not everyone who use fossil fuels is aware of the damage it causes not only to the planet but our bodies too.
The NRDC advises due to the fuels being made up of plants and animal remains that lived millions of years ago because of this, they are high in carbon content. As reported by Our World In Data the 20th century saw a huge diversification of fossil energy consumption, which was once 96% coal, has now moved to less than 30% in throughout the 2000s. Consequently, there is now only 7 coal fired plants remaining in the UK according to Powerstations UK, with 2025 being the deadline for all coal fired plants to be closed. As it stands Crude Oil is now the most consumed out of the Fossil Fuels which accounts for 39% of energy.
The decline of our planet:
Despite the limited time of Fossil Fuels remaining, it has only been in recent years that society has started to take note of this by living more sustainably. As a society we are encouraged to reduce the amount of plastic we are using. Whether that is with plastic bags, looking for alternative straws or forms of packaging. Single use plastic is something that most countries are looking to ban. National Geographic is reporting that countries such as Canada and countries within the EU are looking to ban single-use plastics by 2021. Climate Change is a substantial issue, like never before. With the burning of Coal and Oil alongside the harmful gases which these fuels produce, this then goes back into the atmosphere and prevents heat from piercing the stratosphere which protects the earth from dangers such as sun rays.
What alternatives are there to fossil fuels?
With a variety of options on offer instead of fossil fuels more of us are looking to make the change. From solar panels to wind turbines, how scalable are these as a substitute to eventually replace Fossil Fuels with them all together? Solar panels work well in places which there is guaranteed sun as it allows a more constant flow of energy generation via the panels. Although the panels only rely on light from the sun to power them, the strength of the light can impact the way in which they perform. Another option is wind power, which is known to be one of the most efficient out of all renewable energies. Additionally, wind turbines create power which can be used for electricity and mechanical power; however, it doesn’t come with the negative properties which Fossil Fuels do. For example, pollution, harmful gasses and global warming.
Wind energy is a renewable source and therefore is inexhaustible. When researching the topic of Wind Turbines, the most common negative of the turbines is around the appearance as opposed to the way in which they work. Wind power is already being used around the world; it is likely to keep growing as the years go by. China is currently the world leader when it comes to wind energy, with over a third of the world’s capacity, Power Technology advises. With the USA, Germany and India are not far behind. In the UK there is an array of different wind farms and this is advised by RenewableUK with the UK being the world leader in offshore wind farms, with more installed capacity of them than any other country in the world. 4.5 million homes roughly are being powered by offshore winds and the expected amount by 2020 is predicted to be 10% of the energy market.
Can Wind Energy Be Used as a Sustainable Alternative?
According to ESB in the UK and Ireland there are around 1,180 wind farms and these wind farms have the potential to generate 11.508 Mega Watts which can power nearly 7.5 million households across the UK and Ireland. This is a considerable number of households who would see the benefit of using wind power over a non-renewable energy source like fossil fuels. ESB advises within seven months of building a wind turbine can generate the amount of power that went into originally building it. This is just one way of proving how this source of energy gives back to the Earth.
Wind farms and wind turbines will have little to no impact on the cost of housing. Despite rumours of risk to wildlife there is no proven danger. Furthermore, with companies like GIGA on the market who provide turbines on a smaller scale, this will allow customers purchase their own wind turbines to become more energy efficient. The future of renewable energy in your home will soon be commercially available. However, the use of wind turbines is not limited to the home and soon we are going to see other uses for the turbines including power on to go.
What is the future of energy predicted to look like?
It is expected that each wind turbine will last around 25 years if it is maintained properly, therefore making them a cost-effective investment. It is suggested by WindPower Monthly that by 2030, the onshore capacity could reach a staggering 23.4GW! Whereas, it is currently at 15.5GW. The reduction of fossil fuels is likely to continue from here on out as more sustainable options will take their place.