However, dependence on one single form of renewable energy will not be practical as all geographical regions within the United Kingdom have their own geographical features and all energy uses have their own specific requirements. For this reason, a diverse range of renewable energy resources will have to be used suiting each geographical location and the use of energy.
Incorporation of wind energy in UK energy supply system has immense scope. This method involves converting the wind's kinetic energy into mechanical energy and then generating power through a generator (the Renewable Energy Centre, UK). This can be done by installing either onshore or off shore commercial wind turbines. The problem with on shore wind turbines is that they are much more capital intensive and are time consuming to install. Furthermore, they involve a lot of legal formalities. On the technical side, the onshore wind projects may affect the operating efficiency of wind turbines due to water turbulence on the sea surface.
For this reason off shore wind turbines are a more viable option. The United Kingdom has a large continental shelf that receives wind at a speeds ideal for such wind energy projects. Wind turbines can be placed on high towers and can be connected to a grid system. Given the island status enjoyed by the United Kingdom, this seems to be a more viable option. However, this option has higher maintenance costs as compared to the onshore wind project. On the technical side, since the grid is required to be cabled with an under-sea cabling system, special components will be required to deal with corrosiveness that results from salt water.
Solar energy systems are considered a good source for powering domestic lighting and heating appliances around the world. This involves installing a solar panel at a roof top that radiates the sunlight and converts the sun's energy into mechanical energy. In UK's context a major technical constraint with this option is that its viability depends on how much energy can a solar panel conserve during the time of availability of sunlight. This is because; heating and lighting requirements are higher at the time when sun's energy is at its lowest (the Renewable Energy Centre, UK).
The United Kingdom enjoys a vast coast line with some high tidal ranges. This opens a great scope for tidal energy project. The largest tidal power project in France generates 250 MW of electricity. If United Kingdom develops a number of such projects, a lot of non-renewable energy can be conserved. This project involves making high volumes of water flow into a barrage. The technical constraint involved with this method is that the flooding of barrages may cause enormous natural and environmental constraints, which questions the environmental viability of the project.
Since the above mentioned projects are huge and require not only high capital investments but also have huge technological and environmental constraints. For this reason it is more economically and technologically viable to install several smaller projects rather than a few larger ones. A number of small wind farms can be installed in inland areas of the United Kingdom that receive a decent speed of wind. Solar panels with high rate of energy conservation can be installed in houses and small shops, so that dependence on mainstream non-renewable power resources can be minimized. When constructing houses, efficient insulation must be ensured. Small scale and cost efficient energy conservation projects such as rainwater harvesting and waste water recycling must be launched at a massive level.
Scope of Nuclear Energy
After the Second World War, the concept of nuclear energy has also gained commendable popularity. Nuclear energy is generated through a fusion of atoms that generate high levels of heat energy, which is then converted into mechanical energy. If operational safety and efficiency is ensured, nuclear power poses little threat to climate. However, considering the tendency of human error, a single act of negligence may result in dire environmental and ecological consequences. Nuclear energy emits harmful radiation that nearly annihilates everything it comes into contact with. Accidents pertaining to leakage of nuclear wastes have been reported in some parts of the world. For this reason, many environmentalists do not advocate too much dependence on nuclear energy.
(UK Greenhouse Inventory, 2010)
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Department of Energy and Climate Change, 2010, Climate Change Inventory, Government of UK.
The Renewable Energy Centre, n.d., the Renewable Energy Center, viewed 16 January 2010, .
Ottinger, R & William, R, 2002, Renewable Energy Sources for Development, Environmental Law, Vol. 32.
McVeigh, J & Mordue, J, 1999, Energy Demand and Planning, E & FN Spon, UK.