One small step and 50 years on

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Posted 17/07/2019 by E.ON

It's 50 years since man and Apollo 11 landed on the moon in July 1969. Much has changed in the world in that time, including how we create and use energy.

Back then, electricity in the UK was mainly generated by coal-burning power stations supported by a growing number of nuclear power stations. But as man landed on the moon, the UK was heading for a decade of power shortages and miners' strikes.

Now, half a century later with a population that's grown by more than 11 million people who live a power-hungry, technological life, power cuts are rare, the energy mix is a lot more diverse and we use less power than we did in 1970.

The UK's energy mix in the 21st century has gone through a seismic shift and by 2020 analysts predict that for the first time we will consistently see more power coming from renewable energy than fossil fuels. Already in the first five months of 2019 more of Britain's energy came from electricity produced from zero carbon sources than fossil fuels.

It's amazing how much has been achieved in recent years. In the past 50 years we've learned how to:

• harness power from the sun and store it in batteries

• generate electricity from the wind farms

• tap into the power of the waves to power homes

• use the heat the planet generates under our feet to warm and power our buildings

Continuing the renewable theme, we recently announced that all our customers' homes are now backed by 100% renewable electricity. And last year, we started working with the European Space Agency and Astrosat to capture satellite images to identify areas across the UK that would benefit from better energy efficiency measures.

Lunar energy

Scientists and energy companies are always researching new and innovative ways to make power that has less impact on the earth's environment. To that end, they are now looking to the moon again.

Stored in the moon's crust is approximately 1 million metric tonnes of helium ions, which researchers say is enough to keep the lights on in the US for a thousand years. But in order to harness it, we'd need to be able set up mass mining operations on the moon and use nuclear fission to turn the helium ions into power. We've not quite figured out how to do either of these things yet.

But as this brief history of power over the past 50 years shows, the energy world changes quickly, and 50 years from now what seems futuristic and impossible today, could well be the norm.

Find out more about the innovative solutions available today.

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