What are the advantages of renewable energy sources?

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What is renewable energy?

Energy is vital to how we lead our lives, but how often do we think about where it comes from? The electricity we use to power our homes, businesses and cities can either come from renewable sources or fossil fuels.

Renewable energy is generated from infinite, natural resources such as the sun, wind and water or biomass. Whereas fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, are a limited resource and have a negative impact on the planet when used to generate energy.

Powering our homes and businesses with renewable energy brings many advantages. It’s why more and more of the UK’s energy is being generated from renewable sources.

In fact, more energy was generated in the UK in 2019 from zero carbon emission sources than fossil fuels1 and in early June this year the UK achieved a significant milestone by going coal-free for two months2. Both for the first time since the Industrial Revolution.

What are the advantages of renewable energy?

It has a small carbon footprint

The climate emergency is one of the biggest challenges we’re facing globally, and we all need to play our part to help reduce carbon emissions. Renewable energy produces significantly lower greenhouse gases than fossil fuels3 and can help us to tackle the climate crisis.

It helps to clear the air

As well as contributing to global carbon emissions, burning fossil fuels releases harmful pollutants into the atmosphere and is a major source of air pollution. Air pollution can bring many health problems, including pneumonia and bronchitis as well as more serious illnesses including heart disease and lung cancer4.

Renewable energy reduces our reliance on fossil fuels and helps us to improve the UK’s air quality and breathe cleaner air.

It’s an infinite resource

One of the main benefits of renewable energy is that the sources are constantly replenished – we’ll always have wind, sun and water. By generating electricity from these sources of clean energy, we can help to make sure that we don’t run out of the Earth’s resources and reduce our ability to generate energy as a result – one of the main disadvantages of fossil fuels.

What are the types of renewable energy?

There are different sources of renewable energy and here we detail four of the most common types of renewable energy and how they work.

  • Solar energy - Solar panels generate electricity from the power of the sun. They’re made up of smaller solar cells with several layers of semi-conductors and when daylight hits them it creates an electric current which flows through your home or business’ electrical system. And by installing a battery, you can even use the energy generated at night.

  • Wind power – Either onshore or offshore, wind turbines capture the wind like sails and convert the rotational energy into electrical energy which is then distributed to power our homes and businesses.

  • Biomass energy - Biomass energy is generated from burning any organic, renewable material such as wood, plants or household waste to make electricity or heat – like our Blackburn Meadows CHP plant that generates power from locally sourced waste wood that would otherwise go to landfill. And businesses can even use biomass plants to generate their own electricity or to produce steam for use in industrial processes.

  • Hydropower - Generating electricity from water is achieved through a hydroelectric plant – water flows spin a turbine to generate electricity. And the technology keeps on developing – including a wave turbine that captures breaking wave power and protects the shoreline from coastal erosion.

Working towards a renewable energy future

At E.ON we’re committed to leading the future energy transition and that’s why we provide all our customers’ homes with electricity backed by 100% renewable sources6. And we match the electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass.

And we’re proud that our commitment to sustainability has been recognised. We received the award for ‘Best green services’ and ‘Best value for money’ in the latest Uswitch Energy Awards in the Larger Supplier Category, proving that being sustainable shouldn’t cost the earth.

Renewable energy is just the first step to a sustainable home and we’ve got lots of simple tips to help you lead a cleaner life

1.  Financial Times: Renewable energy milestone reached in 2019

2.  Natural History Museum: Britain goes two months without burning coal amid lockdown

3.  Nature Energy: Understanding future emissions from low-carbon power systems by integration of life-cycle assessment and integrated energy modelling 

4.  National Geographic: Air Pollution 

5.  Irena: Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2018 

6.  Electricity sourced from E.ON’s renewable generation assets, supply agreements with independent UK wind generators and the purchase of renewable electricity certificates. The electricity supplied to your homes comes from the National Grid. Find out more at eonenergy.com/renewable