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Implementing renewable energy - Essay Example

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Across the world, fossil fuels such as coal, crude oil, natural gas, wood and other forms face high levels of depletion. There is a real danger of fossil fuels being completely depleted within our lifetime. While the threat of depleted fossil fuels is great, another more serious danger threatens us and this is the threat of global warming (Gamesa, 2010). …
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Download file to see previous pages In this context, renewable energy sources provide a way to overcome the threat of energy security and global warming. Common renewable energy sources available are solar and wind power. These energy sources provide clean energy that is non-polluting, the energy source is free and it will never be depleted (ECI, 2011). The UK government wants to develop this energy source as a viable and active contributor to the economy. However, developing and using these free energy sources is not very easy and a number of challenges and barriers need to be overcome. These challenges include technical, social and financial challenges (Scottish Power, 2004). This paper will examine renewable energy sources in this context and suggest solutions to overcome the challenges. 2. FIT and other renewable energy Schemes initiated by the UK government The UK government has undertaken a few projects to meet its obligations of reducing green house gases. As per the Kyoto protocols, a signatory to the protocols and this includes UK, have agreed to cut down their emissions to pre 1990 levels. UK faces a huge problem of reducing the carbon levels and emissions since it mostly relies on coal fired power plants and nuclear plants for power generation. For 2006, the total amount of Green House Gases - GHG emitted in UK was the equivalent of 7,076 million metric tons of CO2. It is estimated that from these emissions about 2344 Teragrams were due to CO2 emissions from the activities of standard and old electricity power grids (SmartGrid GB, 2012). Other than nuclear power, all other systems and plants generate excessive carbon. Domestic and household consumption in UK makes up for 60% of the power used while other users such as industries, utilities, offices and infrastructure consume the rest. Automobiles account for more than 75% of fossil fuel consumption (Williams, 2010). To promote the use of green and clean energy systems, the UK government has initiated a project that funds and supports solar energy by residential homes (Bullis, 2012). The proposal is called ‘Feed In Tariff – FIT’. This project involves encouraging households to install small solar panels with solar PV that can generate electricity. The Department of Clean Energy of the UK government has provided a number of subsidies, concessions and other benefits to householders who install these units. The UK government plans to buy back the power generated from these units and give tax breaks or a reduction in the regular utility power consumed by the householders (Lewis, 2006; Lock, 2007). There are different categories of FIT users and this depends on the amount of installed capacity of the plants. The installed capacity in UK for solar energy was 1000 Mega Watts and this is about 0.001% of the UK power requirements. With the FIT program, the government wants to provide solar PV to around four million homes and this should help to generate 22,000 MW of clean energy. As per the Kyoto protocols, the UK government must generate at least 12% of the total power consumed by means of renewable energy (EPIA, 2011). The above sections have highlighted the ambitious program of UK government to meet the clean ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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