Changing to use renewable energy is one of the key steps we can take to help reduce our contribution to climate change. This is because renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar panels, do not emit greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. So, they do not contribute to climate change, unlike our current main fuel sources.
Humans have historically used fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas to power everything from our factories to our cars and aircraft. Also we’ve used fossil fuels to warm our houses and heat our water. Almost everything we do, buy or use has caused greenhouse gases to be released by the burning of fossil fuels. These gases have built up over time and now the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by 40% and is currently higher than at any time in the last 800,000 years. The greenhouse gases that have collected in the atmosphere form a blanket that traps the heat from the sun and causes the planet to heat up.
If the warming continues the resulting changes will affect where we can live, our safety and our access to food and water. Climate change is the biggest environmental challenge we have ever experienced and problems that we face as a result of climate change include increasing temperatures, extreme weather events, forest fires, extinction of animals, sea level rises, flooding and disruption to the global ecosystem, including ocean acidification.
The different types of renewable energy sources that we can use are:
- Hydropower: Using the power from river currents to generate energy. Or using the tidal and wave energy to create power.
- Wind: Using the wind as a source of energy via wind turbines.
- Solar: Using the energy of the sun to generate power via solar panels.
- Geothermal: Using the Earth’s internal heat as a source of energy.
- Biomass: Creating energy from natural materials to produce biofuels. Although biomass is not 100% carbon neutral and may not be a preferred energy source compared to the other options.
We need to stop burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas and switch to using 100% renewable energy using technology like heat pumps, solar panels and wind turbines. All remaining fossil fuels need to be left in the ground and not burnt.
There has been an increase in the total renewable energy output in the UK, mainly due to increases in electricity generated by solar panels and windfarms. However, more needs to be done and massively increasing renewable energy is the most important way we can reduce carbon emissions and to stop the worst effects of climate change from happening.
Find out more here: Renewable Energy
Brookvale’s Solar Power Station
Brookvale Community Association became the proud owners of Basingstoke’s first community owned power station. A first for Basingstoke, and probably Hampshire, and only one of the few in the UK. Well done BCA and a big thank you to Basingstoke Energy Services Co-op (Bes Co-op) for the design and installation of the system. For more about Bes Co-op see www.bes.coop. More information on Brookvale Community Association is here.
See the story in the local press.
An announcement from DECC confirmed that our project will receive funding to support our community energy programme. We will be funded to undertake 100 domestic EPCs to help householders in Old Basing & Lychpit to identify the potential improvements and efficiency of energy use in their homes. We also had funding to assist with running a community energy engagement event within the village. Both of these activities will help our local community to work together and identify ways to reduce fuel poverty in our ward.
The Scouts and Guides will also have a significant benefit from this award. The DECC LEAF award will pay for the thermal modelling and analysis of various building fabric options for the proposed Old Basing Baden-Powell Centre. This work will enable us to select the most cost effective form of construction to ensure optimum energy efficiency from the new building. It will also enable us to evaluate potential for an interseasonal thermal store designed to collect summer heat. This stored heat could provide an effective alternative to fossil fuels when heating the building during the winter months. The aim of our work will be to establish whether the underground interseasonal thermal store will offer a practical solution to reduce carbon emissions and also deliver a strong financial return on the investment needed.
The combination of the planned studies and community engagement event will help householders in our local area to see what can be achieved. We also engaged local business in this event so that the green economy in our borough gets a boost. This planned approach to creating a better understanding about desigining and constructing for building energy performance is a real investment in our future. Our aim is to inspire young and old with practical application of innovative ideas and technical proofs that challenge the view that we must use fossil fuels to heat buildings. Perhaps the return on this investment will be greater than we imagine!
To find out more on the progress of these projects please keep an eye out for out latest news.