Renewable Energy Facts: 10 Truths That Will Amaze You
At myenergi, we think that educating people about the benefits of renewables is the first step in our collective journey to a sustainable future. But who says education can’t be fun? We’ve put together a list of ten renewable energy facts to fascinate, amaze and inspire you…
1. One wind turbine alone can generate enough electricity to power 1,400 homes
Wind energy in the UK is at an all-time high, as offshore wind farms are becoming the UK’s largest source of renewable energy. Wind power is a very efficient source of energy: a single wind turbine can generate enough electricity to meet the yearly needs of over 1,400 households.
That’s the same as making 230 million cups of tea, or running your average desktop computer for over 2,000 years!
2. Solar power from the sun’s rays can be stored in salt and used at night time
A power plant in Spain soaks up solar energy by day, and pumps out 7 hours of power to the surrounding area by night. The solar panels reflect the sun’s rays onto a tower that transmits energy at an intensity 1,000 times higher than the sun’s rays reaching the earth.
The energy is stored in a vat filled with molten salts at more than 500 degrees C. The salts are then used to produce steam to turn the turbines and produce electricity.
3. Google, Apple, and Facebook are creating a ‘green internet’
Tech giants are now using increasingly green energy to power the web. Apple is currently winning the race to the highest green energy score: with an ‘A’ grade and green energy index score of 83%.
Facebook came in second with a score of 67%, and Mark Zuckerberg has stated that “we’ve committed that every new data center we build will be supported by 100% renewable energy.” These giant data centers are paving the way for an internet powered entirely by renewable, clean energy.
4. According to the WWF, our whole planet could get all the power it needs from renewable resources by 2050
Stanford researchers found that the planet should be ready to go 100 percent renewable by 2050. The study analyzed the 139 countries that are responsible for 99 percent of global carbon emissions.
This would boost our energy efficiency incredibly, and end our global reliance on fossil fuels and other depleting resources. However, according to the WWF, this is only if the right political, financial and societal decisions are quickly made to meet existing renewable energy targets.
5. Renewable energy sources now generate more energy than fossil fuels
The renewables record in the UK was set in the third quarter of 2019, after its share of the electricity mix rose to 40%.
This marks the first time that electricity from British wind and solar power, as well as renewable biomass plants, has overtaken fossil fuels since the UK’s first power plant fired up in 1882!
6. We have been harnessing renewable energy resources for millions of years
Before we began to burn coal as fossil fuel in the mid 19th century, all the energy we used was renewable. The oldest known use of renewable energy is burning biomass as fuel, which dates back to more than a million years ago!
The Romans also harnessed renewable energy: they were the very first people to use geothermal energy to heat their homes. They utilised warm air moving under floors and inside walls to create the first underfloor heating.
The windmill is also an ancient source of renewable energy, as the earliest recorded windmill design found was in Persia, and was invented around 700–900 AD!
7. Global supplies of renewable energy are growing faster than expected
And they’re predicted to expand by 50% in the next five years thanks to a resurgence in the use of solar energy. The International Energy Agency (IEA) found that solar, wind and hydropower projects are rolling out at their quickest rate in four years.
Its latest report predicts that by 2024, a new age for cheap solar power could see the world’s solar capacity grow by 600GW!
8. Entire countries are already being run on renewable energy
Costa Rica ran almost entirely on renewable energy in 2016, supplying 98.1% of the country’s electricity for the year. The 4.9 million people that live there get most of their electricity from large hydropower facilities, which are fed by multiple rivers and heavy rains.
And other countries are already taking the initiative – as Albania, Iceland, and Paraguay obtain nearly all of their electricity from renewable sources. Kenya also has aimed to be powered entirely by renewable energy in 2020.
9. The capacity of renewable energy has overtaken that of fossil fuels in the UK for the first time
In the past five years, renewable capacity in the UK has tripled. Fossil fuels’ capacity has fallen by one-third, as power stations reached the end of their lives or became too expensive to run.
This milestone shows that as a country, we are slowly walking away from our dependence on fossil fuels!
10. The transition back to renewable energy was predicted in 1873!
“The time will arrive when the industry of Europe will cease to find those natural resources, so necessary for it. Petroleum springs and coal mines are not inexhaustible but are rapidly diminishing in many places. Will man, then, return to the power of water and wind?”
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the advantages of using renewable energy?
Renewable energy sources like solar and wind power emit close to no greenhouse gases, so they can actually help reverse the effects of climate change.
To find out more, read our article on The Ten Advantages of Using Renewable Energy. We have also taken the time to answer The 10 Most Googled Questions About Renewable Energy!
What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources – such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat.
There are 5 common types that we explore in our article: What are the 5 Types of Renewable Energy? We also go over the differences between clean, green and renewable energy!
What is solar energy?
Solar energy is energy generated from the sun. The sun’s rays are captured by panels that take the energy and use it to make electricity.
Find out more here: Everything you need to know about solar power.
How does wind power work?
Wind power is made by wind turbines, which actually work in the exact opposite way to fans. Fans use electricity to make wind, whereas wind turbines use wind to make electricity.