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Fossil Fuels versus Renewable Energy Coal, Gas and Oil are fossil fuels, so called because they have been formed from the remains of rotted fossilised prehistoric

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Fossil Fuels versus Renewable Energy

Coal, Gas and Oil are fossil fuels, so called because they have been formed from the remains of rotted fossilised prehistoric plants and animals from millions of years ago. We are using fossil fuels millions of times faster than they can be formed. Open cast mining of coal at or near the surface is a scar in the landscape.

        Fossil fuels account for 95% of the United Kingdoms energy sources. They provide a cost-efficient, stable supply of energy. So what’s the problem? Fossil Fuels do not last forever, and in just over one hundred years the worlds supply of oil will run out. Coal will run out in just over three hundred years. Burning fossil fuels emit harmful substances into the earth’s atmosphere.  A third of all carbon emissions in the UK come from burning fossil fuels to generate electricity. The British government has set a target that by 2010 at least 10% of electricity produced in the United Kingdom must come from renewable sources. In April of this year the Department of Trade and Industry are launching ‘Low Carbon Building Programme’, a thirty million pound project to promote renewable electricity sources and reduce the use of fossil fuels. The technology is widely available and the costs are coming down for alternative energy methods. It is a fact that life in the 21st century cannot exist without electricity.

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        An alternative to building dams but still related to hydro energy would be to use wave energy. The energy carried in waves and tides is converted to electricity. A machine called a duck ‘bobs’ up and down as waves wash past it. This movement drives a generator. This generator will provide electricity to coastal towns.

        There is also the possibility of using nuclear energy to power countries. Nuclear energy poses a lot more danger than hydro electricity however when handled properly it will provide a powerful electricity supply. Nuclear power plants provide about 17 percent of the world's electricity. Some countries depend more on nuclear power for electricity than others. In France, for instance, about 75 percent of the electricity is generated from nuclear power, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. In the United States, nuclear power supplies about 15% of the electricity overall, but some states get more power from nuclear plants than others. There are more than 400 nuclear power plants around the world, with more than 100 in the United States. Nuclear power can produce vast quantities of heat energy to be converted into electricity. Nuclear reactions are so powerful that a lump of uranium the size of your fist can release the same amount of heat as burning a pile of coal bigger than a house.


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        I suggest that the best form of renewable energy for the United Kingdom to turn to is wind energy, as in the long run it is very cost efficient, produces the least amount of harmful substances into the atmosphere and is very reliable to the British climate, as there is a constant wind off the coastal areas. To stabilise this I also propose that we build enough nuclear power plants to power at least a quarter of the country, for those areas which the wind farms may not be able to generate and encourage schools and businesses to start using a biomass scheme using waste from recycling and sewage to heat themselves.

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