Ten surprising renewable energy facts

From solar panels to wind farms, many of us may feel that we know all there is to know about renewable energy and the various ways it can benefit our homes.

However, there is a whole world of renewable energy facts that shed light on more than just reduced carbon emissions and multi-million pound investment programmes. Here are just a few:

  • The idea of renewable energy is far from new. Albert Einstein was one of its earliest pioneers, winning a Nobel Prize in Physics for his innovative experiments with photovoltaics and solar power.
  • Solar power is...well...powerful. In 1990 a world record was set when a solar-powered aircraft flew across America in 21 stages – without using any fuel!
  • The world’s largest wind turbine is set to be built in Scotland. A 171m wind turbine will shortly be constructed in the Scottish coastal town of Methil.
  • Wind turbines can produce significant amounts of electricity.  One wind turbine can generate enough electricity to power as many as 300 homes.
  • The Romans recognised the benefit of renewable energy. As well as constructing roads and introducing modern drainage systems, Romans were the first to heat their homes using geothermal energy.
  • The most commonly used renewable energy source is...water. Hydro power generates enough power to meet the needs of 28.3 million people.
  • Wind turbines don’t need a substantial amount of wind. Wind speeds of just 10mph are all that are needed to set wind turbines in motion and generate electricity. Considering that the majority of wind speed sites in the UK have speeds of between 10-17 mph, wind turbines should be ticking over most of the time.
  • The Earth’s geothermal energy may be more easily accessible in some parts of the UK. Underground steam or water can be utilised to heat our homes, though geothermal energy is closer to the surface in some parts of the UK.
  • Solar energy could heat the world. If solar energy could be harnessed correctly then it is feasible that enough energy could be generated for the entire world for a full 12 months.
  • Renewable energy could take centre stage by 2050. According to the WWF, by 2050 ‘we could get all the energy we need from renewable sources’.

Renewable energy is likely to be used alongside non-renewable energy for some time to come. If you are a heating oil user, ask your supplier about their current offers to help reduce your energy costs.