Most of us are aware that renewable energy is the only sustainable option we have to power our homes. But there are plenty of amazing nuggets of information that you might not have known, and which show just how far we’ve come in terms of creating a cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels. They might even make you want to look at how energy is supplied to your home by re-evaluating your electricity plan and how you heat your house.
- Hydropower makes up 18% of the world’s generation of power, making it the largest renewable energy source.
- In the UK, it’s wind energy that reigns supreme. We have nearly 11,000 turbines producing enough energy to power 18 million homes.
- Iceland generates 100% of its electricity and heat from renewable resources. It’s the only country to do so, and takes advantage of the geothermal energy from the volcanic regions on the island, as well as hydropower.
- Women make up just 21% of roles in the fossil fuel industry, but 32% in the renewable energy industry.
- In 2020, global investment in green energy rose by 9%.
- There’s nothing new about renewable energy – harnessing the wind is a practice that dates back more than 7,000 years, the waterwheel (a precursor to hydropower plants) was in use 2,000 years ago, and the Romans would heat their homes using geothermal energy to move warm air beneath their floors and inside their walls.
- It’s estimated that exclusively using renewable energy would clean the air to a point where we’d save between four million and seven million lives.
- In one hour, the sun provides enough solar energy to keep Planet Earth supplied with electricity for a year.
- NASA is currently looking at ways to provide green energy to the world from the moon.
- In 2016 an engineless plane flew around the world using solar power and wings alone. It took 25 days of flying, over a five-month period.
- China builds two wind turbines every hour.
- A single 2.5 MW wind turbine can power more than 1,400 homes, which means if a community decides it wants to go renewable, it might be able to do so itself with the installation of just one turbine.
- In 2004 the renewable energy sector employed 1.7 million people. By 2019 that number had risen to 11.5 million – five times more jobs than in the fossil fuel sector.
It’s clear that, when talking about energy supply, we’re living in an era of transition. For years we relied on fossil fuels without a viable alternative, but now that has changed and people’s preferences are changing with it. Climate is now high on the agenda for governments worldwide with pollution-reduction targets being promised and campaigners ensuring they stick to these promises. But we can all do our bit, and switching to green energy is a great way to do it.