Welcome to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC)'s Youth Advisory Panel (YAP)'s blog. The DECC YAP is a group of young people aged between 15 and 25 from all over the UK, with a wide-range of backgrounds, from academia to activism.

Our aim is to inform everyone and anyone about DECC's activities and likewise to help DECC understand and take into account the concerns of young people. We are a medium of consultancy and conversation. Much of our work looks at finding a 'Pathway to 2050', reviewing how energy with be supplied and used in the next four decades, so follow us and join us on the journey!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

There are various methods of how electric energy can be created may it be through nuclear, wind or bio-energy and which are currently in use. Such sources of energy generating are set to increase in the United Kingdom over the next few years . The next generation will need to combat a seemingly increasing demand for electric power, while our actual generation is lacking clarification of how the UK will fully address the issue at this time. There is legislation in effect taking the form of an EU Directive, which states that all members must generate 15% of their energy needs through renewable energy sources by 2020. The UK currently generates 7.5% of its energy through renewable sources thus far, in spite of that there are plans in action to increase the percentage.

One noticeable way of how the government is attempting to meet the EU Directive is by enforcing regulation where energy companies source their energy from, they have a so called “grandfather” scheme whereby energy companies are tied in, and where they have to purchase/produce a specific amount of energy from renewable sources, or face costly fines.

Bio-energy creation is the current chosen route the UK will follow in attempting to provide for its energy needs, bio energy in this case means anaerobic digestion and /or capture gases from burning waste (otherwise would be landfill) or sewage, both of which can be used to generate electricity while remaining ethical. The ethical debate is raised over using/growing crops for energy usage rather than for food consumption. The government is currently planning to be generating at least 50% of energy from this source, while this is a high percentage the government will find gaining public support tricky, as many fear such methods create toxic fumes. This however is not the case, as the method the government wants to use will create water vapour only, this is due to the other gases/chemicals will be either burned for energy or captured and stored.

Wind power has been and continues to be used to generate energy, yet the source still faces many difficulties more specifically NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) and the military (radar interference). NIMBYs are mainly worried over the visual pollution and noise the turbines allegedly create, while a number of others believe it decreases the value of their properties. This method of generating power to many is see as a temporary measure until something more substantial is found, and will continue to have vast public outcry over where they should be located.

Why should we generate our own renewable energy ? Well academics as well as the government argue that renewable energy creation can ensure energy security which can be maintained without fear of external factors affecting supplies. In the current economic market, the government hopes to create several thousand jobs within the green energy sector. Britain in its current place as a world leader on green energy , thankfully has the ability to export many initiatives across the world while continuing research into more effective ways to generate more energy from renewable sources.

The next decade will prove to be interesting to see how the UK manages to achieve its goal in abiding the EU Energy Directive. The usage of bio-energy seems to be the way forward, but by no means must it be considered as a full answer to the UK’s needs. Wind power is effective but only arguably on a short- medium term basis and the need for a more substantial source to replace big scale wind farms should be highly considered. The UK seems to be doing well in comparison with other nations, nonetheless must continue on the path as a world leader ,setting a prime example to the rest of the world in what the UK as a developed nation can do.

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