The renewable electricity myth buster

You might think you know about renewables. But how much of it is actually true, and how much is just a myth?

Myth 1 — Renewables are unpredictable

There’s more to renewables than solar panels and wind turbines. Tidal power is much more predictable than either, and geothermal power — using heat from the Earth’s core to generate electricity — is almost completely reliable.

As for predictability, sustainable biomass uses compressed wood pellets to generate electricity whenever it is needed. It’s completely predictable. You can use it to produce electricity on demand, to control frequency in a split-second or for baseload power. It’s as reliable as coal or gas, but with a fraction of the carbon emissions.

Myth 2 — Renewables are expensive

Upgrading existing coal-fired power stations to run on compressed wood pellets is considerably cheaper than building new plant — and they’re already connected to the National Grid.

In fact, Drax research published by NERA Economic Consulting and Imperial College London found that given the development of a sensible mix of coal-to-biomass upgrades, plus new offshore wind and solar farms, then customers could save more than £2 billion on their energy bills.

Myth 3 — Renewables are ugly

Offshore wind farms are far less visible than onshore turbines. They’re also better positioned to take advantage of stronger offshore currents.

And hydropower projects including dams and tidal barrages can create entirely new habitats, ecosystems and leisure facilities in the form of artificial lakes and surrounding forests.

Myth 4 — Nobody uses renewables

In the UK, use of renewables continues to rise — accounting for 24% of all electricity supplied in 2016. In 2016, 16% of Britain’s renewable power was generated at Drax Power Station. So more people and businesses than ever are relying on renewables.

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