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Is Wind Energy the Future for Meeting UK Business Energy Requirements?

 

Now that the world has focused on what adversely affects or impacts our environment, finding more environmentally friendly ways to source our energy is vital. Wind energy has become one way to clean, sustainable energy sources ending our reliance on coal, oil, and natural gas. However, we have a long ways to go. In addition to individuals choices, global businesses need to adapt to greener energy sources – such as wind power.

With Boris Johnson pledging that by 2030 offshore wind farms will generate enough power for every home in the UK, the race is on to make wind energy the future. However, what does the future look like for businesses? Here, we discuss if wind energy will be the future for meeting UK business energy requirements.

Wind energy: the pros and cons

In short, wind energy relies on wind turbines to generate electricity. As the blades turn, they rotate a generator and a shaft that converts the energy into electricity. The UK is one of the best places in the world for wind-powered energy. So, why is it not being used more often by businesses? Northern Powergrid introduces its pros and cons for using wind energy as an electric connection.

The pros

  • It is one of the cleanest forms of energy. Wind energy provides businesses with clean, low-carbon energy since no fossil fuels or other pollutant forms of energy are required.
  • Offshore wind farms can produce a surprisingly high amount of energy since there is more wind at sea. Having a reliable supply of energy is vital to prevent delays in operations.
  • Offshore wind farms provide safe environments for fish. Flourishing green reefs have minimal impact on wildlife and are an incredibly green way to generate energy.
  • In 2019, the ‘Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2019’ report found that it cost more to keep coal plants in operation than to run onshore wind farms. Other than the environmental advantages, there are also cost bonuses.

The cons

  • Offshore wind farms can be costly to construct and maintain.
  • Any disruption in supply calls for reliance on fossil fuels as a backup. In this writing, wind turbines cannot always guarantee total green energy.
  • The grand, elegant appeal of graceful white towers may not appeal to everyone—wind turbines impact views. Some may view this as a blight on landscapes since onshore turbines generally find their home atop hills.

Wind energy and business energy: the requirements

With the pros and cons considered, the environmental aspect of wind energy undeniably has many benefits. However, whether wind turbines are the future of energy for businesses comes down to more than just the environmental factors. The overall question is whether wind energy can produce enough to supply UK businesses with power all year round and how the energy sector balances its general electricity profile in a low carbon way

In terms of how much electricity UK businesses require per year is as follows.

  • Micro-sized businesses can require between 5,000 to 15,000 kWh each.
  • Small businesses can require between 15,000 to 30,000 kWh each.
  • For medium businesses, these average at 30,000 to 50,000 kWh each per year

How much gas UK businesses consume per year? The standard varies depending on the size of the business too.

  • Micro-sized businesses require around 10,000 kWh each
  • Small companies require approximately 25,000 kWh each
  • Medium businesses need about 45,000 kWh each

The output level per wind turbine varies depending on its size and how fast it travels through the rota: the more wind, the more energy. An onshore wind turbine with 2.5-3MW is thought to produce around 6 million kWh of energy per year, supplying on average 1,500 households with electricity.

So, is there enough wind energy for UK businesses?

The average UK household requires around 3700kWh of electricity per year and 12,000 kWh of gas. There are 8,600 onshore wind turbines and 2,300 offshore wind turbines currently in the UK. Compared to businesses’ energy requirements on a yearly average, it is clear that more wind turbines are needed to generate enough power to cover both homes and businesses.

In terms of reliability, there have been some issues raised with this. If wind-powered energy causes delays when supplying businesses with electricity and gas, this could severely impact production levels for businesses. Therefore, other sustainable energy resources, such as solar panels, may be more beneficial. Alternatively, another solution to this is to place wind turbines in specific places strategically. For example, since offshore turbines are exposed to higher speeds and consistencies of wind, investing in more wind farms at sea will help prevent power inefficiencies for businesses.

There is no possible way to give a definitive answer about the future of UK businesses’ energy sources.

One thing for sure is that switching to wind-powered energy is a possibility, and a mix of local carbon energy generation technologies will be vital to achieving the balance needed to power our lives. With more investments in the efficiency and scale of wind farms to provide enough power for businesses, the future of the UK could be a much greener one.

Reaching its goals of green energy is not an unrealistic goal for the UK. In setting numerous targets to help lower the impact of climate change, a considerable part is finding more environmentally friendly energy sources. Although initial investments might be high, in the long run, wind energy can cost less than the likes of coal-powered energy, as mentioned above. Therefore, it is financially possible for wind energy to be the future power source for Briton.

 

Sources

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-54421489

https://www.northernpowergrid.com/get-connected

https://renews.biz/60689/renewables-increasingly-cheaper-than-fossil-fuels/#:~:text=The%20’Renewable%20Power%20Generation%20Costs,existing%20coal%20plants%20in%20operation.

https://smarterbusiness.co.uk/blogs/what-is-the-average-business-energy-consumption-in-the-uk/

https://www.ewea.org/wind-energy-basics/faq/#:~:text=The%20output%20of%20a%20wind,average%20EU%20households%20with%20electricity.

https://www.ovoenergy.com/guides/energy-guides/how-much-electricity-does-a-home-use.html#:~:text=How%20much%20electricity%20does%20a%20UK%20home%20use%3F,very%20large%20amounts%20of%20electricity.

https://www.ukpower.co.uk/home_energy/average-household-gas-and-electricity-usage

https://www.goodenergy.co.uk/how-do-wind-turbines-work/

https://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/guides/wind-farms/#step4

https://justenergy.com/blog/wind-energy-pros-and-cons/

https://www.strata.org/reliability-of-renewable-energy/wind/

https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/b96f4db23c4449849deb60c0953b2509