Forget coal and nuclear energy | the future is all about renewables
A few years ago, to many people, the most familiar forms of renewable energy were the wind and the sun.
The big surprise, however, is that biomass is the oldest source of renewable energy. Historically, humans have harnessed biomass-derived energy since man began burning wood to make fire. Even today, biomass is the only source of fuel for domestic use in many developing countries.
Previous claims that the future of the energy industry still lies with coal and nuclear power are being increasingly challenged. It is reported that US based energy company, Southern Co. has shelved its plans for a state-of-the-art plant, which would have turned “clean” coal into gas for electricity generation. Southern spent $7.5bn before deciding to operate it using ridiculously expensive natural gas instead.
Furthermore, according to media reports, Southern is now seeking financial help from President Donald Trump’s administration, to complete the construction of two nuclear reactors in Georgia. It is understood estimated construction costs have already spiraled to around $25m and it is unclear at this time whether the project will go ahead.
This news emerged straight after two similar reactors in South Carolina were abandoned mid-way through the project, with rumblings about delays and budget issues appearing, killing the project dead.
Curiously, the White House’s “Energy Dominance” campaign has given an unintentional boost to the drive for renewable energy – including biomass – which is gathering pace anyway.
Biomass is an industry term for obtaining energy by burning wood, which remains the largest biomass energy source today; harvested wood may be used directly as a fuel, or indirectly, after converting it into wood pellets or other forms of biofuel.
Industrial biomass can be grown from numerous types of plants, and some tree species, such as the fast-growing eucalyptus crop, which is at the heart of both GWD Forestry’s Rapid Growth Biomass Project and the Canadian Poplar Project.
Wood pellet fuel is becoming increasingly popular as a growing number of coal power stations switch from coal to biomass to comply with changing legislation.
The biomass fuel used for electricity generation varies by region; for example, forest by-products, such as wood residues and derivatives, are more common in the US.
So, does the future of energy lie with dirty coal, “clean” coal, or nuclear power? No, no and no, thanks.
The future of energy lies with renewables.