Mar 13, 2019 - 5min read
In the second instalment of our Tonik Trumps series, we compare five different sources of energy to discover which ones come out smelling of sustainably-sourced roses and which ones belong in the dark ages. Each energy source is measured against four categories: usage, green rating, cost and control. You may notice a theme here - perhaps that renewable energy is the way forward - but of course, this game is completely objective!
We get a good chunk of energy from wind with turbines dotted around the country accounting for 11.7% of the UK’s power generation. It is still relatively small compared to that of gas and nuclear power but is one of the greenest ways to get energy, emitting an extremely low 11gCO2e per kWh of carbon dioxide. It is also one of the cheapest ways to generate energy in the country though of course, the very nature of wind means it varies massively during the day and is relatively unreliable in the short term. At Tonik, wind power made up 68% of our fuel mix for renewable electricity last year!
Solar currently provides the smallest contribution to the UK’s power generation at 3.5% but this is changing rapidly as more solar panels are installed and it is extremely green. It is also one of the cheaper sources of energy with a total of £80 per megawatt hour meaning storing this solar energy for the future will ensure we get the maximum benefit from this. Solar power made up 32% of our renewable electricity fuel mix last year!
This is a very reliable, low carbon source of energy with, surprisingly perhaps, the second lowest green rate of 12gCO2e per kWh, producing very little carbon emissions. Because it more or less generates the same amount of energy 24 hours a day, it is one of the most popular sources of power generation in the UK accounting for 20.8%. However, these high scores come at a cost with the well known safety issues that surround nuclear power.
Gas may be the most convenient of the energy sources, simply turn the tap on and off whenever you please, but it’s not very sustainable. Responsible for nearly half the UK’s power it is a slightly more environmentally friendly alternative to coal, emitting 490gCO2e per kWh compared to coal’s whopping 820gCO2e per kWh of carbon dioxide.
Unsurprisingly, coal is by far the un-greenest source of energy and thankfully its usage has been in decline as the government attempts to cut out its use completely. As the most expensive energy source by far, costing an average of £134 per megawatt hour, it is no surprise this source is going the way of the dodo as more people embrace the more environmentally friendly and cheaper alternatives.
We chose typical energy sources and selected the four most relevant categories for each card. We then used the information in the references below, and then adjusted and pro-rated them out of 100 to get the scores used in our Tonik Trumps.