What’s Renewable Energy?

renewable energiesWhat is Renewable Energy?

The benefits of such energy sources are obvious in terms of supply – but another important benefit is that renewable energies are much better for the environment than conventional fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal. This is because burning fossil fuels adds greenhouse gases, which have been ‘locked up’ within the Earth, back into the atmosphere. This is a major cause of the phenomenon known as ‘Climate Change’.

Another benefit of using renewable energy is that while we import most of our fossil fuel, there are abundant sources of RE available locally.

Renewable energy sources are all around us and many are as old as civilization itself – yet we don’t always appreciate them or use them as much as we could. There are many different types of renewable energy, some you may have heard of – like solar power, others may be new to you – like biomass energy.

The Carlow Kilkenny Energy agency have information on the various renewable energy resources and technologies available to you by clicking on the Resources page.

Direct benefits for users of renewable energy

  • Almost every energy user has at least one source of renewable energy available to them, from the geothermal heat in back gardens to the solar energy falling on roofs.
  • Modern renewable energy systems can provide a high level of automation, reliability and responsiveness, operate with high energy conversion efficiency and produce very low or zero emissions.
  • Many companies are now offering a wide range of renewable energy services and equipment for domestic, commercial and industrial energy users.
  • Locally sourced renewable energies can provide clean, sustainable, and cost effective sources of heat, electricity, and transport fuel. Significant savings can be made by using renewable energy in terms of both energy costs and Carbon dioxide emissions reduction when compared to using fossil fuel.
  • Renewable energies can offer stable, predictable and long term energy prices.
  • For certain renewable energy developments, grant aid may be available to support projects.

Benefits to the economy and environment

There are many environmental benefits associated with using renewable energy:

  • The main environmental benefit of using renewable energy is the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This will in turn reduce the fines resulting from not meeting our Kyoto and EU targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions and renewable energy implementation.
  • Renewable energy technologies produce little or no pollution, whereas energy from fossil fuels is a primary source of air, water, and soil pollution. Pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter all impact negatively on the local environment.
  • Using locally sourced renewable energies also reduces the harmful emissions and pollution risks associated with the transport of fossil fuels.
  • Using the renewable energy sources available locally reduces fossil fuel imports, thus improving the balance of payments for the exchequer and keeping money within the local economy.
  • Using renewable energy reduces exposure to fluctuations in fossil fuel price and security of supply, especially oil.
  • Renewable energy offers the opportunity to create new jobs in rural areas as well as providing alternative land uses for farmers.

Renewable Technologies

Renewable Energy Resources in Carlow and Kilkenny

There is a huge renewable energy resource waiting to be tapped into in Co. Carlow and Co. Kilkenny. Full exploitation of the Accessible renewable energy resources in the Counties would mean that we could meet 50% of our primary energy requirements from local renewable energy resources.

The development of renewable energy sources is a priority at local, regional, national and at a European level. It is an objective of the existing County Development Plans of both counties to encourage and facilitate the development of renewable energy developments where it is consistent with the proper planning and development of the area.

The Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency carried out a survey in 2005 of the potential and practical availability of the renewable energy resources in Co. Carlow and Co. Kilkenny. All these resources have potential to be used to reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels.

The Agency can offer support and advice to anyone wishing to utilise the renewable energy resources in the Counties whether using wood, solar or geothermal energy to heat homes and other premises, for the development of wind and biogas projects, or for the use of biofuels for transport.

The renewable energy resource reports can be accessed from our Resources page.