September 3, 2013 (www.investorideas.com newswire) Ever since the 1973 oil crisis sent shockwaves through industrialised economies across the world, more and more attention has been focused on the energy sources that we use every day in our homes, offices, and vehicles. Now that we have a better understanding of the fragile reserves our economy is based on – not to mention the rigorously studied fields of climate change and global warming – it’s become more important than ever to understand the way we use energy, the places we get it from and how we can most efficiently use it for continued productivity in the years to come.
In the UK, the traditional commodities for producing energy - natural gas and coal - have experienced mixed fortunes since the 1980s. The sharp decline in the use of coal-fired power stations has been mirrored inversely by the rise in the use of natural gas, which saw an astonishing 100% increase from the early 1980s to 2010. It's easy to see why natural gas is so attractive as a fossil fuel in the UK - almost 60% of natural gas consumed in the UK came from the substantial North Sea oil and gas fields just off the coast of England and Scotland. Figures from 2009 show that gas provided nearly half of all electricity supplied in 2008.
Behind gas and coal, statistics suggest that around 14% of energy in the UK is provided by nuclear power plants such as Sizewell B in Suffolk and Torness in Scotland. Nuclear power is, of course, a controversial energy source with its own unique benefits and challenges. Though it offers substantial benefits over fossil fuels in terms of extremely efficient power generation and negligible greenhouse gas emissions, but concerns over the long-term safety of nuclear power generation and the secure storage of nuclear waste remain tricky political issues, made only murkier by the disastrous consequences of the tsunami at the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan.
Since even the newest of Britain's nuclear power plants is nearly 20 years old, there are growing concerns about the UK's ability to produce enough energy when the current nuclear plants begin to close. In 2008 the government announced plans to build a new generation of nuclear power stations, but firm arrangements have yet to be announced.
However, the UK can boast a growing percentage of power supplied by renewable resources. Chief among these sources of green power are wind turbines, providing over 8 gigawatts of power to the country. This makes the UK the sixth biggest producer of energy from wind turbines, with production expected to rise to 28 gigawatts in 2020. Another potential source of energy, particularly suited to Britain's rugged coastline, is power generated from waves and tides - an area currently being investigated for future development.
So what will this mean for investors in energy and those looking to make the most of this growing revolution in the way we power our homes, workplaces and cars? It's easier than ever to invest efficiently with optimal information provided by online services such as www.cmcmarkets.co.uk. Websites like these offer a comprehensive array of investment options across the energy sector, from standard forex and stock market trading to potentially lucrative commodities trading, spread betting and CFD trading.
Published at the Investorideas.com Newswire - Big ideas for Global Investors
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