Looking for Our Energy Future; from Renewable Energy to the Controversy over 'Fracking', the Issue of Where We Get Our Energy Supply from Rumbles on. but Looking to the Future, What Are Our Options? SARAH SCOTT Speaks to Experts in the Fields of Energy Supply and Sustainability
Byline: SARAH SCOTT
TURNING on a light switch, charging a mobile phone - every day we rely on energy without even thinking about it.
But there is not an inexhaustible supply of energy and how we will keep the lights on for future generations has become a hot topic.
From gas and oil, ts o renewables and the controversial method of 'fracking', there are many ways we can get energy, but the question lies over which is the way forward.
Professor Phil Taylor, Director of the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability at Newcastle University, said that our future energy supply will not come from just one source.
"I think the key thing is that we are going to have to rely on a whole host of different energy resources," he said.
"Any discussions about wind versus nuclear, or gas versus solar power, I think are a bit silly really because we are going to need all of those resources together in the future, or we will not have security of energy supply.
"We need affordable, low-carbon options and it's got to be secure," he said.
Last Friday, Newcastle hosted the British Energy Challenge at St James' Park, an event set to challenge how the people of the North East think about energy generation and different options to solve the problem of climate change.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Newcastle City Council invited different speakers, including Prof Taylor, to talk to audiences about how we power the city and the country, as how we make and use energy becomes one of the most urgent issues facing the UK today.
It impacts on our economy, bills and the environment in which we live.
"We all use energy every day without thinking about where it comes from," continued Prof Taylor.
"We don't have an inexhaustible supply of energy and need to think about how we can produce energy in a way that will be sustainable for future generations."
As well as meeting our electricity needs, Prof Taylor said we would also need to factor in heat and transport for energy supplies, as electric cars become increasingly popular.
"The amount of electricity demand is going to double in the future," he said. "We have a huge challenge for the electricity industry."
Prof Janusz Bialek, the DONG Energy Chair of Renewable Energy at the Durham Energy Institute at Durham University, agrees.
He said: "In the end, it is the balance that's important. Generally speaking we do not have an energy shortage, it is a question of choosing the right way.
energy in them that we can use but getting it out is quite expensive, you need a lot of wind turbines to get the same amount of energy as another source of power. But there's no shortage of energy as such, we are surrounded by energy. "If you live in Spain or Italy, solar is very good, I don't think it's very good in Britain, especially in the North East. "Our recent summer has been good but that's an exception. "We do not have good solar resources due to our geographical location. …