Last week (5th September) was Energy Day, and to promote this day BBC Radio 5 Live powered the radio studio by using renewable energy. They filled the public piazza outside the BBC North building with solar panels, wind turbines and processed chip fat for biofuel and exercise bikes.
It all started at 7am when a specially constructed mini grid was switched on and hopefully powered the next 12 hours. The climate on one given area in Salford to power the radio station was hardly representative of the whole of the UK across a whole year. Wind power was slightly disrupted where the pop up area was as tall buildings surrounded it.
They estimated that they would need to generate on average roughly 7 Kw of power to create the approximate 84 Kwh needed for the whole day. The reason for this “experiment” was due to the fact that “by 2020 a quarter of Britain’s capacity to generate power will be shut down, as old coal and nuclear power stations are due to close down.” Ofgem have announced that if a solution isn’t found soon then the UK could face blackouts and our energy bills increase dramatically.
When powering the radio station they tried to replicate as much as they could the proportions generated in the UK for 2012. 86% of the energy generated in the UK in 2012 came from using coal, gas and nuclear reactors with roughly 14% only coming from renewable sources. BBC Radio 5 Live replaced the power supplied usually by coal, gas and nuclear with a biodiesel generator using waste vegetable oil. On the Energy Day BBC produced 86.3% of energy through biodiesel and 13.7% using solar, wind and kinetic.