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Coal, oil and gas are called "fossil fuels" because
they have been formed from the organic remains of
prehistoric plants and animals.
Very large amounts of electricity can be generated in one
place using coal, fairly cheaply.
· Transporting oil and gas to the power stations is easy.
· Gasfired power stations are very efficient.
· A fossilfuelled power station can be built almost
anywhere, so long as you can get large quantities of fuel
to it. Didcot power station, in Oxfordshire, has a
dedicated rail link to supply the coal.
Basically, the main drawback of fossil fuels is pollution.
Burning any fossil fuel produces carbon dioxide, which
contributes to the "greenhouse effect", warming the
· Burning coal produces more carbon dioxide than burning
oil or gas.
It also produces sulphur dioxide, a gas that contributes to
acid rain. We can reduce this before releasing the waste
gases into the atmosphere.
· Mining coal can be difficult and dangerous. Strip mining
destroys large areas of the landscape.
· Coalfired power stations need huge amounts of fuel,
which means trainloads of coal almost constantly. In
order to cope with changing demands for power, the
station needs reserves.
This means covering a large area of countryside next to
the power station with piles of coal.
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We've used the Sun for drying clothes and food for
thousands of years, but only recently have we been able to
use it for generating power. The Sun is 150 million kilometres
away, and amazingly powerful. Just the tiny fraction of the
Sun's energy that hits the Earth (around a hundredth of a
millionth of a percent) is enough to meet all our power
needs many times over.…read more