EnergySolutionsSustainable Development

Alternative Energy Options Expand in Galway, Ireland

Alternative energy is any energy source that is an alternative to fossil fuel. These alternatives are intended to address concerns about such fossil fuels and their associated risks.

There are various types of alternative energy available in Galway, situated on the west coast of Ireland, including wind power,geothermal energy,hydropower,solar and biomass. Facing the Atlantic Ocean, Galway is one of the windiest places on Earth. Wind energy was always going to be the number one alternative energy choice. At present, there are over six wind farms in Galway with more planned in the future.

Geothermal energy is thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth; it has increasingly become a popular way to heat houses in Galway. Its benefits include; being environmentally friendly, safer than fossil fuels and dependable.

Hydropower is power derived from the energy of falling water and running water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Hydropower in Galway was first established in 1888 by the Galway Electric Light Company for the generation of electricity to the town of Galway. Since then there has been several small hydropower stations along the Corrib River in Galway. At present only one station is operational.

Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics, or indirectly using concentrated solar power. The use of solar power has drastically increased in recent years, with people installing them on both private and public buildings as a means to reduce the cost of electricity.

Wood burning stove in a house/residence in Galway, Ireland

Biomass usage is the final type of alternative energy used in Galway. The most common form of biomass, used as a substitute for coal and charcoal, are biomass briquettesThey are made from green waste and other organic materials. The use of biomass briquettes has jumped recently as people seek an alternative to the harmful effects of burning of coal.

One private company that has invested in alternative energy is C&F Tooling, based approximately 5 miles outside Galway City. The rise in electricity prices a decade ago led C&F Tooling to seek other methods of generating electricity; they found a wind turbine was the best solution. The company built the turbine in 2008 and has seen their costs fall since the installation. C&F Tooling hires roughly 2,500 people in their Galway factory.

Is alternative energy as widespread in your city as it is in Galway, Ireland? Is your city making a shift to alternative energy sources? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Credits: Images by Alan Bannon. Data linked to sources.

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