By Catherine Somerville of Sustainable Wallingford.

THE issue of whether the renewable energy industry gets subsidies has, over the years, been blown out of proportion.

Many new industries seem to benefit from some sort of subsidy in the early days to help them get established, especially if anything to do with the national interest. The supply of gas and electricity certainly falls into that category.

Our schools, hospitals, manufacturing industries and transport systems would all fail without a reliable supply of both.

With that mind, here are a few facts you may find interesting.

1. By the time you finish reading this first renewable fact, one wind turbine located at the Burbo Bank extension in Liverpool bay will have generated enough energy to power your home for 29 hours.

2. One of the biggest grumbles people seem to have about renewables is the subsidies provided by the government. Yet, the reality is that fossil fuels receive four times the amount in subsidies. We are literally paying to damage our planet. That should encourage you to use less energy or switch to a renewable energy supplier.

3. You may be surprised to learn that even in our poorest summers, enough sunshine beams on the Earth to satisfy the entire world’s energy needs for a whole year. We just need to harness it.

4. The renewable energy industry is also great for our economy and creates over four times the number of jobs that the fossil fuel industry does. Bet you never thought that was likely.

5. Interestingly, solar energy can now be harnessed throughout the night. A solar plant in Spain soaks up the sun’s rays and stores them in salt. This provides over seven hours of power to homes in the region. We could do that here.

(Courtesy of Fischer Energy)

Some more facts to help you reduce not only your energy use, but also your bills:-

One kilowatt hour of electricity gives you one of the following -

9 uses of a kettle

4 hours watching TV

24 hours gaming

24 hours phone charging

27 minutes ironing

31 hours laptop use

1 or 2 washing machine cycles

60 minutes using a microwave

(courtesy of NPower)

To further reduce your energy use and bills, make sure your home is properly insulated, walls and loft, and that any draughts are dealt with before the cold weather sets in.