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Last Updated: Monday March 14 2011 11:20 GMT

Gas

Gas provides 45% of the UK's power

Gas ring on cooker

What is it?

Natural gas is formed by the decay of plants and animals. Gas from living things that died millions of years ago gets trapped between seams of rock under the earth's surface. Pipes are sunk into the ground to release this gas, which is often used in houses for heating and cooking.

Strengths

The UK has its own supply of gas underneath the North Sea. It's reliable and releases less of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide than coal. Gas was very cheap in the 1990s so the UK has been using more of it.

Weaknesses

Natural gas is a non-renewable fossil fuel. Burning it produces lots of carbon dioxide. The UK's own gas fields are running out so we will have to rely more on imported gas. That means we will have less control over the price and availability.

The future

The UK currently uses more gas than it can produce. Our use of gas is expected to continue, so imports will increase.



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