Renewable energies are sources of clean and inexhaustible energy. They differ greatlyfrom fossil fuels in their diversity, abundance,andubiquity and can be put to use anywhere on the planet. Above all, they do notproduce greenhouse gases, which cause climate change, or other polluting emissions. Thecosts of renewable energy sources are also falling at a sustainable rate, whereas the general cost trend for fossil fuels is going up in spite of their present volatility.
Currently, renewable energy has a long way to go to replace fossil fuels as a primary source of energy consumption. However, things have been lately moving in the right direction. Growth in clean energies is at an all-time high, as reflected in a reportproduced by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2017. Even if we ignore the pollution factor of the conventional energy sources, the shortage of these resources is something that is bound to happen in the future which will pose an obstacle in the future growth of mankind.
In this article, we will further uncover the reasons why renewable energy is a significant trend for the future of our society.
- They are clean:
Renewablesenergy sources like solar, wind, biomass, biogas do not release the greenhouse gases in the energy generation process. This makes them a viable solution to environmental degradation and climate change. International commitments such as the Kyoto Protocol have forced governments to advance in this direction and reduce their share of emissions. Policies, such as the objective framed by the European Union, are being applied with the aim to reduce emissions from conventional energy sources by20 percenttill 2020(compared to 1990 levels).
Clean energy development is indispensable for combating climate change and limiting its devastating effects. According to the National Geographic special November 2015 issue on climate change, the Earth’s temperature has risen by an average 0.85 degree Celcius since the end of the 19th Century which is the primary effect of the fossil fuel backed industry on our environment. Until eco-friendly energy resources take over, we cannot address this issue that concerns most of the humanity.
Fossil fuels such as oil, gas, coal and nuclear do not replenish themselves, whereas renewable energy sources like sun, wind,and water are always available. Reserves of conventional energy sources are finite compared to clean energies. The very name “renewables” indicates that these energy sources are available all the time and they adapt to natural cycles without going extinct. This makes them a vital element in a sustainable energy system that would drive the development today and the future.
The doubts expressed over the safety of nuclear energy and pollution are the primary concerns associated with conventional energy sources. Renewable energy generation, on the other hand, does not pose any risks to people or the environment.The lack of use of fossil fuel can help governments save billions in the form of reduced societal cost, fatalities in mines, and health damages caused by greenhouse gases and mercury emissions. In China alone, more than 670,000 people lost their livesin 2012 due to coal emissions.
Water, wind, sun,and other renewables are available the world over. This means that the capacity for generating energy from renewable sources comes from indigenous supply base for every country. Indigenous resources eliminate the need to import from other countries; hence, reducing the economic and even strategic costs. Dependence on fossil fuels results in subordination to the economic and political short-term goals of the supplier country, and produce uncertainty in the energy supply.
- Economic impacts:
Renewable energy generation presents economic benefits for governments, businesses, and individuals. The rural community can particularly benefit from the rise of the renewable energy sector. It will enable them to earn some returns for the land and services that they offer for the operations of renewable energy projects.
Renewables like biomass, for instance, will allow farmland owners to deliver their services to firms by producing the necessary feedstock. The economic impacts of the sector are encouraging due to the ripple effects whereby more and more people will be able to benefit from the industry. It is believed that the United States alone could see an investment of USD 263 billion in the sector by 2025.
- Less expensive:
Renewable energy sources like wind and the sun are available without cost, although investment and technological development are required initially to make use of them as energy sources. However, these costs are multifold in economic models based on fossil fuels.
According to theInternational Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the cost of onshore wind electricity has fallen 18 percent since 2009, making iton par with or even cheaper source of electricity than fossil fuels.For solar, the decline in costs is even more rapid and dramatic. The prices of solar photovoltaic (PV) have fallen by 80 percent since 2008,and the trend is expected to continue for the coming years. Additionally, platforms like scoop.solar have been helping solar companies and solar o&m teams to automate and streamline their operations to further reduce the costs and increase quality.
- World peace:
It may sound idyllic but turning towards renewables can end many conflicts and skirmisheswe face today. The battle for resources is as old as the civilization itself,and as weturn towards renewable energy sources, natural resources like oil might lose some of their value. Conflicts among countries currently instigated due to a struggle for fossil fuels won’t have this materialistic goal as their main cause anymore. So, we as humanity, can scratch at least one casus belli off the list.
Renewable and sustainable energy generation is no longer the stuff of science fiction. Every day we see renewables being used and improved upon across the planet. UBS analystssuggest that big power stations in Europe could be redundant within the next decade. Technological advances, like electric cars and new solar technologies, are rendering the dirty power plantsobsolete faster than expected. With such rapid development in the renewable energy sector, it can be declared that the age of renewable has begun and for a better future, it is the right way to go.
Audrey Throne is a mother of a 3-year old and a professional blogger by choice. Throne is passionate about lifestyle, business, automotive, technology and management and blogs frequently on these topics.
Find her on Twitter: @audrey_throne.