Energy is the fabric of society. In the past few years, there has been an enormous increase in energy demand. Developed nations account for 28% of the world’s population but consume 77% of the world’s energy production. The human population will rise to around 9.7 billion people by 2050. 90% of the world’s population belongs to developing countries.
Energy supply and use create problems not only related to global warming but also to other environmental concerns such as acid rain, air pollution, forest destruction, ozone depletion, and the release of radioactive materials. If we want to secure a future with minimal environmental impacts, we must consider these issues. Scientists have already gathered evidence suggesting the continued human-induced degradation of the environment will negatively impact our future.
Our fossil fuel reserves are naturally going to come to an end one day. Thus, clean energy and renewable energy sources will become the most significant energy resources in the Earth’s near future, raising its demand for paving the way for a sustainable future. The growth of these industries will also provide people with new job opportunities. Renewable energy sources and technologies are the solutions to the impending energy shortage.
If you deeply think about it, solar energy (the energy from the sun) powers all other renewable energy sources. Its continuous heat supply warms us, causes crops to grow via photosynthesis, and heats the land and sea differently, which causes the wind to blow, which in turn provides us with wind energy. The sun is also responsible for rain, which gives us hydropower. Apart from the sun, the gravitational pull of the moon and sun cause tidal waves, which again provide us with energy. Also, radioactive decay deep inside the Earth gives us geothermal energy. But although understanding the scientific processes of renewable energy generation is pretty easy, engineering is difficult to conduct.
Energy is a huge part of sustainable development. Our rapid industrialization and other human activities have polluted the environment greatly. Sustainable development can help us reverse this damage. Sustainable development includes developing renewable energy sources, energy policies, renewable energy securities, innovative grid technologies, and energy security. With renewable energy paving the way for a sustainable future, we need more investments in these technologies.
Renewable Energy Resources and Technologies
Since the 1970s oil crisis, the world has actively engaged in research and development in renewable energy resources and systems. With the cost of oil projected to increase, energy conversion systems based on renewable energy technologies have never been more attractive. During the past few years, the world has realized that renewable energy sources and systems positively impact global environmental, economic, and political issues.
Renewable energy technologies produce marketable power by converting natural phenomena into useful energy forms. Renewable energy resources represent a massive energy potential, dwarfing that of equivalent fossil fuel resources.
However, renewable energy sources have distinct regional variabilities, and some are intermittent, such as solar. These natural aspects of renewable energy sources raise economic challenges related to their development and use. Research and development on renewable energy technologies have expanded vastly in the past few decades despite these difficulties and challenges. Signs of progress in renewable energy technology include:
1. Collection and conversion efficiency improvements
2. Lower maintenance costs
3. Increased reliability
4. A better understanding of the phenomena surrounding renewable energy systems
Renewable energy technologies become more important as environmental concerns increase. The uncertainty of the global economy also contributes to the significance of renewable energy. The low operating costs and financial attributes of renewable energy technologies are considerably different from those of traditional fossil-based technologies. Fossil fuel technologies are associated with large capital investments and operating cost uncertainties.
The market demand for renewable energy will grow as developing nations seek a better standard of living. The global use of renewable energy systems will undoubtedly reduce pollution levels. Advanced renewable energy technologies can provide an environmentally responsible alternative to conventional energy use.
A secure energy supply is a necessary requirement for development within society. Sustainable development demands that society be supplied with a sustainable supply of energy resources. We need this supply to be readily and sustainably available at reasonable costs in the long run. We should also be able to utilize the energy supply for all required tasks without it causing negative social and environmental impacts.
In addition to the common source of renewable energy such as wind, solar, hydro, and even waste and biomass fuels are sustainable forms of energy.
Environmental concerns form a vital factor in sustainable development. Activities that cause continuous degradation of the environment are not sustainable. Further, the degradation of the environment leads to various health, ecological and other problems.
Today, society’s most enormous environmental impact is associated with its use of energy resources. Ideally, a society striving to be sustainable uses only those energy resources that have zero environmental impact. However, we know that all renewable energy sources are not inherently clean. All energy resources lead to some environmental impact. But the shift to renewables provides society with a much cleaner energy system than depending on controlled sources of conventional energy. In the renewable energy industry, the time from the initial design of the energy system to its operation is short. This helps society in adapting in response to unpredictable changes and growth in energy demand.
There are three significant reasons why clean and renewable energy resources are crucial in paving the way for a sustainable future. They are:
1. They have a lesser environmental impact as compared to other sources of energy. There is no energy source with zero environmental impact. Therefore, renewable energy would be the obvious choice in moving towards a sustainable future.
2. Unlike fossil fuels, renewable energy sources will never get over. The Earth constantly replenishes them at a rate that far exceeds the rate at which we consume them. If we manage to use them wisely and efficiently, they can provide a reliable and sustainable energy supply. Contrastingly, fossil fuel stocks will end one day because the Earth cannot replenish them fast enough to meet our energy demands.
3. Renewable energy resources provide power systems independent of the national grid network. Thus, even small isolated settlements in different parts of the world can receive power supply.
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