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The earth is heating at red alert, and only the net-zero emissions option can save us from further damage. In this context, Renewable energy is a necessity in today’s world. This article discusses the problems with traditional methods of energy production and why renewable energy can be a game changer for most of the planet’s problems. To understand why renewable energy is necessary, we must first grasp why energy is vital and the problem with traditional energy production.
Energy is at the center of climate change and the key to resolving the issue. We shall run out of methods to power our globe if we don’t find any alternatives. Most greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change are caused by energy production.
Traditional energy is generated by the combustion of fossil fuels, which produce electricity and heat. Coal, oil, and gas are examples of fossil fuels, and they are by far the most significant contributors to global climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions account for over 75% of overall output and almost 90% of total carbon dioxide emissions. The science of climate change is simple. To reverse the worst effects of climate change, we need to cut emissions by nearly 50 percent up to 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050. We shall run out of power supplies if we do not begin to replace unsustainable methods of generating power with more sustainable ones. Many scientists believe that we will run out of fossil fuels within the next 100 years and that burning alternative energy sources, such as our own waste and forests, can only get us so far.
Green energy, from solar & wind, is the world’s fastest-growing energy source. Renewable energy benefits the climate, ecology, economy, and social cohesion. Renewable energy is the method that will take us to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Renewable energy is suitable for both the environment and humans, but what precisely is it?
The energy derived from sources that can be renewed again and again naturally on the human timeline is called renewable sources of energy. Sunlight, wind, water movement, and geothermal heat are all examples of renewable resources. The majority of renewable energy sources are long-term.
Clean energy growth is inevitable, as evidenced by the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) yearly figures. As per the IEA projections, renewables will raise their share of global power production from 28.7% in 2021 to 43% in 2030, accounting for two-thirds of the growth in electricity demand over that period. This rise will mainly be driven by wind and solar technologies.
As per the International Energy Agency (IEA), global electricity consumption will have climbed by 70% by 2040, with its percentage of total energy usage increasing from 18 to 24% during the same period. The growing economies of India, China, Africa, the Middle East, and South-East Asia will fuel this demand.
In 2023 solar energy will account for 54% of the new US power generation capacity. Source: EIA
There are various types of renewable energies, such as :
To see why renewable energy is crucial, let’s look at some of its advantages.
Fossil fuels produce a sizable quantity of harmful greenhouse gases, contributing to global warming, and are responsible for climate change. In contrast, renewable energy produces almost no greenhouses in its life cycle. Therefore, renewable energy does not contribute to global warming.
When considering the entire life cycle, renewable energy is now the least expensive power source in most of the globe. The cost of renewable energy technology is quickly falling due to the growth in demand. Between 2010 and 2020, solar energy’s cost of electricity decreased by 85%. Likewise, onshore and offshore wind energy prices decreased by 56% and 48%, respectively. Renewable energy is more appealing and is being used more frequently due to lower costs. Renewable energy is now more affordable in low- and middle-income nations. In the upcoming years, there will be a significant potential due to the decline of prices for a large portion of the new power supply from low-carbon sources.
Investments in renewable energy are often made in the nation that produces them, which benefits the nation’s population and economy. For instance, in the United States, most investments in renewable energy are often made domestically, generally in the same state and town, meaning that instead of flowing abroad, the energy funds are used to support local economies and generate employment at home. The United States economy is boosted by the export of the renewable energy technology created and constructed here, which is happening concurrently. Despite several crises, a report claims there are 12.7 million employees in the renewable energy sector worldwide.
Coal and natural gas power plants’ contamination of the air and water has been connected to various significant issues, including breathing difficulties, neurological impairment, heart attacks, cancer, and early mortality. According to Harvard University research, pollution is predicted to cost $74.6 billion per year in life cycle costs and public health problems due to coal. This is around one-third of the median power rate for a US home, or 4.36 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy produced.
Renewable energies like solar and wind are less prone to large-scale failure since they are scattered and modular. Because distributed systems are spread across a vast geographical area, severe weather in one site will not knock out electricity to a whole region. Modular systems are made up of a number of independent wind turbines or solar panels. Even if a portion of the system’s equipment is broken, most of it can usually continue to function.
There is no denying that green energy is vital due to its almost infinite availability in nature. Solar energy, for example, is one of the world’s most important renewable energy resources, with varying degrees and intensities accessible everywhere. Wind energy and biofuels are other widely available energy alternatives in all countries.
Before we proceed, it is critical to understand what Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is and what all the commotion is about.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the most common greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide is a chemical substance composed of molecules covalently linked to two oxygen atoms. CO2 exists as a gas at room temperature and is the source of accessible carbon in the carbon cycle. Atmospheric CO2 is the principal carbon source for life on Earth. The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere heats the earth, resulting in climate change. In fewer than 200 years, carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has increased by 50% because of anthropogenic activities.
The fourth and most prevalent component of dry air is carbon dioxide. CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere exceed 410 ppm (parts per million). Previously, there were around 270 PPm in the atmosphere because of industrial activities. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by approximately 40%, which is to blame for rising temperatures.
Increase in the CO2 from 1960 to 2020: Source: NOAA
All energy sources have more or less an influence on our environment. Every energy source has some limitations, and renewable energy is no different. Nevertheless, adopting energy sources that can be renewed is urgent, as the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
Also Read: How Is Nuclear Energy Renewable?