We are constantly being told about, how an impending global energy crisis can be averted, only if we turn towards renewable energy! As Lucy Powell , Member of Parliament – UK, says: “Fossil fuels, including oil, are running out and supplies are getting harder to find. If we do nothing, prices will continue to rise and our reliance on oil will come to an abrupt and tumultuous end, causing global economic and social turmoil.” With currently limited and depleting reserves of conventional energy sources – the future of renewable energy looks rather bright!
Difference between Renewable Energy and Conventional Energy
‘Renewable energy,’ is derived from renewable and naturally replenished sources, like-sunlight, water, wind, tides, rainfall, sea waves and geothermal heat. These are sustainable sources of energy and are expected to never run out. In contrast, ‘conventional energy sources’ like coal, petroleum, natural oil and electricity, are not renewable. They have already been heavily exploited for years now, and are limited in their discovery to specific geographical areas.
Conventional Energy Crisis Spells Out the Importance of Renewable Energy
Explaining the severity of the conventional energy crisis and the need to turn to renewable energy, Michael T. Klare, Professor – Peace and World Security Studies, Hampshire College, states: “These problems are multiplying on either side of energy’s key geological divide: below ground, once-abundant reserves of easy-to-get “conventional” oil, natural gas, and coal are drying up; above ground, human miscalculation and geopolitics are limiting the production and availability of specific energy supplies.
With troubles mounting in both arenas, our energy prospects are only growing dimmer.” In such a situation, “Increasing the supply of renewable energy would allow us to replace carbon-intensive energy sources and significantly reduce U.S. global warming emissions,” states the Union of Concerned Scientists
Renewable Energy Will Lead to Cleaner Environments and Better Health
David Suzuki, a Canadian academic and environmental activist, is optimistic that, renewable energy will provide high returns on investments on a global scale. He feels this will happen both environmentally and health wise. Speaking about renewable energy like- bio-energy, direct solar energy, geothermal energy, hydropower, ocean energy and wind energy, he states: “We are on the verge of a profound shift in the way we produce and use energy.
This shift will move the world away from the consumption of fossil fuels (such as oil, coal, and natural gas) that cause climate change toward cleaner, renewable forms of power.”
Adding to this argument, the Union of Concerned Scientists, observes, “… life-cycle global warming emissions associated with renewable energy—including manufacturing, installation, operation and maintenance, and dismantling and decommissioning—are minimal.” Moreover, “Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy has been found to reduce premature mortality and lost workdays, and it reduces overall healthcare costs,” they state.
Renewable Energy Pays Long term Financial Dividends
A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change observes that, renewable energy, can contribute positively towards social and economic development too. ‘Under favorable conditions, cost savings in comparison to non-Renewable Energy use exist, in particular in remote and in poor rural areas lacking centralized energy access.
Costs associated with energy imports can often be reduced through the deployment of domestic Renewable Energy technologies that are already competitive. Renewable Energy can have a positive impact on job creation although the studies available differ with respect to the magnitude of net employment,’ it declares. This finding is seconded by David Suzuki, who states: “Clean, sustainable energy does more than just reduce the risk of climate change. It brings jobs, investment income and a competitive edge.”
Other Benefits and Limitations of Renewable Energy
The potential ability of renewable energy, to reduce energy costs, stabilize energy prices and establish a more dependable energy system in the future, is being widely discussed today. However, ‘renewable energy is limited in the quantity of electricity it can generate, due to the limited number of facilities that manufacture it currently.
It is also a more costly energy source in the short run, being a relatively new technology; and, may also be unpredictable in its supply, given its dependence on the weather,’ opines solarschools.net Therefore, while the future of our world is definitely dependent on further generation of renewable energy; till such time that, we have build more renewable energy facilities and made renewable energy more affordable – “the best solution to our energy problems may be to have a balance of many different power sources,” solarschools.net concludes.
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: This article was written by Rose Murray, a reporter on environment and science,who is currently researching the subject of renewable energy.