In our time, renewable energy sources, which are also called “green” energy, are becoming increasingly important. Recently, this area of energy has become especially relevant because the world is irrevocably changing. The ecological crisis is becoming not a horror story from science fiction writers’ novels but a new reality. Climate change is a significant threat to the nature of the Earth, the animals inhabiting it, and the chronic life of people.
To a large extent, these global changes are due to the number of emissions of combustion products of fossil fuels into the atmosphere that have increased many times over the past 100 years. Consequently, one of the essential tasks of humanity for the coming decades is to reduce the consumption of these types of raw materials.
And here, renewable energy sources can become an alternative. These are the sources that, in our understanding, are inexhaustible. These include the sun, wind, and water (except for large hydroelectric power plants).
Renewable energy source
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The use of renewable energy sources provides several undeniable advantages. In addition to the chance to preserve biodiversity on the planet and ensure the existence of our species in the long term, there are benefits that we can experience right now:
- Creation of new jobs in enterprises;
- Reducing air pollution at the local level;
- Reducing water consumption;
- Positive impact on the economy of individual countries (since the technologies for generating energy in such ways are mostly built on the exploitation of exclusively local resources, this will help keep it resilient during external shocks related to electrical security).
According to the UN, the transition to “green” energy is the easiest way to increase the availability of electricity for several states. Also, some of these technologies have an evident modular character. For example, photovoltaics (a method of generating electricity using solar panels) and ground-based wind energy. And this allows us to assert that now in the power industry, part of the influence on its power supply will pass into the hands of individuals and communities. This could help create a more balanced energy system in the future.
Is it not that simple?
While renewable energy has a significant long-term advantage, there are substantial barriers to implementation. These factors hinder the transition to “green” energy:
- Economy of capitalism;
- Low public awareness of green technologies;
- Difficulties in financing green energy;
- Insufficient control and regulation of the sphere;
- Low motivation for reducing ecosystem pollution (lack of incentives).
What is changing?
However, we see that in recent years the situation has begun to change gradually. According to the UN, since 2011, more than 50% of all generating capacities put into operation are “green” energy technologies. At the moment, more than 160 countries have plans, one way or another, related to the process of renewable energy sources, and this is even though in 2005 there were only 43 such states.
The economic component remains a crucial point in the transition to new energy sources. Unfortunately, this issue is not a priority in many countries and often remains out of focus. As a result, attempts to introduce environmental technologies are broken by mistakes: misunderstanding of the cost structure or using outdated data.
Question about money?
At present, generating electricity from the sun and wind is still more expensive than the usual fuel burning. However, the exception is land-based wind power in tidal zones. But do not forget that the methods of obtaining energy using solar panels and wind farms are still minimally common. Over time, they will increasingly affect the energy balance, as their use will be cheaper and cheaper.
Since 2010, the cost of energy production from advanced green technologies, namely biomass energy, geothermal sources, and water, has become more stable. But with some financial possibilities, these methods have such a high potential that they could significantly help generate relatively cheap electricity from various sources. If considering the launch and maintenance of equipment, we compare the cost of renewable energy with traditional animation. It turns out that every year “green” energy is becoming more profitable and will soon compete on a par with fossil fuels without financial support from outside.
What happened next?
And yet, today, the central questions in the transition to “clean” energy are how to make it cheaper to operate and what can prevent this goal from being achieved. Available data indicate that renewable energy sources cannot compete on general terms, as they have certain specifics in this regard. The cost of installing such technologies varies worldwide, even in regions of the same country. Awareness of the importance of using green energy on a global scale will help reduce the difference in its costs in the markets and lead to several improvements in the economic and social spheres.
Now many have heard about “green” energy, and a significant number of states understand the importance of changing the current energy situation in favor of renewable energy sources. That is why the critical task for moving to the next stage is to increase its competitiveness in terms of economic costs. It can be assumed that for several developing countries, “green” energy will be especially beneficial, as it will help to satisfy domestic electricity demand and attract investment from large multinational companies. For example, countries such as India, the United Arab Emirates, Chile, and others can open up significant potential in renewable energy sources.
However, despite the progress shown in recent years in environmental care, it is clear that the pace of change is too slow for our planet. And this, in turn, points to the need for consistent and persistent efforts to improve energy efficiency and switch to renewable energy sources.