Climate change is a global concern and several countries are taking serious measures to mitigate its effects. One possible solution to slow down this phenomenon is to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere, which occur when burning fossil fuels like coal, gas, and oil. To replace these sources, there is a growing push for industrial, commercial, and residential properties to switch to renewable energy sources.
Renewable energy refers to energy sources that can be replenished naturally. These include solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass, and biofuels. In 2015, renewable energy sources only contributed to 12.5% of the world’s energy consumption, while almost 80% of energy was derived from fossil fuels. This article will explore the advantages of switching to renewable energy.
Why Renewable Energy?
The use of energy in buildings is increasing worldwide, with buildings in the UK alone responsible for over 40% of energy consumption, see business electricity comparison. To address this, the government has implemented regulations to reduce energy use and CO2 emissions.
Starting in April 2018, non-domestic buildings in England and Wales must comply with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, requiring an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least E, with A being the highest and G being the lowest. As a result, many property owners are considering renewable energy options to improve their building’s energy efficiency. While renewable energy is a promising approach to sustainability, it also has its advantages and disadvantages.
Renewable energy sources still have immense potential, as they only contribute a small portion of global energy consumption. To maximize the economic, social, and environmental benefits, property owners can opt for sustainable building services that provide recommendations on the best renewable energy solutions for their construction projects.
Types of Renewable Energy
There are various types of renewable energy sources available depending on the location and season. It is important to have a distributed network of different energy sources to ensure sustainable and clean energy. Here are seven different types of alternative energy sources:
· Solar Energy: The easiest type of renewable energy to harness at home is solar energy. By using solar panels or solar water heaters, individuals can reduce their energy bills. There are different types of photovoltaic (PV) panels available, and individuals can choose the best one based on price, efficiency, and other criteria.
· Wind Energy: Large turbines can be built in windy areas to utilize gale-force winds. Wind farms can provide green electricity to rural and remote areas. In the UK, offshore and onshore wind energy is generating around 24.2% of the country’s electricity.
· Hydroelectric: Similar to wind energy, hydroelectric power uses turbines to generate electricity, but with water as the working liquid. Building large dams can be expensive, but it can produce a significant amount of electricity.
· Geothermal Energy: Heat from within the earth’s core can be harnessed in certain areas to produce geothermal energy. This is a clean and renewable energy source that can provide sustainable power.
· Biomass: Organic waste can be burned to derive heat, which is considered a renewable energy source since plants and other organic materials continually regenerate.
· Tidal Energy: Tidal energy, also known as ocean energy, is a type of hydropower that utilizes energy from tides. This energy is often categorized under hydropower.
· Hydrogen: Hydrogen is the most abundant element on earth, and it can be separated from water and used as a zero-carbon fuel
Advantages of Renewable Energy
Renewable energy sources offer a multitude of benefits that make them a superior alternative to burning fossil fuels. One of the most significant advantages of renewable energy is that it is sustainable and will not run out anytime soon. This is because renewable energy is derived from natural sources that are constantly replenished in the environment, such as the sun, wind, and water.
In addition to being sustainable, renewable energy is also reliable. Unlike fossil fuels, which are often subject to political disputes and territorial claims, renewable energy sources are not affected by trade laws or geopolitical tensions. With a well-developed energy network, renewable energy sources can be used as a reliable means of supplying energy.
Renewable energy is also environmentally friendly. Renewable energy technologies emit far less carbon and other greenhouse gases than fossil fuels. This means that renewable energy can help reduce the devastating effects of global warming, climate change, and poor air quality that result from burning fossil fuels.
Renewable energy improves public health. By reducing greenhouse emissions and other pollutants, renewable energy sources can help create healthier air and soil. This will lead to happier lives and significant reductions in health budgets for both individuals and governments.
Moreover, renewable energy technologies have created numerous job opportunities, particularly in underprivileged regions. This new and stable job market can help reduce poverty worldwide and prevent people from migrating to urban areas. Renewable energy can also require less maintenance than traditional power stations, leading to lower operational costs.
Renewable energy can assist in reducing turmoil in energy prices. Unlike traditional energy technologies that are subject to fluctuations in fossil fuel prices, renewable energy sources only require an initial investment and do not rely on costly fuels. This can lead to a more stable global energy market.
By utilizing a distributed network of renewable energy technologies, countries without fossil fuel resources can increase their economic independence by reducing their dependence on oil imports. With the ability of local communities to generate their own electricity through renewable technologies, the risk of energy crises can be reduced and contribute positively to sustainable development.
In addition to this, renewable energy technologies can also be used to tackle another global crisis – landfills. Biomass energy, specifically biomass boilers, has the potential to consume organic waste as fuel, reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. This provides a two-fold benefit of reducing landfill sizes and generating energy without relying on costly fossil fuels.
In conclusion, switching to renewable energy has numerous advantages that make it a promising solution for reducing carbon emissions, improving energy efficiency, and mitigating the effects of climate change. Renewable energy sources are sustainable, reliable, and environmentally friendly, and can improve public health. They can also create new job opportunities, reduce energy prices, increase economic independence, and tackle waste management issues. With the development of a distributed network of renewable energy technologies, countries can work towards a sustainable and resilient energy future.