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Renewable Energy

Every work that is done requires some amount of energy which can be present in many forms. This means that energy can be of multiple types, but broadly these types are categorized under the following two categories:

  1. Renewable Energy
  2. Non-renewable energy

All types or forms of energy fall under either one of these two categories based on their nature and availability of resources. Renewable energy sources are referred to as those forms or types of energy that are available for unlimited time, whereas non-renewable sources of energy are those energy sources that are available in a limited quantity and will end after the complete consumption of a given quantity. Based on these energy sources, the energy generated from them is classified under one of the above two categories. Renewable energy types have multiple advantages over non-renewable energy sources, but they also have disadvantages. This article discusses renewable energy, common renewable energy types, and their advantages. This article also talks about the importance & future of renewable energy types and how it impacts the earth & its surrounding environment.

Introduction to Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy

The form of energy is generated from renewable energy sources (Energy sources that are available with unlimited supply or naturally replenished on a human timescale). This means that the supply of renewable energy sources is virtually unlimited for mankind. The term renewable itself refers to an object or source that can be renewed and used again & again. Renewable energy includes many types of energies which can replace non-renewable energy sources in the future. The most common renewable energy sources are geothermal heat, waves, tides, rain, wind, and sunlight. The popularity of these renewable energy sources is increasing in today's time as they have the potential to replace fossil fuels (the most common non-renewable energy source). In contrast to fossil fuels or any other non-renewable energy source, renewable energy sources have the property of naturally replenishing, whereas fossil fuels will end completely in the next 30-40 years. Not all, but most renewable energy sources are considered sustainable sources. Sustainable renewable energy sources are those renewable energy sources that can maintain a proper cycle of supply and consumption. Some renewable energy sources, such as biomass, is not considered sustainable energy source as per their current exploitation rate. But if the exploitation rate of biomass decreases in the future, it will also become a sustainable renewable energy source.

Since fossil fuels are going to end in the next 30-40 years, the world needs alternative energy sources to meet its energy requirements. This has increased the popularity of renewable energy sources in the past few decades. Over the past few decades, the use of renewable energy types has increased to meet the world's increased energy requirement. Renewable energy contributes to almost every sector, but the following four types are the most important sectors where the use of this energy type has increased:

  1. Electricity generation
  2. Water & Air cooling/heating
  3. Rural energy services
  4. Transportation

In today's time, about 20% of the world's energy requirements are fulfilled with renewable energy sources, and the rest is fulfilled mostly by fossil fuels. This use percentage has increased from 5% to 20% in the past two decades only. If looked at this way, it can be concluded that a huge jump is seen in the use of renewable energy sources. However, renewable energy sources are still contributing only 1/5th of the total energy requirement of the world. This comes as a setback for renewable energy sources as they have the potential to replace the use of non-renewable energy sources completely. But many factors have to be considered and addressed before becoming completely dependent on renewable energy sources to fulfill complete energy requirements.

In electricity generation, 30% of total electricity is generated with the help of renewable energy sources, and it has been predicted that this percentage contribution will double in upcoming years. From the total 20% of renewable energy sources, 8% is contributed from the traditional biomass, but this percentage is declining because of the increasing use of other renewable energy sources. Geothermal heat is the most popular and in use renewable energy source today, with the contribution of more than 4% in total 20%. The most common use of geothermal heating is in the water heating process, and it also contributes 6% (out of a total 30% from renewable energy sources) in electricity generation.

Importance of Renewable Energy

As already discussed, the importance, as well as popularity of renewable energy sources, is increasing in today's time. Renewable sources hold much importance in today's time not only because they are renewable and available for unlimited time but because of many other factors too. These factors are as important as the unlimited availability of renewable energy sources. Some of these factors are millions of jobs associated with renewable energy sources, the environmental impact of renewable energy sources, and many others. These factors hold equal importance in everyone's life, including all living beings. Following is a detailed explanation of these factors that are associated with the increasing importance of renewable energy sources:

(i) Millions of Jobs associated with renewable energy sources:

Millions of jobs are directly or indirectly associated with renewable energy sources in the country. The increasing use of renewable energy increases the demand for renewable energy sources and power generation techniques. This increasing demand also creates many job opportunities in the market with the setup of new power plants and the increasing supply from the industries that create machines for renewable energy generation. More than 10 million jobs are directly associated alone with the renewable energy generation-linked industries. This has developed the interest of more and more people in the renewable energy sector because it directly benefits them by providing better job opportunities. Apart from this directly linked jobs with the renewable energy sources, there are also many indirect jobs such as Teachers & lecturers of renewable energy engineering courses, etc.

Many countries are completely dependent upon renewable energy sources for electricity generation, and job opportunities from the renewable energy sector in these sectors are very lucrative and attractive. With the increasing demand for renewable energy sources, one can find a stable and growing career in this sector. Since renewable energy is still a new term for many people, competition is very less in this sector, increasing the chance of one getting a job in the renewable energy sector. Therefore, the jobs associated with the renewable energy sector are one major factor for increasing the popularity of renewable energy among common people.

(ii) Impact on Climate Change:

Renewable energy production possess less threat to the environment than non-renewable energy. Renewable energy sources produce very little or no pollution, whereas non-renewable energy sources generate a high number of pollutants. Electricity generated from renewable energy sources produces 90 to 99% less Greenhouse gases than electricity generated from non-renewable energy sources. Many renewable energy sources produce zero pollutants while electricity is generated from them. Shifting the focus from fossil fuels and other non-renewable sources towards renewable energy sources for the generation of power and electricity for various purposes helps the world to fight against climate change. Today climate change is the most debated topic globally, which is emerging as a threat for all living beings. Many natural tragedies are occurring rapidly because of climate change only. Non-renewable energy sources accelerate mass extinction with their huge impacts on climate change and the environment.

Therefore, the need to use non-renewable energy sources for power and electricity generation is emerging as the strongest need of the world in today's time. The use of renewable energy sources will not only slow down climate change but will also help in the recovery of the environment. Renewable energy sources release less or no pollution during the power generation process, giving the environment time to heal itself. These positive impacts of renewable energy sources increase popularity and increase the common interest of people in these sources.

(iii) Impact on health of all living beings:

As already discussed, renewable energy sources release very less or zero pollutants that are harmful to the health of all living beings. In contrast, fossil fuels & other non-renewable energy sources produce many harmful pollutants. When these pollutants are directly exhaled or consumed by any living being, it can make them sick or severely ill. In many cases, death is also caused by these harmful pollutants released from non-renewable energy sources. These pollutants also get mixed with the water, air, or soil and affect the health of all living beings when they come in contact with these pollutants. Therefore, renewable energy sources are safe for all living beings and protect their health in many ways. Renewable energy sources and power generated using these sources is very clean power, and one can use & produce them without worrying about their health. This positive impact also increases people's confidence towards renewable energy sources and makes them their first choice for power & electricity generation.

(iv) Impact on Economy:

Renewable energy sources, directly and indirectly, affect a country's economy in many ways. By providing job opportunities in the market, renewable energy sources & power generation from these sources contribute to a country's economy. Consumption of power and electricity generated using renewable energy sources boosts the country's economy. A recent survey conducted by economic experts states that an increase in the consumption of renewable energy by 1% increases the country's economic growth by 0.22% approximately. The plans of the country associated with the renewable energy sources or power generation received greater investments compared to non-renewable energy sources & power generation plans. These positive impacts of renewable energy sources on a country's economy not only increase their demand among common people but also increase their popularity among the Federal Government of the country.

These are major positive impacts of the renewable energy sources among various services and sectors in a country or the world. Other than their everlasting nature, these factors associated with the renewable energy sources are the major reasons for their increasing popularity and demand in the market.

Advantages of the Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is becoming so popular only because it has so many advantages in multiple sectors that can benefit all living beings. The advantages of renewable energy are much more than those of non-renewable energy sources. The future looks bright with the increasing use of renewable energy, and embracing it will benefit mankind. The list of benefits of using renewable energy is very long, and therefore the detailed explanation of every advantage is not possible. But some advantages of renewable energy, such as everlasting nature, very less or no emission of greenhouse gases, and many others, are very common and self-explanatory. Following is the list of major advantages or benefits of using renewable energy sources:

1) Everlasting Fuel supply:

Renewable energy sources are called renewable energy sources only because of their everlasting nature, and that's why it can be said that these sources are fuel supply that never runs out.

2) No Greenhouse Gases:

Renewable energy sources are environment-friendly, and no kind of greenhouse gases are released during power & electricity generation using most of these sources.

3) No harmful pollutants:

Unlike the burning of fossil fuels, no harmful pollutants or chemicals are released with the use of renewable energy sources, which makes these sources safe to use.

4) Zero Carbon emissions:

Renewable energy sources are widely famous for their zero-carbon emission property, which means that no harmful carbon compounds are released when power and electricity are generated using these sources.

5) Boost the economy:

Renewable energy sources attract higher investments from all over the world, which boosts the country's economy. These sources are also helpful in building people's confidence in renewable energy, which makes them purchase more machinery like solar panels, etc.

6) Provide more job opportunities:

Renewable energy sources provide multiple job opportunities in the market, and millions of jobs are currently associated with power & electricity generation using renewable energy sources. Apart from these directly linked jobs, many jobs are indirectly linked with renewable energy & renewable energy sources.

7) Impact on health:

As renewable energy sources and power & electricity generation using these energy sources do not release any harmful elements, pollutants, or chemicals, and this makes renewable energy much safer for the health of all living beings.

8) Helps in Tackling Pollution problem:

Renewable energy sources release almost zero pollutants when energy & power is generated using these sources, which helps the world fight against climate change and increasing pollution. The use of renewable energy is a good strategy or option for tackling the increasing pollution problem.

9) Environment Impacts:

Renewable energy sources are considered as the good friends of the environment and nature's sources because these sources do not possess any kind of serious threats to the environment.

These are some major benefits or advantages of using renewable energy sources over non-renewable energy sources. There are many other advantages of renewable energy which are not described above that make renewable energy more beneficial for the world.

Disadvantages of Renewable Energy

Despite the numerous advantages of renewable energy, the use of renewable energy sources for the production of power & electricity is still limited. It can be said that the use of renewable energy sources is increasing in the total energy requirement of the world, but still, the number is very low compared to the potential these sources have. The major reason behind this fact is the limiting factors or disadvantages associated with renewable energy sources. Most of these disadvantages will be solved with improved technologies or higher investments, but some need serious attention to use renewable energy sources on a higher scale. Following are the major disadvantages or limiting factors that are associated with renewable energy sources:

1) Higher power & electricity generation cost:

The use of renewable energy sources for electricity & power generation requires a high cost compared to electricity & power generated using fossil fuels. One major reason behind this is the low production & demand for machinery that are used for electricity from renewable energy sources. Therefore, higher investments are required for producing power & electricity from renewable energy sources.

2) Challenges & problems associated with Storing Produced energy

3) Unreliable energy & electricity production from the renewable energy sources

4) Impact of the power & electricity generation machinery on the environment

With the improvements in technologies and increasing demands of renewable energy in markets, all these disadvantages can be solved in the future. Once these limiting factors of the renewable energy sources as mentioned above are solved, the future of renewable energy will become brighter, which will benefit the whole world.

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