Electric energy is associated with almost every type of industry. It allows for a constant growth, both economic and technological. It is also of an increasing importance in private households. Undoubtedly, there is a growing concern for the state of the natural environment, as it has become alarming in the recent years. The most popular fossil fuels such as hard and brown coal or crude oil are being replaced with other products.
Table of contents
- What are renewable energy sources?
- Why are people opposed to renewable energy resources?
- Which countries are leading in renewable energy?
- Renewable energy policies across the world
- Solar farm of roof solar panels?
- Top companies investing in green energy
Replacing conventional energy sources with renewable ones has been a subject of discussion for quite a long time now. Unconventional energy means using resources such as wind, sun and water (flowing and geothermal). Green energy is the future that is worth investing in. It means that an increasing number of people consider using so called clean energy, for instance to heat up their houses.
The society becomes more conscious about the fact that conventional resources are limited. From the perspective of 15 past years it is easy to notice that coal production has dropped significantly in many places in the world. At the same time, limiting the use of this particular resource means increasing the use of natural gas. If the gas extraction in a given country remains at the same level, it has to be imported to compensate the needs. Renewable energy is an excellent alternative.
The constant technological growth, industry development as well as residential sector generate an increasing electricity demand. The traditional resources caused many serious changes that also affected not only the environment, but also human health.
Air and soil pollution and climate change are the result of human expansion and exhausting certain resources.
Those are only some of the problems that the human population has to face. Noticing the problem was just a matter of time. Renewable energy resources are the answer to the growing concern about the natural environment and the future of the society.
Considering the global energy production, the most common renewable energy is hydropower. It accounts for over 18% of the total power generation and over 50% of the renewable energy production. The second most popular green energy source is wind power. Solar power takes third place.
Although water, wind and water are easily accessible (much easier than, for instance, coal or gas), using them in energy production has been quite expensive up until recently. Why? The answer lies in the fact that it requires investing in costly equipment and preparing a complicated installation.
Fortunately, everything goes in the right direction and renewable energy resources are increasingly popular and more easily accessible all over the world.
In many parts of the world, systems that use renewable resources are still a novelty. For this reason the skepticism towards them is quite common. The consciousness about the natural environment and ecology, however, is growing. This and the rising energy prices are the reason why an increasing number of people consider investing in renewable energy solutions such as photovoltaic systems.
Is it really as expensive as many people claim? Renewable energy resources specialists emphasize that while it is true that initially such investment is expensive, the costs of exploitation are basically none. An opposite situation occurs when one uses coal, which initially is fairly cheap. The constant need to buy the resource is, however, costly in the long run. The prices of coal rise every year and it’s a limited resource - some day it is going to disappear. From this point of view, investing in solar power is a good idea - especially when a country provides a grant to it.
Because of the global climate change crisis, many countries in the world have decided to invest in renewable energy sources. Some states, such as Iceland, Paraguay, Uruguay and Costa Rica have managed to run on nearly 100% renewable energy. Others, such as Brazil, Sweden or Denmark, are very close to achieve it. Obviously, some regions of the world have better environmental conditions that allow them to run on renewable resources.
Morocco, one of the leaders in green energy production, has the largest solar power plant in the world - the Noor complex. With its sunny climate and deserts, it’s only natural that Morocco invests in solar power.
Nevertheless, that doesn't mean that other countries cannot use renewable resources. If various methods are combined, it is possible for a country to produce mostly clean energy. Sweden is a good example of that - the country invests in wind, solar and hydro power, planning to reduce the use of fossil fuels to 0.
More than 65 countries in the world have official renewable energy policies and targets. The European Union obliged its members to increase the percentage of their green energy production. Each of the state is obliged to reach 20% of renewable energy production by 2020. Other countries in the world adopted similar, or even higher goals. In 2019, Latin American Energy organisation has set a goal for Latin America and Caribbean to reach 70% of renewable energy in electricity by 2030.
Is a solar farm a lucrative investment? It’s an issue that bothers many businesspeople and large proprietors, but also farmers and homeowners. New methods of using renewable energy for various purposes, for instance for building heating, are becoming popular.
Solar farms are recommended mainly for business entrepreneurs who have good primary capital or who can raise some funds, e.g. getting a credit. This type of investment repays after a couple of years. For this reason many consider it uneconomic.
For private investors, roof solar panels are definitely much better option. They convert solar energy into warmth, which can be used for water and building heating (buildings by the means of floor heating). It is a perfect solution for those who want to heat their house without spending too much money on bills.
Solar cells can lower the heating costs significantly. The method of construction and the number of installed solar panels are important factors that influence the efficiency of the system. Solar collectors are most commonly used for water heating, while solar panels convert energy from solar into electric.
Renewable energy does not mean only reducing costs but also taking care of the natural environment. Some of the biggest companies in the world set a good example. Amazon is one of them - several years ago the company has announced a goal to use renewable resources to power all its databases. Today Amazon is one of the leading solar power manufacturers in the USA. The company also invests in wind farms - the latest investment is the farm in Cork, Ireland. Currently, the company produces renewable energy at 66 locations.
Alternative energy is one of the fastest developing sectors in the world. It is a result of increasing the society’s consciousness about the need to protect the natural environment and the fact that non-renewable resources are limited. Technological development and creation of sustainable installations contributes greatly to the cause. It is estimated that in a couple of years solar panels and hydropower stations will be as popular as the conventional resources nowadays. Everything seems to be on the right track.
What are non renewable sources?
Non renewable resources are typically all kinds of fossil fuels: coal, petroleum oil and gas. They are going to run out someday, therefore the world has to invest in renewable energy.
Why don’t we use more renewable energy sources?
One of the reasons why renewable energy sources are not more common is the price of their installation. There are also geographical limitations, as solar or wind power cannot be efficiently harvested in some regions.