The wave of a growing world population has brought adversity on energy. Its demand for energy is dire, most especially electricity. Electricity resources are vast but when the question of sustainability emerges, only four can step up. They all are renewable but a frail cloud hangs above them. It begs the question, is green energy sustainable?
What is Sustainable Energy?
The bill defining renewable energy lists solar, geothermal, wind, agricultural waste, biomass and nuclear sources as renewable energy. However what throws shade on the bill is the question of sustainability.
Instant but one-sided Karma rolls in the prerequisites of sustainable energy. You can consider energy as sustainable if it meets your demand today. Furthermore, it should not compromise your future demand.
Moreover, sustainable energy meets certain criteria. For an energy source to count as sustainable, you can look out for the following demands of energy:
- Technology should step up energy efficiency.Sustainable energy should keep up the pace with maturity of the technology. It has to be open to technological upgrades in order to counteract the modern devices you use which increase energy need.
- Long-term availability. In conjunction with the ever increasing energy need brought forth by your use of modern devices, energy companies have to be seen in their efforts to dispense energy.
When it comes to effort, energy companies have to ensure that you can access energy at all times.
- The energy source has to be replenished naturally.
Parameters for Sustainable Energy
There are three different parameters that determine sustainability:
- Environmental sustainability. As the name suggests, environmental sustainability means that no harm should come to the environment. For starters, you need a positive energy balance to roll with environmental sustainability.
This parameter rules out sustainable energy with basic critique. If the cost of producing a renewable energy device outmatches energy it will produce in its entire lifetime, then that energy source is not noteworthy.
Although this parameter is a clear cut of the net consumer of energy, it also has a material side to it. It places scrutiny upon mining of two energy resources which equally degrade the environment.
Mining neodymium for wind turbines and mining coal are both pollutants to the environment. The reason this parameter has a material side to it is to sound an alarm. All that is mined corrupts complete ecosystems. It is a clarion call for you to applaud less when hydropower dams are built because they submerge complete ecosystems.
- Economic sustainability.This parameter is the easiest you can measure, take for instance technology. It is considered sustainable because it can be sold without subsidies. This is very much, unlike fossil fuels.
Starting with your own country, fossil fuels are aligned to the most heavily subsidized products. If that does not suffice, take it from the World Energy Outlook by IEA. The outlook places worldwide fossil electricity at subsidies for over $100 billion.
This incapacitates the fight by renewable energy technologies. It cannot stand up to this levels if its own subsidies are one-sixth of the $100 billion. The big question is which of the two instances can be called economically sustainable? It ought to be the one that you can purchase cheapest.
- Social sustainability. This parameter is one that is not just complex but also diverse. Social sustainability entails healthy work conditions and reasonable wages for employees. Complexity rears its head in this with quagmire. It suggests that local welfare increase should count too because it stands to oppose the exploitation of local communities by multinationals.
This parameter has but one overarching aspect; if we use our planet efficiently and effectively, then we can provide enough food for everyone we have on our globe. Social sustainability is crucial for sustainable energy.
Green energy sustainability is complex and the aspects it implores are many. These three parameters are well suited to tone it down on an explainable scale. What makes green energy sustainable is far too diverse and if you take it upon yourself you will deal with the aspects squarely.
How Sustainable is Green Energy?
At the end of the day, you have to keep in mind that resources deplete. Fossil fuels have been with us for decades and both their aid and stay with us is unmatched. It’s a resource that is gradually depleting thanks to the environmental problems you spawn, the major ones being climatic change and global warming.
This impending danger has sparked the use of renewable energy. Different countries worldwide have invested in the production of green energy in order to reduce dependency on fossil fuels. The IEA World Energy Outlook applauded this but says it will take almost another decade before countries completely reduce their dependency to a considerable extent.
Most people, however, ignore the switch to green energy and its truth, fossil fuels cannot wholly sustain your need for energy. Whilst it’s a major salvage, fossil fuel will turn out a bad master if you continually depend on it.
Green energy projects require huge capital and have so far contributed to a small portion of the world’s energy consumption. It will take baby steps and almost another decade for renewable energy to abundantly manifest in the total energy output.
If you assess the probability of such a manifestation, it seems almost impossible. Moreover, the increasing cost of fossil fuels, increasing cost of raw materials and complex machinery makes vouching for green energy seem like chasing the wind. These aspects have slowed down the pace of which renewable projects were supposed to take off.
What takes renewable projects a step back is the components and raw materials it incorporates are manufactured in fossil-fuelled factories. Shocker, right? The shroud of irony spreads out to the finished products which are transported via road or rail to the power stations. The workforce here uses complex components such as generators, blades and power cables which you can see in a power station.
The point is even though renewable energy projects are against fossil fuels, they indirectly use incredible amounts of fossil fuels to keep the stations up and running. Green energy however out ways fossil fuels even though it needs the later to operate.
Green energy is on the horizon and IEA says it will take another decade before it bites a huge chunk of total energy output. While you wait for its full manifest, you can use the full matrix of renewable energy available in a sustainable way.