What are the Benefits of Renewable Energy to the Environment?
Five major sources of energy across the globe are- Natural Gas, Petroleum, Coal, Nuclear Energy and Renewable Energy. Yet we seldom hear about how beneficial renewable energy(like solar, wind, hydel, geothermal and biomass) is and how we should go green with all our choices to help protect the environment for the generations to come. Renewable sources of energy pack almost all the benefits we get from non-renewable sources and then some for the environment.
While sources like fossil fuels and natural gas increase the amount of carbon dioxide released in the environment (which increases greenhouse effect and global warming) governments and authorities are trying to convince people to opt for renewable sources of energy. Here are a few ways that renewable sources of energy can benefit us with.
Independence from Nonrenewable Energy –
There is a finite amount of coal, gas and oil in the depths of the earth. That is why all the fossil based forms of energy will one day cease to exist leaving us with a few options to fulfill our needs of power. Alternatives like wind, water and solar energy that is available for free in nature will never exhaust have become really popular options in the past couple decades.
There is no point in waiting for all the fossil fuel available on the Earth to deplete before we make a greener choice. If we start looking for eco friendly solutions to conventional, non renewable sources of energy now, we can mitigate the damage that will be done to the environment by the time we get to that point. This way we can reduce the global carbon emissions impact by using the same amount of fossil fuels over a longer period of time. The sooner we make this transition towards renewable energy the better it will be for mankind and the environment.
Less Pollution –
Pollution has become the bane of life on earth. The ill effects of pollution are quite noticeable not only on our health but on the health of the environment as well. All major industries rely on non renewable sources of energy. In generating power from non-renewable sources of energy harmful residue in the form of solid, liquid and gaseous pollutants causing land, air and water pollution is released. The surrounding ecosystems get affected by this causing indirect damages to the environment in the long run. Choosing renewable energy can help the environment heal itself. For example using rooftop solar panels does not cause any kind of air or water pollution. And when we have a source that provides us with enough energy in one second to satisfy the planet’s energy needs for an hour, why not make the best of it!
A comparative study done between renewable and non renewable energy shows that the amount of CO2 released for the production of 1 KWh of energy is drastically high for non renewable sources of energy as compared to its renewable competitor. Comparing coal that releases roughly 0.7 to 1.6 kg of CO2/KWh with solar power which emits 0.03 kg to 0.09 kg of CO2/KWh, we can get an idea of the damage being done to the environment right now. As it is with everything there are cons to solar energy too. The amount of carbon emitted in the process of making silicon used in the solar PV systems is not low. But even though these renewable sources of energy have existed forever we have only just begun to uncover the gifts
they can bring and in coming times we can expect even more efficient, robust and less carbon emitting versions of devices that help us harness energy from them. Besides, the pros clearly outweigh the cons.
Usage of Water –
While most non renewable sources of energy use water for cooling and cleaning purposes, some renewable sources like hydel power, geothermal and Biomass energy require water for the same too. But wind and solar energy do not require it. Using wind and solar energy we can even reduce the amount of water taken away from the local water bodies and get the same results without tipping the ecological balance of the region.
Combat Climate Change –
The defining issue of our times, climate change, is the average long term change in weather across the globe. It’s natural for weather to slowly and constantly change over a long period of time but with excess carbon emissions we have made that change quicker and more noticeable. This is again another problem that renewable energy can help slowdown. For instance driving an electric car won’t lower your carbon footprints by a lot if the vehicle is running on power supplied by a power plant running on fossil fuels. It’s a collective effort so the authorities and governments will have to take stringent measures to help curb the rapid climate change. Rising sea level, cold areas of the world getting warmer and warm regions getting colder, various forms of lives going extinct, all this will not end in favour of our species.