Sustainable Energy Platforms
Do you want to reduce your negative impact on the environment? Learn why you should use sustainable energy sources and what options are available.
Around the world, various sources of energy are used. Some, such as petroleum and coal are considered non-renewable. Non-renewable energy sources account for the majority of the energy used in the United States each year. However, they are not sustainable in the long run. Such fuel sources do not regenerate as quickly as they are used up. The residue some of them produce can also cause environmental hazards. That is why experts are constantly exploring new sources of renewable and sustainable energy.
Some sustainable energy sources have benefits for the public. For instance, experts are exploring the use of tidal energy as a power source in coastal areas. Other energy sources, while also perfect for powering public buildings, are popular in private homes as well. You may want to switch your home to use sustainable energy or simply learn more about the global benefits of sustainable energy sources. In either case, the information below can guide you.
What is Sustainable Energy?
Non-renewable, non-sustainable energy sources are considered as such for various reasons. The main reason is they are used up far faster than they regenerate. For example, petroleum takes millions of years to form. Yet, it is being rapidly used up. A secondary reason many energy sources are considered non-sustainable is they are harmful to the environment. Therefore, even if supplies are readily available, they are undesirable.
Energy sources that are sustainable provide much better solutions. Sustainable energy is similar to renewable energy. In fact, the two terms are often mistakenly used to mean the same thing, even by some experts. However, there are differences. Renewable energy sources come from natural processes that repeat in a semi-predictable way. Also, they replenish quickly, so there are always ready supplies. For example, wind frequently blows naturally. Sun also shines naturally on a regular basis. Therefore, they are sources of renewable energy.
Sustainable energy sources are energy sources that have safe long-term use potential. Such energy sources do not cause environmental damage or other known hazards. They are also considered inexhaustible. Therefore, they can sustain the planet indefinitely with no negative consequences.
Why Are Sustainable Energy Sources Important?
One of the top benefits of sustainable energy is better public health. Burning fossil fuels increases cancer risks. The pollutants released by non-renewable energy sources can also cause other harm to humans, such as increased heart attack and neurological risks. Similarly, those pollutants can have a negative impact on the health of plants and wildlife in the surrounding areas where they are used. Sustainable energy sources are much cleaner and safer. Other potential benefits of sustainable energy sources include:
Less Contribution to Global Warming
Reduced Carbon Footprint/Emissions
Reduced Long-Term Costs
Contribution to Global Energy-Efficient Movements
Another favorable side benefit of communities switching to sustainable energy sources is economic. Most sustainable energy sources require plants or construction and maintenance of some type. Therefore, local jobs are created when communities switch to using those types of energy. Community members who work on such projects can take pride in earning a living while also helping the planet and their fellow community members.
What Types of Sustainable Energy Sources Are Available?
Solar energy is one of the most popular types of sustainable energy. Many communities now have large photovoltaic panels. Those panels capture sunlight and change it into energy for use to power home appliances throughout their local areas. Some families also have small solar panels on their own properties. Often, the panels are affixed to roofs or attached to poles. In either case, they are positioned for maximum sun exposure throughout the day.
Another popular sustainable energy source is wind energy. Wind energy is collected using large turbines. It is then converted for use in homes and businesses. Often, “turbine farms” are created in areas where high winds are common, such as in coastal regions. That practice has caused some controversy due to the unsightly nature of large groups of turbines. However, the turbines are environmentally safe and highly efficient. Wind itself is also quite common. Those traits make wind power one of the most sustainable energy sources, and it is increasing in popularity. Here are some other less popular but equally viable sustainable energy sources:
Geothermal power involves the collection of steam released from within the Earth itself. Wells are drilled to release the steam. It is then converted to energy in a power plant.
Bioenergy is derived from various biological sources, such as wood and plant material. Some farm crops are grown specifically for conversion to fuel. In other cases, food waste is used to produce energy.
Hydropower is not as popular in some regions as solar and wind energy today. However, it is one of the sources of sustainable energy that was used earliest. It is also obtained in many versatile ways. It refers to the conversion of water movement to energy. Old-fashioned water wheels are examples of hydropower. Today, the construction of dams to harness hydropower is most common.
What is the Short-Term Future of Sustainable Energy?
The world continues to struggle, as climate change intensifies and global warming increases. However, inroads in the sustainable energy field are slowly helping communities, businesses, and global leaders make positive changes. As of 2021, leaders of 197 nations around the globe had signed the agreement to combat climate change introduced in Paris, France in 2015.
Recent advancements in technology have also served to increase use of sustainable energy sources. Previously, energy storage capacity was a major concern. Now, industry leaders are developing ways to store and distribute sustainable energy, regardless of weather conditions or seasonal changes. On-shore wind energy storage capacity is projected to increase by 57 percent between 2021 and 2024 due to such advancements.
What is the Long-Term Future of Sustainable Energy?
It is certain that the long-term future of sustainable energy is secure. There is no downside to using energy sources that are clean, inexpensive, and readily available. Predicting whether they will entirely replace use of fossil fuels is more difficult. Given current needs and trends, it seems likely use of sustainable energy sources will surpass use of non-renewable energy sources soon. Although total conversion to sustainable energy is a best-case scenario, there are still some logistics issues that require solving before that can happen. The total conversion also requires the rest of the world's leaders to join to meet that common goal.