Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat.
In international public opinion surveys there is strong support for promoting renewable sources such as solar power and wind power. At the national level, at least 30 nations around the world already have renewable energy contributing more than 20 percent of energy supply. National renewable energy markets are projected to continue to grow strongly in the coming decade and beyond. Some places and at least two countries, Iceland and Norway generate all their electricity using renewable energy already, and many other countries have the set a goal to reach 100% renewable energy in the future. For example, in Denmark the government decided to switch the total energy supply (electricity, mobility and heating/cooling) to 100% renewable energy by 2050.
Rapid deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency is resulting in significant energy security, climate change mitigation, and economic benefits.
THE BENEFITS OF RENEWALABLE ENERGY
- Less Global Warming
Human activity is overloading our atmosphere with carbon dioxide and other global warming emissions. These gases act like a blanket, trapping heat. The result is a web of significant and harmful impacts, from stronger, more frequent storms, to drought, sea level rise, and extinction. Increasing the supply of renewable energy would allow us to replace carbon-intensive energy sources and significantly reduce global warming emissions.
- Improved Public Health
The air and water pollution emitted by coal and natural gas plants is linked with breathing problems, neurological damage, heart attacks, cancer, premature death, and a host of other serious problems. Most of these negative health impacts come from air and water pollution that clean energy technologies simply don’t produce. Wind, solar, and hydroelectric systems generate electricity with no associated air pollution emissions. Geothermal and biomass systems emit some air pollutants, though total air emissions are generally much lower than those of coal- and natural gas-fired power plants. In addition, wind and solar energy require essentially no water to operate and thus do not pollute water resources or strain supplies by competing with agriculture, drinking water, or other important water needs. In contrast, fossil fuels can have a significant impact on water resources: both coal mining and natural gas drilling can pollute sources of drinking water, and all thermal power plants, including those powered by coal, gas, and oil, withdraw and consume water for cooling. Strong winds, sunny skies, abundant plant matter, heat from the earth, and fast-moving water can each provide a vast and constantly replenished supply of energy.
- The Economical Benefit
Compared with fossil fuel technologies, which are typically mechanized and capital intensive, the renewable energy industry is more labour intensive. Solar panels need humans to install them, wind farms need technicians for maintenance. This means that, on average, more jobs are created for each unit of electricity generated from renewable sources than from fossil fuels. In 2016, the solar industry employed more than 260,000 people, including jobs in solar installation, manufacturing, and sales, a 25% increase over 201
- Stable Energy Prices
Although renewable facilities require upfront investments to build, they can then operate at very low cost (for most clean energy technologies, the “fuel” is free). As a result, renewable energy prices can be very stable over time. The average price to install solar dropped more than 70 percent between 2010 and 2017. Costs will likely decline even further as markets mature and companies increasingly take advantage of economies of scale. In contrast, fossil fuel prices can vary dramatically and are prone to substantial price swings.
- Reliability and Resilience
Wind and solar are less prone to large-scale failure because they are distributed and modular. Distributed systems are spread out over a large geographical area, so a severe weather event in one location will not cut off power to an entire region. Water scarcity is another risk for non-renewable power plants. Coal, nuclear, and many natural gas plants depend on having sufficient water for cooling, which means that severe droughts and heat waves can put electricity generation at risk.On the current trajectory, the risk of disruptive events will increase in the future as droughts, heat waves, more intense storms, and increasingly severe wildfires become more frequent due to global warming—increasing the need for resilient, clean technologies.Will you be part of the revolution?
In today’s competitive environment, optimization, efficiencies and cost reduction are the key fundamentals to successful operations.
An energy audit is a survey and analysis of energy flows, process or systems with the aim to reduce or conserve the amount of energy input into the system without negatively affecting the output. In commercial and industrial real estate, an energy audit is the first step in identifying opportunities to reduce energy expense and carbon footprint.
Every day the sun provides the earth with more than ten thousand times the energy required by the earth’s population, at no cost. It makes no sense, environmentally or financially, not to maximize it: we know it’s clean, and in South Africa solar electricity has become cheaper than local grid power in many cases.