If you thought that governments’ new energy grants are going to solve all our energy woes think again.
One of the greatest problems with green energy like fossil energy is that it is controlled by the energy giants. The very term Carbon Footprint was introduced by BP.
If green energy had the ability to produce electricity and placing it in the hands of the people rather than those of oil, gas, coal, and utility companies, we would than see its benefits.
It could also lead to some fundamental changes in the way we consume energy.
Electricity access is essential to people’s lives but cost equals pollution.
We need to start shifting our use of energy to when it is there and available rather than shifting the energy production to match our use.
There is already solar technology that allows the establishment of Solar-powered mini-grids, and it is essentially mini-grids are independent, decentralized electricity networks that can function separately from a national grid.
They can generate electricity for local consumption.
When combined with efficient and environmentally sustainable battery storage, solar mini-grids present a compelling economic case.
By then with climate change, the demands for cooling will outstrip the demands for heating.
There can be no doubt that implementing a shift in where we get our energy from is one of the grand challenges facing our planet today.
In the two videos below, you will see growing evidence of the non-inclusion of social conscience in the name of renewable energy development, as well as severe environmental damage, with fossil, fuel investment unmasked, exposing the dark side of renewables.
The question is: Are we all been taken for suckers when we hear that renewable energy is clean, that electric cars will save the world by not contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
How to quantify the overall environmental impact of energy technologies has actually been a subject of the academic literature for some time.
Engineers use a process called life cycle assessment to count up all of the interactions between a complete energy system and the environment.
For example, life cycle assessments of electricity generation typically consider power plant raw materials extraction, plant construction, fuel extraction, fuel processing, fuel delivery, fuel combustion, electricity transmission, and other upstream and downstream processes in order to paint a complete picture of the energy and emissions required to produce and deliver a unit of electricity.
There is no argument that total GHG emissions from natural gas, oil, and coal electricity are far greater than those from any renewable energy technology.
Even if it takes more energy and emissions to build a solar farm than, say, a natural gas power plant, the fact that the solar farm produces zero emissions during operation causes it to be cleaner overall. The same holds for all other forms of renewable energy—and nuclear to.
The facts are out there and they clearly show natural gas, oil, and coal electricity emissions vastly exceed those from renewables and nuclear.
But the question remains.
Every day, our species chews its way through more than a million terajoules of energy.
Humanity’s hunger for energy will reach unprecedented levels.
It is estimated that since commercial oil drilling began in the 1850s, we have sucked up more than 135 billion tonnes of crude oil to drive our cars, fuel our power stations, and heat our homes.
So let’s look at six of the main contenders.
Biomass – Recently-living natural materials like wood waste, sawdust, and combustible agricultural wastes can be converted into energy with far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than petroleum-based fuel sources. That’s because these materials, known as biomass, contain stored energy from the sun.
Biofuels – Rather than burning biomass to produce energy, sometimes these renewable organic materials are transformed into fuel. Notable examples include ethanol and biodiesel. Biofuels provided 2.7 percent of the world’s fuels for road transport in 2010, and have the potential to meet more than 25 percent of world demand for transportation fuels by 2050.
Hydropower – Also called hydroelectric power, hydropower is generated by the Earth’s water cycle, including evaporation, rainfall, tides, and the force of water running through a dam. Hydropower depends on high precipitation levels to produce significant amounts of energy.
Geothermal energy – Just under the earth’s crust are massive amounts of thermal energy, which originates from both the original formation of the planet and the radioactive decay of minerals. Geothermal energy in the form of hot springs has been used by humans for millennia for bathing, and now it’s being used to generate electricity. In North America alone, there’s enough energy stored underground to produce 10 times as much electricity as coal currently does.
Solar power – The most prevalent type of renewable energy, solar power is typically produced using photovoltaic cells, which capture sunlight and turn it into electricity. Solar energy is also used to heat buildings and water, provide natural lighting, and cook food. Solar technologies have become inexpensive enough to power everything from small hand-held gadgets to entire neighborhoods.
Wind power – Air flow on the earth’s surface can be used to push turbines, with stronger winds producing more energy. High-altitude sites and areas just offshore tend to provide the best conditions for capturing the strongest winds. According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a network of land-based, 2.5-megawatt wind turbines in rural areas operating at just 20% of their rated capacity could supply 40 times the current worldwide consumption of energy.
Its problem is the radioactive waste and its disposal.
These energy resources are renewable, meaning they’re naturally replenished and they utilize energy sources that are readily available however I suppose that there remain three pertinent points when it comes to renewable green energy.
Availability – Cost – Sustainability.
‘How do I know if green electricity is really green?’
Leaving aside that some renewable energy technologies might produce more overall emissions than fossil fuels because they cost so much if you don’t have control over the type of energy, and its cost it’s equivalent to the pollution with all of us condemned to global warming.
Take Solar thermals for instance.
Really good but if it costs twice as much as burning coal the manufacturing cost was all dirty energy to produce clean energy…If you had a solar cell that took two Joules of dirty energy to make it and it only returned one Joule of clean energy in its life—it’s a loss…
Have environmental impacts, presenting social sustainability issues.
Wind and solar energy are highly dependent on the weather – and the time of day.
Fossil fuels have one major advantage over renewable energy sources – they are very easy to store and transport. Green energy requires the energy to be transmitting over long distances and currently, there is no easy way to store the electricity produced by wind or solar energy for appreciable periods of time.
Battery technology is not yet good enough to efficiently store large amounts of energy. This is an area that is really ripe for innovation and we are really only at the start of deploying and testing potential solutions.
The supply must match the demand.
So we have a quandary, do we continue to develop super grids like large-scale wind and solar power stations in the Mongolian Gobi desert or the Sahara, in the sea, or on land not suitable for agriculture or establish Solar-powered mini-grids with power-sharing deals.
Nearly a quarter of the natural gas consumed in the European Union comes from Russia far from green.
As new technology is developed it will shift the geopolitics of energy, It will change relationships between not just countries but cities, towns, villages, and apps.
A major energy transition is underway, creating opportunities while increasing uncertainty and developing the need to ensure sustainability, affordability, inclusiveness, and security.
By many measures, the world is still in the early stages of a deep and profound transformation in energy and industrial and agricultural processes. This transformation will not be easy, for mobilizing meaningful economic change is rarely a simple process that proceeds without opposition.
So where are we at the moment the vast majority of the country – nae, the world – is dependent on fossil fuels which are contributing to the destruction of the Earth’s atmosphere and ultimately our planet?
So throughout the course of our lifetimes, we can expect some big changes.
A large amount of responsibility falls to major energy suppliers who rely heavily on policy initiatives to drive deep decarbonization. Thinking more clearly about power and stimulating that broader narrative are the purposes of this post.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.