Sustainable Energy with definition, sources and advantages
The word “Sustainable” is very common in our day to day lives. Thus each of us would have come across the term Sustainable energy at least once. In this article we are discussing what sustainable energy is, its definition, its advantages or benefits and also the sources of sustainable energy or types of sustainable energy.
The terms Sustainable energy and renewable energy are being used for one another but are they the same? This topic shall be dealt with separately in another article but we shall give an answer that they are not the same but connected to each other.
What is sustainable energy and its definition
According to the United Nations Brundtland Commission, sustainable energy is the energy that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. This definition implies that these energies are inexhaustible and can be used by anyone without any limit. Sustainable energy is said to be clean energy and thus never poses any kind of threat to nature or the environment.
Sustainable energy are those energies that can be used and available in abundance without the fear of it getting depleted over time. The main examples of sustainable energy are solar energy, wing energy, hydropower energy etc. These never get depleted nor exhausted on using them by the present generation. All sustainable energies are renewable energy but all renewable energies do not seem to be sustainable.
These kinds of energies exist forever as the sunlight, rain and wind are considered to be existing forever. Sustainable energy is the best energy for homes and offices. Even though the initial installation demands a lump sum money, it is in profit in the long run which shall be reflected in the electricity bills and other power taxes.
Sources or types of sustainable energy
From the olden days, people were depending on biomass fuels such as wood, timber and other bio wastes for energy. The burning of these have played a serious role in increasing the pollution to a great extent. As the days passed away and there was a development in technology, people started depending on fossil fuels on its discovery.
Fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil were used extensively by all over the World as it was easily available. This use led to the exploitation of these and the wide use led to pollution, emission of greenhouse gasses and thereby leading to global warming and also the threat of its extinction. These all compelled everyone to find clean energy and an energy that is replenishable. This led to the rise of sustainable energy and the effects on the environment are very much advantageous. Let us see what are the types or sources of sustainable energy:
- Solar energy
The best form of sustainable energy is solar energy. It gives us not only light but also heat. It is easily understood that solar energy will never go extinct till the day the sun exists. Sunlight is being used by the plants to make food for them, to grow and to regenerate. The heat is so essential for using its power for residential as well as commercial use and also without its heat humans might not be able to maintain their body temperature. Using solar energy never leaves any residue or causes any kind of pollution. It is said to be tomorrow’s energy as it is in abundance all over the World and does not get extinct on using extensively. Solar energy is being used at home these days for power by installing solar panels. It is being used commercially also, at a very high extent, as they are available in abundance without paying any charge. The only cost is the cost of installing the power grid system or panels.
- Wind energy
Another sustainable energy that is available in abundance. Wind energy was sacked and used for power at many places. It is well understood that this energy was being used from ancient times as we have learned that sailors were using wind energy to sail to the desired direction. This industry is being commercialized at a very interesting rate these days because people have understood the potential. As we go on, we can see that no fossil fuels are being used for energy instead, these
sustainable energies rule the World.
- Hydroelectric power
Converting the energy from the rivers and waterfalls with the help of turbines to power is the most common way of producing power all over the world. The energy thus produced is known as hydroelectric power. Most of the countries harness this energy and use it and it is being transferred through power lines all over and even to the other countries which are unable to produce hydroelectric energy due to the lack of resources. Hydro power is the most common sustainable energy that is in use presently.
- Ocean energy
As we know more than 70% of the Earth is covered with Oceans. So it is tacit that if power is being generated from Ocean, it will be the highest of any other energy. Moreover energy from ocean is being produced in three ways:
1) Ocean thermal energy
3) Tidal energy
Waves and tides are inseparable from Ocean. Thus this gives us enormous provision for using this for power production. The enormous energy that the tide produces when caught up efficiently powers up oodles of homes. The ocean thermal plants convert the kinetic energy of waves to mechanical energy with the help of turbines and that is converted to electric energy with the help of generators.
The only drawback which pulls us back is that the setting up of ocean thermal plants disrupt the aquatic life and balance of ecology.
- Geothermal Energy
The heat that is inside the Earth is being extracted to make power. Can you really believe that? Yes! It is being done all around the World. But the only problem is that the Geothermal plants can be set up in areas only where there is high seismic activity and in those areas which are prone to volcanoes. All areas do not have high temperatures and thus harnessing this is not efficient all over.
Sustainable energy is not confined to the above list. It has other energy such as biomass energy, hydrogen energy etc.
Hydrogen energy: Hydrogen is the most available element on Earth and thus can be used in abundance for energy. But the problem we face is that it is not readily available. It is available in compound form and we need to extract hydrogen from the compounds. That itself is cost consuming.
Biomass energy: it is the energy that is produced on burning agricultural and bio waste, timber, wood etc. this helps in reducing the landfills and the carbon dioxide released on burning the these are consumed by plants and thus does not cause any harm to the environment. Even though it has all these positive sides, it hasn’t proved to be as efficient as others or fossil fuels. All the above discussed types or sources or examples of sustainable energy have the same characteristics which makes it sustainable forever. Let us see them quickly even though we discussed the same elaborately earlier.
- Abundantly available
- Never depletes
- No harm to environment
The above discussed characteristics help them to be the best sources of energy for the future.
Advantages or benefits of sustainable energy
Sustainable energy calls for great demand as its advantages are so vast. Let us quickly go into the benefits before we go look into how all the above discussed types of sustainable energy are interlinked.
- No environment harm
Using any sustainable energy doesn’t leave any residue in the environment that is harmful to nature. As said earlier, renewable energy is said to be the clean energy, and thus paves way for a clean and safe environment. A steady decline in all pollution directly results in our good health.
- Never exhausts
Sustainable energy is always available in abundance. It never gets depleted nor exhausts, no matter if we use it or not. It’s replenishing in nature and thus does not give us any kind of threat of getting depleted or of causing environmental harm. What else can we dream about energy, isn’t it?
The features of sustainable energy such as replenishing, abundantly available etc indicates that they are inexpensive too. Keeping apart the installation and the initial expense, these readily available energy cost nothing. Since many Companies have started investing in this area by understanding its potential, the competition also has arised making a steady decline in the initial installation charges also. Hence it is completely competitive now.
- Increase employment
As sustainable energy has a remarkable position these days and has developed into an industry, it itself creates more employment in the society. As discussed earlier, it has arisen to a competition industry thereby opening doors for local employment. The expense of sustainable energy lies in the workmanship and expense of requisites to build in the facilities for converting it into the energy we consume.
- Maintains the fossil fuels
We were in strict dependence on fossil fuels over a long period of time which has resulted in adverse conditions such as heavy pollution, climate change, fossil fuel depletion, global warming etc. sustainable energy has brought in a revolution and thus we are said to be at energy independence. Fossil fuels were not available in all places and were available in plenty in certain parts of the Earth which had made the countries purely dependent on the countries where fossil fuels were available. Sustainable energy being available all over and not having the threat of being depleted, fossil fuels will be set free from exploitation.
We have already looked into the types of sustainable energy and have learned that all sustainable energy is renewable. Sun is the literal source of energy as it produces both heat and light. Let us understand how all types of sustainable energy are related. As long as the sun exists, its heat produces wind. The heat from inside the Earth also will exist therefore and thus geothermal energy will also prevail. The movement of the Sun, moon and Earth produces a tide and this movement will never stop in the known future.
Heat from the sun enhances the evaporation process and thus the rain or ice fall will happen for sure. This rain or ice fall ensures the hydropower and water in the ocean. All these facts affirm that these energies will be available always and thus Sustainable.