Sustainability is a word on everyone’s lips nowadays. Increasingly, we’ve come to realise that our global consumption rates cannot be supported in the long run by the finite resources on our planet. As a result, we have to look with increasing urgency to creative forms of sustainable energy production.
Many consider renewable energy to be a key part of that complex puzzle. With a wide array of different benefits, from mitigating the effects of climate change to increasing national energy security risks, it’s definitely something that more people need to consider.
Mitigating climate change
One of the most dangerous problems with our current dominant methods of energy production – burning fossil fuels – is the climate change issue. When power stations burn hydrocarbons, they emit thousands of tons of greenhouse gasses, which trap heat in the atmosphere and slowly but surely heat up the whole planet.
On the other hand, renewable energy sources, whether wind or geothermal, produce next to no greenhouse gas emissions during operation. Some of the specialist equipment necessary to facilitate those energy capture systems can be somewhat environmentally ‘dirty’ to produce, but those manufacturing processes are also becoming increasingly sustainable.
The recent war in Ukraine made almost everyone in the West hyper-aware of the issue of energy security. In just a few weeks, our energy bills skyrocketed, and states started to panic about being cut off entirely from their oil suppliers.
Renewable energy sources are generally able to provide a high level of energy security. These energy sources – the sun, flowing water, the wind – aren’t controlled by any single country; they can be harnessed by anyone with the right equipment, providing high levels of energy security.
Improved air quality
In addition to the global negative environmental effects of fossil fuel energy, there are more local implications. Specifically, burning these kinds of hydrocarbons emits a wide range of harmful pollutants to human and animal life, including sulfur dioxide and particulate matter.
These pollutants degrade the quality of the air we breath, leading to increased respiratory diseases and as well as a wide range of other negative health effects. Sustainable energy sources tend not to release any pollutants at all during operation, meaning that the surrounding area can remain perfectly habitable for animals and humans alike.
Finally, with an unstable job market and increasing levels of automation across the board, it’s important to mention the job creation benefits associated with the renewable energy industry. Building and maintaining renewable energy infrastructure will create a substantial number of highly skilled jobs, providing employment opportunities for millions of people across the globe.
There’s much more to add besides these crucial points, but hopefully, this provides you with at least a basic idea of how important the renewable energy industry will be for a sustainable future.
Our thanks to the team at Exagen for their invaluable industry insights, without which this article would have been impossible.
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