There are many different reasons why renewable energy is extremely important for the future of our society and throughout this article I will mention the ones that I find to be most important.
Positive environmental impact is certainly one of the top reasons. Fossil fuels when burn create harmful greenhouse gas emissions that have significantly contributed to global warming phenomenon. Using renewable energy instead of fossil fuels we would significantly decrease the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions which would help prevent stronger climate change impact.
Boost to economy in form of new jobs. The number of people employed within the renewable energy industry continues to grow, and this gives many countries an excellent option to boost their economies in this post-recession period.
Less foreign oil import. The global oil market has become extremely volatile and our dependence on oil continues to grow. With more emphasis on renewable energy and using domestic renewable energy sources instead of importing foreign oil we would drastically improve our energy security and energy independence.
The variety of options. Renewable energy offers variety of different options to choose from as countries can choose between sun, wind, biomass, geothermal energy, water resources, etc.
The prominent position in global politics. The global clean energy race is very important and winners in this race will experience many political as well as economic benefits in years to come.
Excellent potential of renewable energy resources. Our sun for instance has almost unlimited potential. Wind, geothermal, biomass – all of these sources have excellent potential to satisfy our energy needs.
Renewable energy can help in electrification of many rural areas in developing world. In many rural areas renewable energy is cheaper energy option to satisfy energy needs compared to traditional energy solutions.
Renewable energy can also help improve political ties between countries by sharing technological know-how. Some large renewable energy projects could even be joined works of two or more different countries.
By Ned Haluzan
Deployment of renewable energy is expanding all over the world. There is high competition between alternative land uses, and conflicts over limited land are likely to emerge between biodiversity conservation and expanded deployment of renewable energy.
Dr Andrea Santangeli in the University of Helsinki, Finland, and his colleagues in the UK have explored global expansion of land use for renewable energies versus biodiversity protection. They discovered that the conflicts and opportunities largely depend on the type of energy at stake, with bioenergy strongly conflicting with biodiversity protection while generating only limited power at a global level.
Conversely, solar energy and, to a lower degree, wind energy, may provide relatively large power supplies with minimal impacts on biodiversity.
“We found that using a very limited amount of land for generating energy from the sun can yield large amounts of power without impacting the best areas for biodiversity protection. However, this result only holds when restrictions on energy storage and transport are largely ignored, which is unrealistic in the short term. Indeed, these findings highlight a major opportunity when political will and improved technologies make it possible to harvest renewable energy without such restrictions,” says Andrea Santangeli.
Santangeli and colleagues also highlight that in the near future renewable energy most likely will not be able to make a very large contribution towards our total global energy consumption. So, other forms of energy still need to be considered.
- Andrea Santangeli, Tuuli Toivonen, Federico Montesino Pouzols, Mark Pogson, Astley Hastings, Pete Smith, Atte Moilanen. Global change synergies and trade-offs between renewable energy and biodiversity. GCB Bioenergy, 2015; DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12299