Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Renewable energy simple definition

The best way to define renewable energy would be to say that this is the energy that comes from the naturally replenished (renewable) energy sources such as sunlight, wind, earth's heat, etc.

Renewable energy sources are more environmentally friendly sources when compared to traditional fuels such as coal and oil and they do not contribute to climate change and global warming like traditional sources (fossil fuels) do. This is the main reason why many environmentalists look at renewable energy from positive perspective.

People usually refer to renewable energy as the antithesis to fossil fuels. Fossil fuels have tradition on their side while renewable energy sector has just started developing.

Renewable energy still needs to improve its cost-competitiveness, because most renewable energy sources still require subsidies and various other tax benefits to achieve cost-parity with fossil fuels. However, it has to be said that the prices of renewable energy technologies are constantly dropping so it's only a matter of time before renewable energy will become cost competitive with traditional fuels without incentives.

Together with costs renewable energy will also need to improve its efficiency. For instance, average solar panels have efficiency of around 15-18% which means that a lot of energy gets wasted and transferred into heat, instead of some other form of usable energy. However, there are many ongoing researches with the goal to improve efficiency of renewable energy technologies, some of which have been really promising, though we are yet to see some highly efficient and commercially viable renewable energy solution.

Renewable energy sector could decide to choose a "sit and wait strategy" because fossil fuels will eventually become depleted and renewable energy would then remain the only remaining alternative to satisfy world's hunger for energy. But this would be a bad strategy for two reasons: energy security and climate change.

Once fossil fuels become depleted, renewable energy will have to ready to jump in and deliver and this can be only done if renewable energy technologies continue to progress even further. By failing to further develop renewable energy technologies we would endanger our future energy security, and this is something world mustn't avoid.

Renewable energy is often considered as the best way to tackle global warming and climate change. The more renewable energy we use the less fossil fuels we burn, which in the end results in fewer carbon emissions. 

There are really many reasons to choose renewable energy over fossil fuels but we must not forget that renewable energy is still not ready to completely replace fossil fuels. Some day it will be but this day has not yet come. 

The most important thing to do right now is to further develop different renewable energy technologies in order to ensure that once this day comes world wouldn't have to worry whether renewable energy will be able to deliver the goods or not.