The world is dependent on fossil fuels for it’s energy supply. Currently, fossil fuels account for 80% of the world’s energy consumption. However, fossil fuels take millions of years to form and our reserves are depleting rapidly. This means that fossil fuels are non-renewable resources and society needs to find an alternative energy supply.
What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is energy which comes from a natural source and is not depleted when used. Renewable energies include wind, wave and solar power. In the UK, we have copious amounts of wind and waves, and a little bit of sunshine, available to us. Why not make the most of that? The UK is currently making good progress with more people wanting to install solar panels on their roofs and wind farms being set up around the country.
There are many reasons for society to switch to renewable forms of energy.
Fossil Fuels are a Finite Resource
Fossil fuels are running out fast. Unfortunately, the world’s infrastructure is reliant on fossil fuels. They power electricity plants, heat our homes and provide fuel for our cars. Eventually, fossil fuels will run out entirely or become too expensive for people to afford. But you can’t change energy resources overnight! Switching to renewable energy takes time.
Fossil Fuels Contribute to Climate Change
Research shows that burning fossil fuels contributes to climate change, often referred to as ‘global warming.’ Though there is still more research to be done, we know that releasing so much carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere is causing severe weather problems. These include melting polar ice caps, wildfires in the USA and heat waves across Europe and in India.
Scientists are saying that to avoid catastrophic changes to the planet, we must start reducing greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels in the next 10 years…
Renewable Energy is Better for the Environment
Fossil fuels not only cause climate change, but are also damaging the environment through land, water and air pollution. An example of this is air pollution caused by burning coal. Burning coal releases fine particles that can cause respiratory health problems if they are inhaled. These pollutants become part of the water cycle and create acid rain, which pollutes water, ruins land and corrodes buildings.
Arguably, renewable energy sources also affect the environment. For instance, wind turbines can impact migrating birds and dams can disrupt ecology of surrounding areas. However, the negative impacts are far less than those of fossil fuels and renewable energy is undoubtedly better for the environment overall.
Renewable Energy makes Economic Sense
Renewable energy not only makes environmental sense, but also economic sense. By switching 70% of the planet’s electricity production to renewable alternatives, Greenpeace estimates the world’s economy would save $180 billion per year.
The renewable energy industry is increasing employment opportunities worldwide and is gaining a lot of investment. In Germany, renewable energy accounts for a quarter of the nation’s energy consumption. As a result, renewable energy industries have created 380,000 new jobs. In the USA, solar power workers currently outnumber coal miners.
Renewable Energy can be Self-Sufficient
Currently, people are no control of their energy supply. They can chose which company to purchase their electricity from, but they have no means of creating their own energy supply. With renewable energy systems, people can have complete control.
The average person is able to buy their own solar thermal panels or an air source heat pump for their own home. Being in complete control of your energy means that you are not affected by changes in price or shortages from electricity or gas companies. In fact, installing solar panels can shave £223 off your annual electricity bill. With renewable energy, you can be entirely self-sufficient.
Renewable Energy is the Future
Renewable energy is the only way forward. There are many benefits of switching to renewable sources, primarily the fact that non-renewable energy sources will run out and there won’t be any other option. Renewable energy will never run out, and will therefore be able to supply our children and their children with the energy they need.