Consumers these days continue to demand sustainable products from different businesses. They are slowly transforming their lives by turning to green and sustainable practices. Among the biggest investments, they make involve investing in renewable energy technologies for both residential and commercial use.
When it comes to green and sustainable energy, we depend on natural resources like sunlight, tides, wind, and geothermal heat. Many renewable energy sources don’t cost that much to operate. But then, these can be expensive to install.
Among the most popular and most supported kinds of sustainable energy are wind and solar energy. Despite the upfront costs, many are investing in these renewable energy sources, as these help in reducing energy costs. This is another reason why more individuals are now able to live off-grid.
Pros and Cons of Renewable Energy Sources
Different renewable energy sources can have their own perks and drawbacks. It is crucial that we know the pros and cons of each one before we make an investment. Here are the pros and cons of three common natural energy resources.
Solar power converts sunlight into electricity. There is no pollution and there is practically an unlimited supply of sunlight. But this tends to be more expensive, takes up a considerable large amount of space, can’t create electricity during the night or when overcast, and the solar panels can cause glare.
Hydroelectric power makes use of flowing water to create electricity. The energy is clean and abundant in areas where there are lots of moving bodies of water. But then, dams are only restricted to places where there is water and can even be a cause of environmental concern.
Wind turbines, on the other hand, transform breeze into electricity. These are relatively inexpensive to construct, have no pollution, and require little maintenance. But then, the towers take up a lot of space, create noise, can be visually displeasing to some people, and can cause harm to wildlife.
The Need for More and Better Energy Sources
The growing number of human pollution around the world leads to an escalated demand for electricity. But since the current energy sources we are using can contribute to environmental concerns, experts turned their attention to sources of energy naturally found in nature. The attention turned to wind and solar energy in hopes of meeting public demand.
But even with the variability of solar and wind energy, these are not enough to fill in the growing demand. The occasional output along with the challenges that come with harnessing enough energy from the sun and wind often proves to be unreliable. This is why up until now, even businesses that already have multiple solar panels installed still depend mostly on regular electricity.
There is also an increasing demand for energy that is clean, reliable, and sustainable. But we need to remember that not all sustainable energy is renewable. This makes it even a greater challenge to create an energy supply that will last long minus the environmental implications.
Various industries make use of different techniques to ensure they have access to the energy they need when they need it. Take mercury-wetted reed relays, for instance. These may be banned in some states, but these prove to be a better choice for some industries compared to conventional and solid-state relays.
Relays are switches that convert small electrical stimuli into bigger, more useful currents. Some industries already made the switch to solid-state relays. But for others, upgrading to relays with mercury makes better sense.
This goes to show that not all industries are able to rely on their energy needs on renewable energy alone. There are many factors involved in choosing energy sources. But reliability is often the deciding factor which is businesses can’t manage to rely on renewable energy alone.
Can We Rely on Renewable Energy Alone?
As of now, only small establishments with little energy requirement can fully function with renewable energy alone. China houses the largest capacity of solar, wind, and hydro energy. But then, they are still the largest consumer of coal.
There is also a growing divide between many countries. More countries can’t afford to make the necessary investments to say goodbye to coal while not all wealthy nations are embracing renewable energy. This proves that will take a long time before we can fully rely on renewable energy alone to power all houses and establishments worldwide.
Despite the presence of renewable energy sources, not everyone is capable of turning their backs against coal. Knowing the pros and cons of all green and sustainable energy sources is not enough to change the minds of nations. Add the fact that the increased standard of living and the surge of energy demands from the growing population makes it even trickier even for the wealthiest nations to make the immediate switch.