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Energy Sustainability - A Beginner’s Guide

The world’s population is growing at a huge pace, and with this, is the growing demand and need for energy. This need is especially high for electricity, where billions of people don’t have access to it, even today.

Energy Sustainability

The problem, however, is that most of the electricity today, is produced from coal, a depleting source of energy. The need of the hour today is to focus on energy sustainability.
This is the concept to produce and use energy forms to meet today’s energy demands, without any worry of their expiry or depletion, and which can be used repeatedly. Energy sustainability comes in the form of stable energy sources which do not harm the environment and are available in plenty.
Examples are solar, wind, hydro-power, ocean and geothermal energy sources.

It is the wise and logical use of these energy sources, that leads to energy sustainability. Coal is a non-renewable source of energy. It increases both water pollution during mining and air pollution while burning.
It also makes life miserable for miners, which is why it’s not a sustainable energy source.

Solar energy however is a great form of sustainable energy that manifests itself in light and heat energies. They are both important for our everyday living and life forms.
Plants need light to grow and generate food while humans use solar heat to power their homes and industries, and reduce energy costs. However, it’s important that you use the right techniques to harness this energy.
Installing solar panels on polders otherwise meant for cattle to create an energy landscape is a no-no. However, installing solar panels on sloped roofs which are otherwise useless, is the right way to harness solar power for energy sustainability.
The same applies to wind energy, which is naturally available in plenty and can be tapped to produce lots of power to be used in various ways and places.

There are many companies that invest a lot on power grids and windmills to tap the energy source, which is then sold to the common man to power their homes and industries.
However once again, it has to be harnessed using the right techniques, in the right places. This means setting up wind turbines on the North Sea that has a huge impact on nature is not a good idea. What is better is setting up wind turbines on abandoned land that don’t have much impact on nature.
Hydropower or hydroelectric power is also a very popular and useful form of renewable energy. This is energy harnessed by using dams, to capture the force of moving waters like rivers and waterfalls to turn turbines and generate power.
Many companies and countries export this energy to other countries who cannot harness hydroelectric power because of lack of resources or proper conditions. The energy is transferred through power lines to different parts in and out of the country.
However, most of the cases where hydropower is generated are not examples of energy sustainability. This is because most of these huge dam projects tend to disrupt the surrounding communities and the river ecosystem. They even harm wildlife and force residents out because of the flooding of hundreds of villages.
All this proves that renewable energy does not induce energy sustainability. These energy sources have to be used in a logical and right way, and provide energy without harming the environment. A perfect example is geothermal energy which harnesses the energy from under the earth.
Geothermal power stations harness the heat emitted from the inside of the earth, to use it for generating electricity. The only drawback is that geothermal energy can’t be harnessed everywhere.

Stations are installed in places where there’s sufficient heat to produce steam to move turbines, and generate electricity.
It's usually placed in places with high seismic activity, and prone to volcanoes.

These are also spots without any major use to mankind. While this is a perfect example of energy sustainability, it’s just that its restrictions prevent its large scale use.
In short, it is the logical and perfect confluence of different forms of renewable energy to produce electricity that leads to energy sustainability. It is the lack of environmental effects, and minimal risks of depletion that make them the right energy sources to give a bright future for our future generations.

Author Bio

Diana Zebian is a marketing specialist at a leading smart grid solutions provider, Networked Energy Services (NES).

Visit www.networkedenergy.com for more information.