By Daina Martin
Climate change and depleting fossil fuel resources have driven world governments to consider alternative energy sources and and sustainable energy has emerged as the eco-friendly solution.
To understand what makes sustainable energy eco-friendly, we first need to know what sustainable energy and eco-friendly means. Sustainable energy is energy that fulfills the needs of the present but doesn’t leave the future generations bereft of power sources. Therefore, the idea behind developing sustainable energy is to derive energy from sources that will not exhaust themselves with time; such sources are also called renewable energy sources.
The sun, wind, geothermal energy, tidal waves, and some forms of water and biomass powers are some of the major renewable sources of energy that have been identified and are being harnessed by various countries of the world. While it is true that every means of power generation creates some amount of wastage, fossil fuels or non-renewable sources like coal and oil invariably create much more pollution than renewable sources. Since the process of energy generation using renewable sources doesn’t create harmful waste or disrupt eco-systems, they are known as eco-friendly sources of power.
For instance, to harness the solar energy so abundant on earth, solar-powered photo-voltaic (PV) panels are exposed to sunlight. These panels contain silicon cells in which electrons are excited by the sun rays. These excited electrons start moving and produce electricity which can be substituted for conventionally produced electric power. In this process of electricity creation, there is no wastage produced at the level of transforming solar energy to electrical energy. The only wastage can be cited at the time of production and disposal of PV panels. Since these panels work for years on end, their disposal only comes at a very later date. That’s why, solar energy is the cleanest source of renewable energy forms known to man today.
As far as wind energy is concerned, the kinetic energy of moving wind is converted into mechanical energy by windmills. This energy is converted into electricity by generators that rotate by the mechanical energy produced. This energy is then stored into grid or directly transferred to power houses. Like solar power generation, the only wastage involved is at the time of production and disposal of windmills. However, the establishment of wind power plants requires large areas which can impact local flora and fauna to some extent, while solar PV panels can be mounted on rooftops of existing buildings, thus saving a lot of space.
In India, government agencies as well as non-profits like Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation come together to formulate and encourage sustainable energy policies that will help the transition from a conventional-source based economy to an economy based on green and clean power. Their efforts are aimed at increasing participation of industries and stakeholders in renewable energy penetration in the Indian power grid.
Daina Martin is a freelance author and writes for a variety of online publications like Wamda.com and Launch.it. She actively writes blogs and articles related to Eco-friendly resources, health and technology. When she’s not working, she likes to cook, dance and travel.