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Why is renewable energy important?

Renewable energy has been abuzz in the electricity sector for the past few years, but why are such technological advances so important?

In order to understand the significance of renewable energy, it is necessary to learn just what the term really means. 

What is renewable energy?

Essentially, it is any system that allows clean energy to be generated from a natural and sustainable source that can constantly be replenished.

Examples of renewable energy sources include solar power, wind turbines, bioenergy, geothermal energy, marine energy and hydropower. 

Why is it better for the environment?

Currently, many forms of traditional electricity generation revolve around the burning of fossil fuels, which creates greenhouse gases. 

When resources such as coal are burnt, large quantities of water are used, while often  arsenic and lead are also discharged into surface waters. Not to mention the carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and sulphur dioxide fumes that are released into the air.

Renewable energy sources eliminate the use of these fuels, which can aid your electricity supplier to reduce its carbon footprint.

This could help the environment as it reduces thermal pollution, waste and water consumption that is believed by the science community to be a factor in climate change. 

The consequences of climate change include damage to agriculture, limited water supplies, the spread of tropical diseases and even widespread extinction of animals.

Is there concern about resources?

Coal, petroleum and other fossil fuels are only available in limited amounts, so once they are gone, they're gone.

Plus, the search to find these resources comes with its own risks, particularly as some are buried deep underground or in the ocean. It becomes more challenging and more expensive as time goes on and resources dwindle.

There can also be catastrophic results if something goes wrong, such as the British Petroleum oil spill in 2010. Often mining and drilling can be dangerous.

Renewable energy on the other hand, can always be relied upon as the sources are safe and easy to harness and naturally replenishable.

Non political

In the past, energy prices have increased and access to these resources has been limited as a result of political strife and upheaval.

Since renewable energy can be produced locally, it will not be affected by any other crises that take place in the world and won't become more expensive thanks to fossil fuel price spikes or a disruption in supply.

Renewable energy could mean lower electricity prices in future as well as a safer, cleaner supply of energy.

Posted by Liam Tunney.