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What is sustainable energy/Importance/Renewable Non-Renewable Energy

What Is Sustainable Energy?

For an energy to be sustainable or renewable, as it is also called, it needs to be obtained through an inexhaustible resource , such as the wind or the sun.

But not just that.

It must still meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations.

This means that a country cannot use all the water available today to generate electricity, as this would jeopardize public supply very soon.

Another important aspect for energy to be considered sustainable is that it is renewable and clean , that is, without releasing carbon dioxide, the famous CO2, as well as other greenhouse gases .

As you can see, there are many “prerequisites” for sustainable energy.

But this does not mean that there are no different sources of it, as we will see later.

How Important Is Sustainable Energy?

Knowing the consequences of the greenhouse effect , which we mentioned earlier, helps to understand the great importance of sustainable energy for the planet.

Because they affect all of us, at the same time they generate impacts on nature, on other living beings.

You’ve heard about global warming , haven’t you?

This is a group of climatologists who argue that the temperature on Earth is rising.

In large part, this is due to the greenhouse effect, whose origin lies in the concentration of harmful gases in the atmosphere.

With higher temperatures, the environment goes into disequilibrium .

Climate change is felt gradually. However, in the long run, our very survival is threatened.

Not that changing the entire energy matrix to renewable sources is the definitive solution for this, but the measure has a great contribution to guaranteeing everyone’s future .

For example, did you know that 40% of the world’s CO2 emissions come from the energy produced by burning coal?

And it’s not enough to stop using coal to produce energy – not without finding viable alternative sources to take its place.

This is what the efforts of researchers, companies and governments to promote sustainable energy on the planet are all about.

But there are other justifications for its importance. It is worth mentioning aspects related to our health, including.

With the damage suffered by the atmosphere, the stronger the sun’s rays reach our skin, which paves the way for the increase in the number of cancer cases .

Still regarding health, several respiratory problems can affect the population, especially in large cities, taken by pollution.

In them, investments in urban mobility should prioritize roads and vehicles that are less harmful to the air, such as public transport , bicycles and even hybrid or electric cars, not powered by fossil fuels, such as gasoline and diesel.

Finally, it is worth mentioning the economic issue.

If you’ve ever noticed the so-called red flag on the electricity bill , you know what we’re talking about.

This increase in the amount you pay monthly is due precisely to the scarcity of the main natural resource to generate energy today: water.

Reducing dependence on this energy matrix, the cost of generation, distribution and consumption tends to drop significantly – without having to reduce the comfort in your home.

What Is The Most Sustainable Energy Source?

There is no consensus on which is the most sustainable energy source.

This article , developed at the State University of Rio Grande do Sul (UERGS), concludes that the most sustainable source of energy is wind energy , causing damage only to birds and bats in the places where the propellers for capture are implanted.

But solar energy is also seen as a great option, although its implementation cost is high.

In a home, it is equivalent to investing in a used car, which makes it difficult for the general population to access without a government subsidy.

Renewable Energies X Non-Renewable Energies

Initiatives to encourage sustainable energy abound.

Currently, PLS 712/2015 is under discussion in the legislative house committees, before being put to the vote.

This concern is justified not only to have a better future, but also to bring electricity to so many people who still live without it.

Worldwide, more than a billion people do not have electricity , according to UN data.

The aggravating factor is that this lack occurs even when prioritizing non-renewable energies.

They are those that use exhaustible or unclean resources.

This is the case of oil, coal and nuclear sources, which we will talk about later.

According to the UN, one of the great challenges for the future is to universalize access to electricity – and that in a clean way, without harming the environment.

This was one of the resolutions of the RIO +20 conference , held in 2012, with a concern that also appeared among the sustainable energy goals for 2030, as we showed at the beginning of this article.

Worldwide, the average is only 14%. But first place goes to China .

To give you an idea, in 2017, the Asian country invested 133 billion dollars in renewable energy.

Types Of Sustainable Energies

Let’s talk now about the most common types of sustainable energy.

You will discover among them alternative sources that you may have never heard of.

1-Photovoltaic Solar Energy

Solar energy is also used to produce other energies, such as biomass.

Therefore, the correct thing, when we talk about capture with solar panels , is photovoltaic solar energy.

In this way, you are specifically referring to harvesting solar energy, without involving any other process such as photosynthesis.

Solar energy has a high implementation cost, as we mentioned earlier. However, it has high durability , being considered a great investment for that.

But its large-scale use comes up against climatic aspects.

It turns out that the sun’s radiation does not reach the entire planet evenly, depending on latitude and season of the year, in addition to atmospheric conditions, such as cloudiness and relative humidity, for greater absorption of radiation by the panels.

2-Wind Energy

Wind energy is generated from the movement of air masses (wind).

Basically, kinetic energy is converted through wind turbines (connected to the famous “pinwheels”) to generate electricity.

This is thanks to the presence of twice as much wind here than the world average, in addition to a volatility of only 5%, which makes it easier to predict the amount of energy that will be generated in a given period.

In addition, as the wind speed is usually higher in periods of drought, with the absence of rain that impairs the production of hydroelectric energy, it is possible to operate wind farms in a complementary system.

Thus, the water in the hydroelectric reservoirs is preserved during these periods.

The regions with the highest measured potential are the Northeast, Southeast and South.

3-Hydroelectric Power

Basically it consists of generating energy through the flow of water , taking advantage of waterfalls.

But then a question arises: how does it use an exhaustible resource, can it be considered a renewable source?

In theory, yes – given the gigantic amount of water on the planet. However, this is a topic surrounded by controversy.

For the construction of a hydroelectric plant, it is necessary to divert the course of a river and form the reservoir, which is used in times of drought.

As in the case of wind power, motors that generate energy are also moved.

4-Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is also known as geothermal energy.

It comes from the heat of the interior of the planet .

In a geothermal power plant, this heat is transformed into electricity, which can be obtained from hot dry rocks, hot wet rocks and hot steam.

Currently, only 0.3% of global energy capacity comes from this source.

5-Tidal Energy

Tidal energy is generated through tidal movement (kinetic energy) or the difference between high and low tidal heights (potential energy).

This is another clean energy that is underutilized, being used mainly in North America and Europe.

To do so, it is necessary to build a system similar to that of hydroelectric plants, with a dam and units that generate electricity .

One of the problems is that the dams need to be built on the coast, close to the sea, which makes that area unusable for both swimming and fishing, affecting the local economy.

The big advantage is that it does not depend on the weather.

However, the construction of a tidal power plant is expensive and has a low level of power generation compared to other means.

6-Wave Energy

While tidal energy is generated by the tides, wave energy is generated by the movement of waves .

That is, both come from the sea. However, each from a different movement.

In some parts of the world, the wind blows so consistently over the sea that it is possible to guarantee a continuous behavior of the waves , being possible to predict the generation of energy.

But, like the tidal wave, the implantation of a wave power plant is high and renders the coastal strip where it is installed unusable.

7-Biomass Energy

Biomass is used in the production of energy from processes such as the combustion of organic material produced and accumulated .

It is possible to generate energy with it using extreme temperatures to accelerate decomposition.

The material from this is gases, vegetable oils and charcoal. This is the process called pyrolysis .

It is also possible to do the same process without oxygen and at a lower temperature to get just the gas, also called gasification .

Another process is combustion, in which it is burned at high temperatures and with a lot of oxygen, producing steam at high pressure .

A final process is co-combustion. In it, part of the coal from thermoelectric plants is replaced by biomass.

It is a partially sustainable process as it still uses coal.

The advantage of biomass is that it is a cheap material and the gases released do not contribute to the greenhouse effect.

However, it ends up generating deforestation and destruction of natural habitats for its extraction.

Types Of Unsustainable Energy

Now, let’s talk about the types that do not qualify as sustainable energy, but are used in the generation process.

1-Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy is energy released through the nucleus of atoms .

When external energy is applied, the nucleus of the atom is disintegrated, emitting heat and radiation.

Uranium , due to its chemical characteristics, is the element used to generate nuclear energy in atomic plants.

Despite being considered a clean energy , as it does not pollute the planet, it is not renewable, as the material used for it is finite.

Because of this, it cannot be considered sustainable.

It is worth mentioning that radioactive waste must be stored in an appropriate place. Otherwise, contamination is extremely dangerous.

2-Mineral Coal

Coal is a sedimentary rock of fossil origin , that is, formed from the sedimentation of organic waste.

It is found in deposits located underground and extracted by the mining system.

When burned, it releases a high amount of energy, so it is still widely used in thermoelectric plants .

But its burning contributes to the greenhouse effect.

In addition, because it is a material that is extracted from the soil, it is also finite, not being a renewable or clean source.

3-Petroleum

Oil is not only used as a fossil fuel , but also appears in the generation of electricity.

For this, derivatives of it are burned in boilers, turbines and internal combustion engines.

Diesel generators are even common in communities that do not have access to the power grid.

Sustainable Energy As A Business Opportunity

Investors, managers and management students should look at the topic of sustainable energy with special attention.

China’s recent contributions to alternative sources, as already mentioned, are a sign that the market is promising .

It is also worth mentioning a study by the Brookings Institute, in the United States.

The publication points out that sustainable energy creates up to three times more jobs than fossil fuels – and wages are 13% higher than the national average.

You can check out the study in its entirety (in English) by clicking here .

If you’re looking for a new job and looking to the professions of the future , consider learning more about sustainable energy.

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