Renewable Energy is a clean energy source which can be regenerated for an indefinite period of time. Unlike energy sources which are generated through fossil fuels like coal,oil and gas. Fossil fuels will eventually be depleted or be uneconomically to access. The future cost of fossil fuels is unknown as well. They contribute to global warming, threaten water supplies,pollute the environment and have many health risks.
Most renewable energy sources are clean sources of energy, e.g. they don’t emit any greenhouse gasses and with constantly improved technology are becoming more mainstream and economical. Fossil fuels generate greenhouse gasses which cuase rising temperatures and climate changes.
Renewable energy is the clean and green future for a sustainable world. Investing in renewable energy sources and research will benefit many future generations
Some renewable energy sources
- Solar Energy (Both for heating & Electricity Generation)
- Wind Energy
- Geothermal energy sources
- Biogas & Biofuel
- Wave Power
Advances in renewable energy technology
Renewable energy technologies are advancing all the time, with the current cost of electricity an investment made today will surely pay of over time.
The great thing about renewable energy technologies is that it can be produced on a micro scale at your home or a large macro installation by a independent power producer. With the correct installation and changing power habits it is easily achievable to be of the grid.
One can start slowly and invest in a solar geyser which is one of the larger consumers of electricity in a household.
Advantages of renewable energy
- Potentially unlimited supplies.
- No or little generation of green house gasses which is a major contributor to global warming.
- Cost of generating energy is low.
- Renewable Energy can bring power to remote areas due to smaller scale of operations required to produce energy. This can open up many economic benefits for communities involved.
Disadvantages of renewable energy
While renewable energy has many advantages it has some disadvantages as well.
The main disadvantage is intermittent supply. For example solar power only works during the day, you need an effective way to store the energy for later use.
Storage cost for renewable energy can be costly and are not always environmentally friendly.
So for the near future a mix of traditional energy sources like fossil fuels,nuclear energy, renewable energy and energy savings are the most viable option.
South Africa’s potential for renewable energy
South Africa still has an abundance of fossil fuels in the form of coal, hence the many existing and newly developed coal powered power stations.At the same time South Africa has an abundance of sunshine which lends itself very well for solar water heating and electricity generation.
With increasing prices of coal powered electricity, solar powered heating and electricity is becoming more attractive.One major hurdle still is legislation. Currently domestic grid tied solar systems in South Africa are legally not allowed to feed back into the grid. Although few municipalities are opening up to the idea.
The regulatory environment is slowly favoring sustainable energy solutions. So in the future South Africa should have a good mix of sustainable energy and conventional energy sources ready to power the nation.
The move to sustainable energy should not be if, but how soon. The time for change is now for the benefit of future generations.