We use fossil fuels for our energy needs more than any other type of energy source. Indeed, oil, natural gas and coal account for more than 80% of the world’s energy consumption. What’s wrong with that? For a start, fossil fuel reserves are not finite and are in fact rapidly diminishing. If we continue to consume oil at the current rate, our known deposits will be gone by 2052, an increase in gas to fill that gap will result in gas reserves being fully depleted by 2060, and coal deposits could have vanished by 2088. In other words, we could have run out of fossil fuels in under 80 years and in that time prices will rocket to astronomical figures.
It is not only the depleting reserves of fossil fuels and rising prices that should lead us to look at alternative energy sources but the damaging environmental impact they have. In order to generate electricity, fossil fuels are burnt in power plants, releasing noxious gases such as carbon dioxide and monoxide, sulfur and nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons - all of which hang in the air as smog, polluting our planet and damaging the health of all living things. Carbon dioxide also heavily contributes heavily towards global warming, altering the Earth’s climates and causing a range of catastrophes thanks to extreme weather conditions. For a cleaner, greener, energy-sufficient planet both now and in centuries to come, we need to turn away from fossil fuels and look towards the energy superstars of the future - renewable.
Renewable energies are not only infinite but do not pollute the planet. They utilize the planet’s natural resources, harnessing the power of the natural world. One such renewable energy that is readily available for both domestic and industrial use is solar power, the fastest growing renewable in the world. If we could utilize the full potential of the energy emanating from the sun’s powerful rays, they would provide us with more energy in one hour than the entire world needs in a year. Of course, we haven’t as yet developed a method to fully harness the sun’s massive power but solar panels are constantly being updated and improved and efficiency is increasing at a rate which reveals our imminent need for a clean, green and renewable energy source.
Solar panels transform sunlight into electricity using photovoltaic cells, most often manufactured from silicon, which convert the photons in the sun’s rays into an electrical current. It is a noise- and pollution-free method and utilizes a source which will never run out. No harmful gases are created, meaning cleaner air and absolutely no contribution to climate change.
Although solar panels are initially expensive, the power generated from the sun is completely free and this, combined with government rebates and incentives, should end up saving you money in the long term. With the promise of saving money and helping to save the planet who wouldn't want to go green with solar energy?
Renewable energies are close to journalist and copywriter Emily Buckley’s heart and none more so than solar power, surely the future of energy for the planet.