Renewable Energy Resources

The consumption of energy all across the globe is increasing rapidly which is leading not only to an energy crisis but also to serious concerns of environmental degradation. As such, concerns regarding the environment play an influential role in the planning and usage of energy and the sources from which it can be obtained. The steady growth in environmental pollution and global warming has resulted in universal concern and attention which has pressed the need for the promotion of renewable energy resources.

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Renewable Energy Resources

Renewable energy is energy that is non-depletable and is environmentally friendly with reduced greenhouse emissions when compared with fossil energy (Hansen, 1998). One of the oldest and most important sources of renewable energy resource is hydropower “with a share of 19% of electricity generation” (Hansen, 1998). Lack of fuel costs and low costs of operation, make hydropower the preferred source of alternative for generating energy. However, the other renewable energy resources including solar, wind, and geothermal require huge capital costs but have great potential due to their low fuel and maintenance costs (Hansen, 1998). Despite some barriers, renewable energy resources are the need of the hour and renewable energy is becoming the world’s fastest energy resource (Lovins & Lovins).

Barriers to Renewable Energy

Renewable energy has wide-ranging several barriers to its use and implementation.

Lack of information among the general population regarding the availability and costs of renewable energy is a primary factor that stunts its growth and development (Ottinger and Williams, 2002).

Local and rural community settings depict failure to fully comprehend the potential of renewable energy which subsequently leads to failure in adapting projects and involving communities in the design and implementation of these projects. As a result, experiments can be highly unsuccessful with capital and financial losses (Ottinger and Williams, 2002).

The failure of governments and agencies to accurately evaluate the costs and benefits of renewable energy as compared to traditionally used energy resources which are very often highly subsidized. This fails to account for fair value to newer and innovative means of renewable energy and in the subsequent failure to implement them at local levels (Ottinger and Williams, 2002).

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The preference of governments and agencies of fossil fuel sources to new renewable sources of energy leads to a lack of motivation to implement these projects at national levels.

The approval requirements for novel projects like renewable energy resources are often cumbersome and difficult which puts an extra burden on entrepreneurs. Additionally, decision-makers very often have high stakes in traditional power companies due to which they encourage traditional sources rather than renewable energy resources (Ottinger and Williams, 2002).

Education and training in renewable energy and its resources are relatively low which often leads to reduced manpower and subsequent failure of such projects. Additional general and energy-specific barriers are ranging from country to country such as the high import duties levied on renewable types of equipment, as a result of which investment in renewable energy programs is discouraged (Ottinger and Williams, 2002).

It is evident that due to several constraints related to finances, politics, lack of trained personnel in the installation, operation, and maintenance, renewable energy faces failure of promotion and development, and government policies and programs fail to encourage renewable energy projects. Research and development is also an area that needs to be considered seriously so that renewable energy resources can be utilized to their full capacity and the costs to developing such environmentally free energy are reduced considerably.

Positive outcomes of using Renewable energy resources

In an age when their concerns regarding environmental safety and pollution are rising, renewable energy resources hold great promise for meeting the demands of energy all the world over. There are several technologies in renewable energy which have the potential to produce energy to suit a variety of needs. one such excellent example is the production of electricity from solar power or sunlight to supply energy to buildings, residential homes, and other types of equipment that can be effectively run by it such as hot water for homes and heating of space. Other important sources of renewable energy are wind power, oceans and tides, hydroelectric power, and power from agricultural wastes (Ottinger and Williams, 2002).

Renewable energy is becoming a major source of energy production and most countries are making considerable progress in this area. An excellent example of this is India, which is a world leader in the use of renewable energy (Ottinger and Williams, 2002). This has been possible due to the active government support renewable energy resources receive in this country through the formation of a cabinet-level department known as the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES) (Tata Energy Research Institute; Gov’t of India, Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources). India is a pioneer in research related to renewable energy and universities support technology and research in this field to promote and develop it.

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Developing countries could benefit substantially from renewable energy resources since many people living in these countries do not have access to electricity. Public and private sectors all over the world have benefited through partnerships and government intervention programs and measures which support the research, development, and implementation of renewable energy projects and resources. Some of the important strategies and solutions to increase the use of renewable energy resources are as follows:

Education and Training Programs by the Government

Knowledge and information are vital aspects of development and progress in informing the public about the benefits of renewable energy resources. Political support can also be garnered through the extension of knowledge and information so that appropriate governmental actions can be taken to promote the use of renewable energy resources. Primary and secondary school education must include education regarding the importance and need for renewable energy resources and their positive effects on the environment. This education must be continued at all levels of education and must become an important part of the curriculum at all levels of education to create more awareness and understanding.

Government Ratings for Green and clean energy products

Important environmental organizations in the United States of America have initiated the use of a “green-e clean electricity certification program” which can be displayed if electricity providers adhere to the strict conditions of producing environmentally clean and pollution-free electric power. This rating informs consumers whether the company offers green power or not (Center for Res. Solutions, Green-e Renewable Electricity Certification Program) (Ottinger and Williams, 2002).

Award Incentives By Governments and Private organizations

Awards and prizes of recognition by governments and private institutes to organizations that use renewable energy resources prove fruitful. Such awards include the likes of the Energy Star labels by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and others which provide recognition for using environmentally friendly power are successful incentive-based measures (HOWARD GELLER ET AL., 1998).

Removal of subsidies on renewable energy resources

The removal of subsidies by the government is the best way to promote its use and popularity. Therefore the removal of subsidies from energy resources such as fossil fuels could lead to increased use of fossil fuels and such alternative leans of producing renewable energy. It has been noted that developing nations like China are on track to eliminating their subsidies on coal with the primary intention of creating and supporting other renewable energy-producing industries (Ottinger and Williams, 2002). Another country, Poland has also reduced its fossil fuel subsidies which have resulted in a thirty percent reduction in the usage of coal (Ottinger and Williams, 2002). Similar attempts have been made by other countries including Russia and the United Kingdom which have reduced their coal subsidies for producing energy and encourage the development of renewable energy resources (Ottinger and Williams, 2002).

Removal of Restriction on Investments and import of Renewable energy resources and equipment

The reduction or removal of duty on the equipment being imported for renewable energy is vital to promote the development and popularity of such environmentally friendly energy-creating measures.

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Levy Pollution Tax

Taxing fuels and resources which produce pollutants would increase the costs of producing energy from these resources and enhance the use of renewable energy resources on which the tax can be reduced by the government.

It is thus apparent that there are numerous means and measures which can be taken cooperatively by governments and private organizations to enhance and increase the use of renewable energy resources to reduce pollution and save the environment. Determined action on the part of governments and global players would ensure success in finding and developing efficient renewable resources for producing energy to benefit mankind rather than destroy the environment and nature.

References

Center for Res. Solutions, Green-e Renewable Electricity Certification Program, Overview of Standard, 2002. Web. (explaining the program’s benefits for consumers).

Howard Geller et al., 1998. Council for an energy-efficient Econ, Approaching the Kyoto Targets: Five Key strategies for the United States 7.

TATA Energy Research Inst., Overview Renewables in India, (2002); see also Gov’t of India, Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources, (providing information on the Ministry, its administrations, and achievements). Web.

Lovins & Lovins in; Ottinger, Richard L., and Rebecca Williams. “Renewable energy sources for development.” Environmental Law 32.2 (Spring 2002): 331(38).

Ottinger, Richard L., and Rebecca Williams. “Renewable energy sources for development.” Environmental Law 32.2 (Spring 2002): 331(38).

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