We humans are entirely dependent on fossil fuel as of now.Fossil fuel helps us to run our cars, factories, light up our homes and streets, it even provides power to all the electrical gadgets we use. Fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal and natural gas are essentially formed from trees and animals which lived in the planet earth millions of years ago who buried deep beneath the planet’s surface due to some natural calamity or any unknown reason.
For now, the earth is overtly dependant on fossil fuels and nearly 80 percent of the needed global energy comes from the fossil fuel. However, the usage of fossil fuel needs to be minimized as they release greenhouse gases like Carbon-dioxide that eventually leads to global warming.Additionally, Sulphur-dioxide gets released too, which leads to breathing troubles and acid rain.
According to scientists, the impact of global warming is too widespread. In the region of Artic and Antarctica, warmer waters are melting the ice, which leads to rise in the water level. Rising water levels has great impact on agriculture and human settlements. Air pollution is also on the rise due to fossil fuel, which results to smog and it also has direct impact on human health. Other than pollutions, there are more negative environment impacts associated with fossil fuels, specially oil spill threat that has a devastating effect on the marine eco-system.
So, to counter all these threats, humans are now turning towards renewable energy resources, that include solar, hydro, tidal, wave and wind power. However, the transitision from fossil fuel to green energy will take some considerable amount of time and cost.
Most of the scientists agree that the easiest way to change from fossil fuel to renewable green energy is to replace coal with wind and solar power, but in that case, building a windmill or a solar power mill will cost far more, and power generated through these sources will be much slower and local as opposed to a coal powerd electric grid. On the other hand, once built the solar and wind powermill doesn’t attract much of the maintainance cost on yearly basis. These only attract minimum maintainance expenses to keep them running.
The argument from various countries, oil, gas and coal companies is that, until the green energy resources become more viable, there’s no point to switch from fossil fuel to green energy right now. Currently the world is debating on, if changing from fossil fuel to green energy is really viable enough and would it really help us to reduce the pollution level and greenhouse effect? So, here we are listing out some of the arguments from different parties.
Can renewable energy provide the needed power supply?
Those who are supporting green energy resources are saying that there’s no shortage of renewable energy. We can get the needed energy from sun, tidal power, wind and even from biomass. As per scientists, a day’s sunlight contains twice the energy we consume in a year, one just has to harness these resources to generate electricity and other needs related to power. More and more research has now made renewable energy affordable than ever, be it wind power, solar power or ethanol fuel, cost has dropped noticeably. Countries like Germany, Spain, Phillipines, China, Denmark, Brazilare already trying to generate more energy through green resources.
Those who are sceptical about using green energy as the main power resource have also some points. According to them, solar and wind energy is not consistent and due to the intermittency of sources it’s difficult to get reliable power from them. So, wind and solar energy will always need a backup of fossil fuel. According to them, getting energy from Biomass is also not so easy, as to produce very large scale biomass, each person needs 2.6 hecters of land which will help to produce enough power. So, for the 9 billion people living on the planet, we need at least 24 billion hectares of biomass plantations, where as the world’s total land area is only 13 billion hectares and forests, croplands etc. adds to another 8 billion hectares of land. So the question is how each and every human being living in the planet would be benefitted from biomass?
Renewable energy uses too much land and it also effects the ecosystem
Pro renewable energy thoughts say that land used for green energy projects like wind farms can still be used for the purpose of farming and cattle grazing. As per international experience,livestocks remains unaffected by the presence of windmills. Complaints regarding generated noise from windmill is also baseless and it was found that when local communities started getting money from the projects, the complaints dropped off quickly. As per some arguments, windmills often kill birds. However, according to pro renewable energy activists, if environmental impact assessments are conducted and the bird population patterns are assessed before construction, then these deaths could be avoided.
However, some people think that renewable energy like solar and wind energy need too much land and in the end it will produce as much energy as a small coal power plant can produce. Very large scale production of renewable energy via solar thermal located at the favourable region will attract long distance transmission. A long distance transmission will also attract power losses and and local distribution, which will be around 15 percent.
Renewable energy lacks hidden cost
A wind mill or a solar power grid can run with very less maintenance cost. To run a solar or wind mill, one just needs to maintain them if any of the parts break down. Other than normal maintenance costs, there are no such cost associated with them. Where as in case of a coal powered power mill, the cost is much higher as one have to buy the needed resources in order to run the mill.
However, the pro fossil fuel activists also have arguments, and they say that calculating the cost from renewable energy is quite difficult, as it depends on various factors such as used fuels, cost and time of building one plant, how much of time a plant operates and can it generate all the needed power in times of peak demand. According to them, fossil fuel plants such as coal or nuclear powered mills are needed to be on standby as wind mill plants and solar mill plants suffer due to intermittency problem.
So, here are some arguments that we presented in front of you, both the parties are somehow right with their own perspective. However, its on us in how we are going to find a way which will help us to get rid of pollutions and greenhouse effects. In conclusion one can say that, renewable energy can be a backup for conventional power and it will grow slowly, but for now it cannot entirely replace conventional power.