Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development: Challenges and Future Prospects

The world relies heavily on fossil fuels to meet the energy demands. Since these resources are finite, these will dwindle and eventually run out. A shift to renewable energy sources has to be made since these resources can be replenished quite easily and, in fact, will never run out. A big plus of using renewable energy is that these are clean energy sources and are not environmentally damaging. In contrast, fossil-fuels are detrimental to the environment releasing massive amounts of greenhouse gases, and contributing to global warming and climate change. Solar energy is the most abundant and cleanest renewable energy source. On its own, solar energy can meet the requirements of the world. Wind energy is another renewable energy resource which is virtually inexhaustible and depends on the kinetic energy of the wind. These resources have almost zero impact on the environment but do suffer from some disadvantages, the major one being the initial cost of instalment. Apart from this, solar power generation on a commercial scale requires quite a lot of space and wind sites are often found in remote locations. Some of these shortcomings prove detrimental to the convenience of renewable energy utilization. In spite of these drawbacks, every year, a greater fraction of our energy and electricity demands are being met by renewable energy.

"Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."*

Development in such a manner which confers harmony among our social, economic and environmental needs is sustainable development. A harmony has been so difficult to achieve since most of these needs are conflicting with one or another requirement. The concept is quite complex and an array of strategies are required to lead to a sustainable future. With climate change in perspective, it is absolutely imperative  to change our individual and collective behaviours to implement a sustainable society paying increasingly greater heed to preserving our natural environment and its biodiversity,  saving renewable and non renewable natural resources and restoring degraded areas like forests that are the Earth’s green lungs. In addition, cleaner fossil-fuel technologies are required besides a decreasing reliance on fossil-fuels; there needs to be a more enthusiastic approach on renewable energy generation and energy efficiency. With the human population ever swelling, sustainable agricultural practices need to be promoted, which not only help to combat climate change and loss of biodiversity, but also progressively improve the ecosystems and soil quality. Sustainable industrialization should be promoted with energy efficient infrastructure environmentally friendly practices. Global climate change should be promoted in national and international policies and strategies.

  • Solar and Wind Energy
  • Wave and tidal energy
  • Geothermal Energy
  • Bioenergy
  • Current inadequacy of renewable energy
  • Sustainable Transport and Energy
  • Sustainable Land Management and Smart Cities

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