Green Energy Facts
Utilising green energy in our daily activities or in our industries allow us to enjoy the below advantages which will benefit us not only environmentally but also in terms of social and economic sense. Below are some summarised advantages and disadvantages of utilising green energy.
Advantages of Green Energy
Clean form of energy
There is minimal carbon footprint generated from utilising renewable sources like hydroelectric, solar and tidal energy.
What is carbon footprint?
Carbon footprint is basically an analysis of the amount of green house gases produced via activities of people. The readings are reported in terms of CO2 concentrations.
“So the lower your carbon footprint, the better it is for the environment”
Job creation in countries engaging in green energy industries for e.g. biofuels production in Brazil, and wind energy in Germany generated up to 730,000 and 100,000 jobs; and a total of >1,500,000 and >500,000 jobs worldwide in 2009.
Support from the government for people installing green energy technology in the form of tax credits and incentive programs. In United States, there are subsidies of up to 30 % of the installation costs for people installing solar energy systems for both residential and industrial areas.
Green stimulus packages, with up to 188 billion dollars in funding, were initiated worldwide since 2008 for investment and increase the capacity of green energy.
Lowering Start-up Costs
Falling prices and improvements to green energy due to technological advances. For e.g. since Dec 2009, there have been drops in the prices of solar PV modules from a high of $3.50 per watt to below $2.00 per watt; a decline of up to 50 – 60 %; reducing the price of solar panels.
Improvements in the manufacture of wind turbines for wind energy have also been improved thus reducing the noise and vibration of the blades; gearless turbine in the form of Goldwind Vensys 1.5MW is now available for industrial use.
As green technology become more affordable, people will be more willing to install and harness the advantages of green energy in their home or offices. This community effort will give rise to green commercial buildings like 60L in Australia, and shopping malls like City Square Mall in Singapore forming green districts, and to form green cities like Tianjing in China and Boston in United States.
Another good example of a holistic utilisation of green energy in conjunction with other technology is the new headquarters of the Shimizu Corporation in Japan. This green building keeps its carbon footprint low by utilising an air conditioning system that uses radiant heat.
As explained by the company, the building is kept cool by using the heat emitted by the workers. To do this, temperature of the ceiling is cooled by water hoses that run under it.The temperature is maintained at about 20 degrees, which will then absorb the heat from the people in the office via a radiant effect.
Via this system, carbon dioxide emissions is reduced by as much as 30 percent compared to a standard air conditioning unit. Other green modifications taken by the building to reduce emissions include: using only LED lighting controlled by motion sensors powered by solar energy, along with window shades that allow or reduce sunlight from entering the building.
Besides that, environmental policies like no smoking, controlled carbon emission are in place for people to adhere to in order to be more energy efficient and reduce damage and pollution to the environment. The National Geographic Greendex provides good information on green issues and how consumer behaviour and knowledge worldwide have changed pertaining to the environment over the years.
Disadvantages of Green Energy
Unable to meet consumer demands
It is difficult to generate the huge amounts of electricity that are produced by conventional fossil fuel generators using solely green technology. To solve this energy problem, presence of other technologies or alternative energy sources are still required to complement the energy generated by green sources.
Green energy especially those of renewable sources, can also be unreliable as it often relies on the weather for its power; wind turbines need wind to turn the blades while solar panels require clear skies to collect the required sunlight.
Nevertheless, the advantages of green energy still far outweigh the disadvantages and it is important that green energy be utilised in order to protect our Earth. And all this has to start with you to play that part by lowering your carbon footprint in your daily life!
(Published 17th October 2010)
(Last Updated 16th May 2015)