Green Energy Facts

Utilising green energy in our daily activities or industries allow us to enjoy the below advantages that are not only beneficial to the environment, but also socially and economically.

The disadvantages that comes along with the generation or usage of green energy are also included below.

Advantages of Green Energy

Clean form of energy

There is minimal carbon footprint from utilising energy generated from renewable sources like water, solar and wind.

What is carbon footprint?

Carbon footprint is an analysis of the amount of green house gases (GHG) produced via anthropogenic activities reported as CO2 concentrations.

“So the lower your carbon footprint, the better for the environment” 

Job Creation

In 2018, 11 million people were employed in renewable energy industries. This was an increase from 10.3 million back in 2017. Among the industries, the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry remains the top employer, accounting for one third of the total employed labor force (Fig.1). However, despite retaining the top spot, PV employment only expanded only in India, Southeast Asia and Brazil. For other countries like United States, China, Japan and the European Union, there were jobs loss[4].

This was followed by biofuel jobs, with a 6% increase from 2017 to 2.1 million jobs in 2018. Wind power jobs remains almost unchanged with 1.2 million jobs that are dominated by onshore projects[4].


irena_jobscreation
Fig.1-Proportion of jobs in renewable industries from Y2012 to Y2018 (Source: https://www.irena.org/benefits/Job-Creation, accessed 17/01/2021)

Incentives

Support from the government for people installing green energy technology or purchasing electricity generated via renewable sources. This is offered in the form of tax credits and incentive programs. In the United States, tax credits of up to 30% per installation cost incurred for a PV system to harness solar energy for both residential and industrial areas.[3]

Note that this criterion is only applicable to systems installed before December 31, 2019. For subsequent installations like those in 2020, it will decrease to 26% and to 22% for installations done in 2021, pending renewal by Congress[3].

Wind turbines at work

Lowering Start-up Costs

Solar and wind power costs fell during the period of 2010-2019; PV have the sharpest decline at 82%, concentrating solar power (CSP) at 47%; onshore wind at 40% and offshore wind at 29%. Costs of large-scale generation of electricity from solar PV fell 13% year-on-year to seven cents (USD 0.068) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 2019. A 9% year-on-year decline was observed for newly commissioned onshore and offshore wind projects to USD 0.053/kWh and USD 0.115/kWh respectively. For CSP, the costs fell 1% to USD 0.182/kWh[5].

Besides government incentives, another factor that contributed to lowering of costs include engineering advances like improvement in efficiencies of PV[1], and usage of lesser materials[2] for constructing wind turbines. This cumulates to a drop in the individual installation costs of solar panels or wind turbines.

Glass Panels in City Square Mall

This increasing affordability of green energy also lead to a willingness in incorporating the advantages of green energy in home or office environment. Green commercial buildings like 60L in Australia, and shopping malls like City Square Mall in Singapore have been built.

For example, City Square Mall has a glass roof that allows natural daylight to come in minimising the amount of electrical illumination. At the same time, light sensors installed at the roof, working in conjunction with the available natural light, controls the electrical illumination in the mall. On a larger scale, green eco-cities like Tianjing in China and Boston in the United States seek to reduce their carbon footprint by adopting greener measures like utilising natural gas as a heating source and more non-motorised transports.

Disadvantages of Green Energy

Unable to meet consumer demands

It is difficult to generate the huge amounts of electricity produced by conventional fossil fuel generators using solely green technology. To solve this problem, alternative energy sources can be considered as a replacement or complementary source.

Reliability Issues

Renewable green energy can be unreliable as it relies on weather to generate power; wind is needed to turn the wind turbine blades while solar panels require clear skies to capture the sunlight.

Conclusion

The advantages of green energy far outweigh their disadvantages. So it is important that green energy be utilised when possible to protect our Earth. Everybody can play this role by just lowering our daily carbon footprint!

References

  1. ^Barron., A.R. (2015). Cost reduction in the solar industry. Materials Today. 18:1-3.
  2. ^Elia., A., Taylor., M., Gallachoir., BO., et el. (2020). Wind turbine cost reduction: A detailed bottom-up analysis of innovation drivers. Energy Policy. 111912. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2020.111912
  3. ^https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/renewable-sources/incentives.php
  4. ^https://www.irena.org/benefits/Job-Creation
  5. ^https://www.irena.org/publications/2020/Jun/Renewable-Power-Costs-in-2019

Wilson Yeo

I am the admin of Green Energy Helps and I possess a keen interest in how green energy and how leading a green lifestyle can help to reduce our individual carbon footprints. From my website, I will provide useful information about green energy and tips that allow you to leave the green way. Besides that, I will provide unbiased reviews about green products and whether they are suitable for you!

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