Power is integral to the development of the human civilization. It is by using vast power resources that the significant industrial advances in the world have been made possible. Traditionally, non-renewable energy sources have provided for the vast majority of the global energy needs. However, there has been a current trend of favoring renewable energy sources over the traditional non-renewable sources. Most renewable energy sources are also considered sources of clean energy.
By definition, clean energy is the forms of energy that do not produce harmful emissions when used and are therefore safe for humans and the ecosystem. The international community, led by developing nations, has embraced clean energy as the ideal power source. An emerging trend is the significant public support being given to the clean energy industry in diverse nations and this pattern is on the increase. The important focus given to renewable energy sources has made policy makers declare that we are in the clean energy era.
There are a number of significant stakeholders who are interested in clean energy development. The first is the civilian population, which relies on energy for its day-to-day activities. Citizens are keen to ensure that their future energy demands will be met. Clean energy is appealing in this aspect since it is sustainable. Clean energy makes use of renewable sources for the production of energy. These sources can be counted on to keep providing humanity with energy for an indefinite period of time.
The world currently relies primarily on non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels. These sources are projected to run out in the future. Scientists reveal that the world’s main fossil fuel reserves will be exhausted within the next 4 decades, if the current rate of consumption is maintained (Moselle 140). Clean energy is a feasible alternative that can be relied upon to power the world for centuries. Many citizens are therefore enthusiastic about clean energy since it guarantees their future energy security is guaranteed.
Governments from many nations are also concerned about clean energy and its potential to provide energy independence. Increased use of clean energy is likely to reduce the energy dependence of a country. At the present, many nations are forced to rely on the fossil fuel reserves of the oil-producing nations since they do not have their own fossil fuel reserves. This energy dependence is undesirable since it means that nations are at the mercy of the oil-rich nations for their energy needs.
The countries would suffer from an energy crisis if the oil-producers were to refuse to supply them with the oil. With clean energy, any nation can produce its own energy. Solar, wind and biomass are available in almost every country making it possible for nations to achieve energy self-reliance (Moselle 120). Environmentalists have also shown great interest in clean energy.
This interest can be attributed to the fact that clean energy has a less adverse effect on the environment. Clean energy has emerged as an important way of protecting the environment while at the same time reducing carbon emissions that have been responsible for global warming.
In my opinion, renewable energy has become popular and this trend will continue existing in the future, therefore truly ushering an era of clean energy. Presently, a number of clean-energy sources have been developed to produce energy on a commercial scale. The first is wind power, which makes use of giant wind turbines that are propelled by the wind to produce electricity (Union of concerned Scientists par. 6). The second source is solar energy and it uses various technologies to converts energy from the sun into electricity.
Clean energy is also obtained from animal waste and plant material, which are used to produce electricity. The government and the private sector are making greater investments in clean energy. Technologies for producing clean energy on a commercial scale and in an efficient manner are being developed.
With this pattern, it can be expected that in future, green power will be able to meet global energy needs. Yanosek declares that with innovative technologies, clean-energy can compete with conventional energy sources and eventually become the primary source of energy in the world (113).
The question arises whether renewable energy becoming popular is a trend or whether it is an isolated incident. The evidence would suggest that the clean energy move is a trend since it has been adopted by many nations from all over the world. The US has made major investment in its clean energy program and as a result, the amount of electricity being produced from renewable energy sources is on the rise. In the same manner, Europe has increased its dependency on clean energy over the past decade.
Germany and Denmark generate 20% and 30% of their national electricity needs from renewable sources (Union of concerned Scientists par. 8). Many Asian countries including China have also followed this trend of exploiting their renewable energy resources. The energy independence benefit provided by moving to clean-energy has encouraged many non-oil producing nations to make substantial investments in renewable energy sources.
There are a number of significant attributes of the clean energy era. The first is the increased consciousness of the impact of energy use on the environment by many civilians. In the past, people were just passive consumers of energy and they did not appreciate the impact that energy had on the environment. Today, people are more away of the impact that the various sources of energy have on the ecosystem. This increased awareness has led to a preference and more support for clean energy.
Another quality is the willingness by some consumers to pay a premium for clean energy. Since clean energy is in its developmental stage, it is more expensive than the non-renewable power. There are some consumers who are willing to buy the clean energy at a premium even though cheaper power obtained from traditional sources is available (Allen and Atkinson 83). Another defining quality of the clean energy era is the sustained for green energy policies by politicians.
The staggering growth achieved by the clean-energy industry has been fostered by government subsidies. Yanosek reveals that government stimulus programs are integral to the growth and development of clean energy (112). New technologies require massive investments before they can become self-sufficient.
The clean energy era is defined by a universal acceptance of clean energy. Countries with major differences in political systems such as the US and China all want clean energy. The developed nations and the developing nations are keen to exploit this energy in spite of their different socio-economic positions.
The conventional view about clean energy is that it is a feasible complement for non-renewable energy sources. Many people view the clean energy industry as a sector that is still in its developmental stages.
Clean energy technology is as yet inefficient and it cannot independently satisfy the global energy demands. If the global community made a sudden shift to clean energy, there would be a significant energy deficit since clean energy lacks the capacity to provide adequate power for the world.
Even with the huge investments in clean energy, these sources only contribute 4% of the total electricity needs in the US (Union of concerned Scientists par. 8). The total contributions in other countries are equally low therefore suggesting that clean energy is not a feasible replacement for non-renewable energy sources.
A more radical way to view clean energy is a feasible replacement to non-renewable energy sources. The last few decades have witnessed immense interest in clean energy from consumers and governments. Many consumers understand the merits of clean energy, including its sustainability and positive impact on the environment. The current trend shows that politicians and citizens from most industrialized countries are in support of clean energy.
Due to this support, massive investments have been made in clean-energy industries. The amount of renewable energy generated globally is rapidly expanding and this trend is likely to continue as policy makers from different countries increase investments in these sources. It can therefore be projected that clean energy will be able to replace other energy sources in a few decades.
Energy has and continues to play a major role in the development of human civilization. Non-renewable energy sources, which have served as the primary power sources up to date, are not only unsustainable but they have negative environmental impacts. These factors have encouraged the shift to clean energy sources.
Evidence suggests that in spite of the challenges being faced by clean energy sources as they try to become more conventional, there is support and willpower by citizens and governments to advance these sources. While non-renewable sources of energy continue to supply the majority of the world’s energy needs, this can be expected to change as clean-energy becomes more prevalent. It can therefore be declared that the world is moving into the clean energy era.
Allen, Adriana and Atkinson Adrian. Sustainable Urbanisation: Bridging the Green and Brown Agendas. London: UN-HABITAT, 2002. Print.
Moselle, Boaz. Harnessing Renewable Energy in Electric Power Systems: Theory, Practice, Policy. New York: Earthscan, 2010. Print.
Union of concerned Scientists. Clean Energy 101. 2013. Web.
Yanosek, Kassai. “The Crisis in Clean Energy.” Foreign Affairs 90.4 (2011): 112-120.