The earth faces an undisputed global challenge of reducing fossil fuel consumption and increasing renewable energy use. Renewable energy is produced from natural sources such as sunlight, wind, geothermal energy, hydroelectric power, biomass, wave and tide. These energy sources are widely available, naturally replenished, and have a lower environmental impact. Utilizing renewable energy sources effectively and efficiently is vital for sustainable living and a vibrant future.
Renewable energy for a sustainable future has become a global agenda. A country’s investment in renewable power will create inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the current scenario. The increased production and development of green energy models have shown potential local economic progression, a cleaner environment, and social inclusiveness. Similarly, the concept of efficient energy consumption and a more significant share of green energy can improve economic growth and contribute to sustainable renewable energy use.
According to IEA (2021) report, the yearly renewable power additions was 280GW in 2020. Similarly, it is expected almost the same renewable capacity will be added in 2021 and 2022 also. In recent years, solar PV power has become the cost-effective option among all renewables in many countries like China, the United States, India, Australia, and Europe. Similarly, wind power technology is dominated in China, the Netherlands, France, Denmark, Germany, and United Kingdom. Moreover, biofuels are prevalent in the United States, Brazil, and Indonesia.
Image source: IEA (2021)
Looking at the example of Europeans, 2019 was a good year for the solar industry in Europe because solar generation capacity more than doubled compared to 2018, which is the most significant jump in a decade. Similarly, the other vital renewable source is sustainably sourced bioenergy and advanced liquid biofuel, which contribute to green energy transformation. IRENA (2019) predicted that by 2050, renewables would contribute 86% of the total electricity generation; solar and wind would contribute 60% of the total renewables.
More importantly, the successful deployment of any renewables requires national and international coordination, a substantial increase in investment mainly in research and development, infrastructure development, energy flexibility, and energy efficiency. Sustainable renewable energy includes efficient use, energy mix, energy access, energy policy, and smart grid system. As soon as the cost-effective and improved green power technologies start to develop, the demand for the renewables market will increase.
It is crucial to address the challenges created by the production of much fluctuating renewable energy. This can be solved by developing a more significant share of distributed energy sources through digitally smart-grid systems and flexible energy methods. Also, by reducing energy consumption and enhancing energy efficiency, energy security can be improved.
The very dependence on fossil fuels has resulted in the overuse and exploitation of the natural environment. As a result, global warming has altered our ecosystem and displaced human settlements, and it is a threat to a sustainable livelihood. The extreme weather conditions have affected many countries with drought, floods and heatwaves. The decarbonization strategy has been implemented in countries like Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland to eliminate the financial subsidies to consumers and impose a tax on fossil fuel users to reduce carbon emissions.
Sustainability is a process or a state that can be maintained at a certain level for an indefinite amount of time. This means using the resources and serving the environment in a way that benefits us now and into the future. Fossil fuels have served humankind for a long time, but they won’t last for eternity and are not sustainable. The burning of fuels has increased the pollution and risks of global warming. This is where green energy comes in. For sustainability, the resources should be used in moderation. But there is the prospect of improved public health and decreased pollution when sources of green energy are used. The three parameters determine the sustainability of renewable energy.
Environmental Sustainability: During the energy production and consumption process, the environmental impact of renewables must be minimized. According to the IRENA (2019) report, coupling low-cost green energy and end-use electrification significantly reduces energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.
Economic Sustainability: In the current situation, using most renewables is still expensive in many parts of the world. However, the price of solar and wind technology has dropped significantly in the last few years. This has become possible due to the significant investments in research and development, technological development, automation process, and subsidization. In the future, we can expect cheaper and reliable renewable energy.
Social Sustainability: Until now, it has been overshadowed by the other two sustainability parameters. The role of the social dimension is essential for a sustainable renewable energy supply chain as the social culture and characteristics structurally affect the sustainability of renewables. The social dimension entails both positive and negative impacts of the renewables supply chain on people such as customers, employees, workers, and local communities and vice-versa.
With social impact, improved economic and technical aspects of green energy include the lower cost of operation and advanced technological innovations that contribute to the overall sustainable future.
Conclusion: Renewable energy has shown promising results for a brighter future for humans. The utilization of renewable energy sources has shown a more negligible effect on global warming, climate change, pollution, and degradation of air quality. Therefore, Green energy is a clean energy source.
Energy-mix and energy-efficiency measure, the smart-grid method would contribute to the sustainable energy supply in the future. Therefore, the renewable energy transition lowers energy costs, accelerates economic growth, boosts energy security, and reduces air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
The social benefits that people cater with, global peace, environmental impact and the higher standard of living with clean air and environment brings about the importance of green energy. The overall increase in green energy and technology utilization brings economic, social, and environmental benefits, ultimately contributing to sustainable living and a vibrant future.