CSA PAKISTAN

The development of renewable energy technologies: paving the way for a sustainable future

Author: Qudrat Ullah

Department of Environmental sciences, Government College University Faisalabad.

Introduction

The world is currently facing two major challenges: climate change and energy security. Both of these challenges are closely related, as the primary cause of climate change is the use of fossil fuels for energy, which are also a finite resource. Renewable energy technologies offer a solution to both of these challenges by providing a sustainable and environmentally friendly source of energy (Muller-Kraenner, 2018; Poizot & Dolhem, 2011).

In this blog, we will explore the development of renewable energy technologies and their potential to pave the way for a sustainable future.

The history of renewable energy technologies

The use of renewable energy dates back to ancient times, where wind and water were used to power mills for grinding grain and other agricultural products. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that renewable energy technologies started to become more widespread (Pandey & Karki, 2016; Reiche, 2010).

The first major breakthrough came in the form of hydropower, which began to be used to generate electricity in the early 20th century. This was followed by the development of wind turbines in the 1970s and the use of solar panels for electricity generation in the 1980s (Gipe & Möllerström, 2023; Lindström & Ruud, 2017).

In recent years, the development of renewable energy technologies has accelerated, driven by concerns over climate change and the need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Today, a wide range of renewable energy technologies are available, including wind power, solar power, hydropower, geothermal power, and bioenergy (Evans, Strezov, & Evans, 2009).

The benefits of renewable energy technologies

Renewable energy technologies offer a wide range of benefits over fossil fuels. First and foremost, they are sustainable and environmentally friendly, as they do not emit greenhouse gases or other pollutants. This means that they can help to mitigate climate change and improve air quality (Herzog, Lipman, Edwards, & Kammen, 2001; Rej et al., 2022).

Secondly, renewable energy technologies offer a reliable and secure source of energy, as they do not rely on finite resources that are subject to price fluctuations and geopolitical tensions. This can help to improve energy security and reduce the risk of supply disruptions (Månsson, 2015).

Finally, renewable energy technologies can help to create new jobs and economic opportunities, as the development and deployment of these technologies require skilled workers and investment.

The challenges facing renewable energy technologies

While renewable energy technologies offer many benefits, they also face a number of challenges that must be overcome in order to achieve widespread adoption.

One of the biggest challenges is cost. While the cost of renewable energy technologies has come down significantly in recent years, they are still often more expensive than fossil fuels. This can make it difficult for renewable energy technologies to compete in the market, particularly in areas where fossil fuels are heavily subsidized (Eltawil, Zhengming, & Yuan, 2009).

Another challenge is intermittency. Unlike fossil fuels, which can be used on demand, renewable energy technologies are often dependent on weather conditions and other factors that can affect their output. This can make it difficult to integrate renewable energy technologies into the grid and ensure a reliable and consistent supply of energy (Ahmed, Sreeram, Mishra, & Arif, 2020).

Finally, there are also infrastructure challenges, as the deployment of renewable energy technologies often requires new infrastructure and transmission lines. This can be expensive and can also face opposition from local communities.

Conclusion

The development of renewable energy technologies offers a promising solution to the challenges of climate change and energy security. While there are still many challenges to overcome, the benefits of renewable energy technologies are clear. By continuing to invest in and develop these technologies, we can pave the way for a sustainable future that is both environmentally friendly and economically prosperous.

References:

Ahmed, R., Sreeram, V., Mishra, Y., & Arif, M. (2020). A review and evaluation of the state-of-the-art in PV solar power forecasting: Techniques and optimization. Renewable and sustainable energy reviews, 124, 109792.

Eltawil, M. A., Zhengming, Z., & Yuan, L. (2009). A review of renewable energy technologies integrated with desalination systems. Renewable and sustainable energy reviews, 13(9), 2245-2262.

Evans, A., Strezov, V., & Evans, T. J. (2009). Assessment of sustainability indicators for renewable energy technologies. Renewable and sustainable energy reviews, 13(5), 1082-1088.

Gipe, P., & Möllerström, E. (2023). An overview of the history of wind turbine development: Part II–The 1970s onward. Wind Engineering, 47(1), 220-248.

Herzog, A. V., Lipman, T. E., Edwards, J. L., & Kammen, D. M. (2001). Renewable energy: a viable choice. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 43(10), 8-20.

Lindström, A., & Ruud, A. (2017). Whose hydropower? From conflictual management into an era of reconciling environmental concerns; a retake of hydropower governance towards win-win solutions? Sustainability, 9(7), 1262.

Månsson, A. (2015). A resource curse for renewables? Conflict and cooperation in the renewable energy sector. Energy research & social science, 10, 1-9.

Muller-Kraenner, S. (2018). Energy security: Routledge.

Pandey, B., & Karki, A. (2016). Hydroelectric energy: renewable energy and the environment: CRC Press.

Poizot, P., & Dolhem, F. (2011). Clean energy new deal for a sustainable world: from non-CO 2 generating energy sources to greener electrochemical storage devices. Energy & Environmental Science, 4(6), 2003-2019.

Reiche, D. (2010). Renewable energy policies in the Gulf countries: A case study of the carbon-neutral “Masdar City” in Abu Dhabi. Energy policy, 38(1), 378-382.

Rej, S., Bandyopadhyay, A., Das, N., Hossain, M. E., Islam, M. S., Bera, P., & Yeediballi, T. (2022). The asymmetric influence of environmental-related technological innovation on climate change mitigation: what role do FDI and renewable energy play? Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 1-16.