With the world becoming more dependent on sustainable energy sources, particularly solar power, it is important to understand the impact of the energy we use and produce. In 2015, the world generated 14.7 million tonnes of crude oil, which was sufficient to meet 89.8% of global oil demand – the highest share since 2005.
This was due to increased investment in sustainable energy and low prices for solar and wind power. The price of crude oil dropped by 42% between 2014 and 2018, making it one of the cheapest energy sources available.
In general, oil provides the most convenient and versatile form of energy for modern life. However, as the world becomes more energy-conscious, more people are looking to reduce their carbon footprint. In addition to solar power, which does not emit any carbon while generating energy, other sustainable energy sources such as wind power and biomass energy can reduce a person’s carbon footprint.
Solar power provides a straightforward solution with practically no carbon emissions while generating clean energy. In 2015, solar power generated 14.7 million tonnes of crude oil, which was sufficient to meet 89.8% of global oil demand. This is a significant decrease from the 38.5 million tonnes of crude oil that solar power generated in 2005. Wind power and biomass energy are also carbon-free forms of energy, with biomass energy creating the possibility of a self-sustaining eco-system. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and, in turn, fuel our environment with oxygen and other nutrients needed for plant life. Rainforests and other biomass energy plants greatly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in our environment, providing a beneficial role in combating climate change.
The chart below shows the historical developments of crude oil prices and solar power generation. One can clearly see how solar power generation has increased as prices of crude oil have decreased. The yellow area indicates where solar power generation is available, with the darker area showing the amount of energy that can be generated. The price of crude oil has declined by 56% between 2012 and 2018, making it one of the most affordable and reliable energy sources available.
The price of solar power has followed this trend and has decreased by 66% between 2010 and 2017, with the cost of a megawatt hour sitting at around $0.05-$0.20 in 2017 depending on the region and size of the system. This makes solar power more affordable for businesses and individuals to generate their own energy – a trend that will continue as fossil fuels become more expensive.
The Rise Of Renewable Energy
The development of sustainable energy began in earnest in the early 1900s with the formation of the Solar Energy Society in America. Interest in alternative sources of energy grew after the release of Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, in 2006, which highlighted climate change and the role that fossil fuels play in causing it. Since then, many high-profile figures have spoken out about the need to move away from fossil fuels, particularly towards more sustainable energy sources.
This shift is already being felt, with investment in renewable energy reaching nearly $70 billion in 2018, a 27% increase from 2017. This is probably due to the increasing threat of climate change and the need to reduce our carbon footprint – something that renewable energy provides. In the coming years, the development and use of renewable energy is expected to grow as more and more individuals and businesses realise the benefits of going green.
Renewable energy offers many advantages. Not only does it not emit any carbon while producing energy, but it is also sustainable, environmentally-friendly and secure in terms of energy supply. In other words, there are no fuel costs or fluctuations in energy prices, which makes it ideal for use in remote or rural areas where the infrastructure for traditional energy sources may not be available.
Wind power is another popular and effective form of renewable energy, capable of generating electricity 24/7 with no carbon emissions. Like solar power, wind power is a clean and affordable energy source that can be used throughout the world. It is highly effective at reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and combatting climate change.
A Major Contributor To Energy Security
Sustainable energy is important for many reasons, particularly in terms of decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels and reducing our carbon footprint. However, there are also major security concerns that arise from our increasing dependence on fossil fuels. The most notable event was the September 11 attacks, when five individuals flew a Boeing 767 into the Pentagon, killing 12 people and injuring a further 260. The attacks were carried out by terrorists who hijacked the plane, but questions remain as to whether or not they were financially motivated.
Since the September 11 attacks, there have been concerns about the security of our energy supplies. With the world’s major powers jostling for energy influence, there is a real danger that fuel shortages could occur, as foreign powers try to influence domestic energy policies. This kind of brinkmanship has led to a dangerous cycle, as energy security is heavily tied to economic security and the security of energy supplies greatly impacts the global economy. This is one of the primary reasons why sustainable energy sources are so important.
While many governments and major industries have recognised the significance of renewable energy and started to invest in it, more needs to be done. Despite all the benefits that renewable energy provides, it still needs to reach certain levels of penetration to have a noticeable impact on our energy security. This means there is still a long way to go before we can truly say that sustainable energy is safe and secure.
The world is in the midst of a fundamental transformation when it comes to energy. Our reliance on fossil fuels is decreasing as more and more individuals and businesses are realising the harm that it causes. As the world turns away from fossil fuels, more and more people are turning to renewable energy. This trend is being felt across all industries and areas of life, with individuals and businesses taking the initiative to become more eco-friendly and sustainable. In the coming years, renewable energy is expected to play a major role in powering our world.