By Purna N. Ranjitkar
Renewable energy comes from sources or processes that are constantly replenished. These sources of energy include solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, and hydroelectric power.
Renewable sources are often associated with green energy and clean energy, but there are some subtle differences between these three energy types. Where renewable sources are those that are recyclable, clean energy are those that do not release pollutants like carbon dioxide, and green energy is that which comes from natural sources. While there is often cross-over between these energy types, not all types of renewable energy are actually fully clean or green. For example, some hydroelectric sources can actually damage natural habitats and cause deforestation.
Renewable energy, clean energy, sustainable energy green energy are the terminologies stand with similarities and differences which may be interesting for serious people and must to know as well.
Clean energy is energy that comes from renewable, zero emission sources that do not pollute the atmosphere when used, as well as energy saved by energy efficiency measures.
Sustainable energy can be defined as a form of energy that can be utilized again and again without putting a source in danger of getting depleted, expired, or vanished.
Green energy is energy that comes from natural resources like water, wind and sun, which provide the energy we turn into electricity. Since the colour green is often associated with health, nature and sustainability, so it makes sense that renewable energy is related to the colour that embodies nature. Thus green energy includes Solar energy, Wind energy, Hydropower, Biomass and Geothermal mainly.
Staying aside fossil fuel generated energy, we have to think on different type of energy technologies which generate energy but without hampering natural setting of environment and any damage to ecology while socio-economic and cultural values are well thought for preservation and conservation.
Climate experts are saying that fossil fuel is one major cause of increasing level of climate change in the world. That means the Earth is getting warmed sooner than expected. Thus, use of fossil fuel should be stopped, if not, reduce it where renewable energy technologies can replace the use of fossil fuel. Similarly, experts admit use of renewable energy provides other socio-economic benefits as well.
Generation of energy form renewable technologies is increasing day by day. Innovations of RETs are making cost of energy generation efficient and cheaper as well. Scopes and promises for generation and consumption patter are deepening and widening too. Industries, motilities, residential uses are now going to renewable energy.
Sustainable Energy for All, Sustainable Development Goals are the most accepted, appreciated and followed global campaigns for more than a decade which connect seriously to RETs. So as, 100% Renewable Energy and Net Zero Emission are the newly introduced global ‘guidelines’ for maximum use of RETs and phase out fossil fuels as soon as possible to help stop increasing temperature of the Earth.
In the present critical context, the world community belongs to any part of the world and any caste or creed have to take seriously the report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued on August 9 which strongly warns the world community to act urgently and without any delay.
The report says, renewable energy sources play a role in providing energy services in a sustainable manner and, in particular, in mitigating climate change. This Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation explores the current contribution and potential of renewable energy (RE) sources to provide energy services for a sustainable social and economic development path. It includes assessments of available RE resources and technologies, costs and co-benefits, barriers to up-scaling and integration requirements, future scenarios and policy options.
Moreover, Fossil Fuel Non-proliferation Treaty (FFNPT) movement is another global movement initiated by a coalition of academics, lawyers and activists. It’s modelled on the landmark UN Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons agreed in the 1960s, and is built around the same three pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful use. The fossil fuel treaty would prevent new exploration and production, phase out existing stockpiles, fast track the transfer of clean energy to poorer nations, enable a just transition for workers and communities, and support economic diversification in countries still dependent on fossil fuels.
In Nepal’s context, renewable energy in the form of clean energy, sustainable energy, green energy or by any other suitable name is the only solution for energy needs. All fossil fuels needed are imported by paying a lot of money is a huge burden for the country. Likewise, pollution generated by using of fossil fuels need to be reduced to zero, if possible soon. A number of policies and plans have been formulated to rapid development of renewable energy technologies. Research work being carried out on Hydrogen Fuel in the Kathmandu University may be taken as a part. Presently Nepal is generating nearly 2,000 Megawatt of hydropower at installed capacity and Solar PV farms are generating nearly 25 Megawatt of electricity in the sunshine hours. The country will be generating 15,000 Megawatt of electricity by 2030. Some 10 to 15 per cent of electricity generated will other than hydropower technologies as energy mix. Thus, electricity as non-fossil fuel energy will be the source of energy for industries, motilities, residential and other uses. The country has to go with RETs not only for the climate change issues or environmental issues but also need to stop importing fossil fuel (allowing minimal for most specific uses) to narrow the trade deficit.