Renewables Market in MENA

MENA region has an attractive market for renewables due to abundant availability of solar and wind resources. According to a recent IRENA report, the region is anticipating renewable energy investment of $35 billion per year by 2020. Recently, the MENA region has received some of the lowest renewable energy prices awarded globally for solar PV and wind energy.

mena-renewables

Regional Developments

Among MENA countries, Morocco has emerged as a role model for the entire region. The government’s target of 2GW of solar and 2GW of wind power by 2020 is progressing smoothly with the commissioning of Nour-1 Solar project. Jordan and Egypt are also making steady progress in renewable energy sector.

As far as GCC is concerned, the UAE has also shown serious commitment to develop solar energy. The 100MW Shams CSP plant has been operational since 2014 in Abu Dhabi while 13MW Phase I of Dubai’s solar park was completed in 2013. In Saudi Arabia, the newly launched Vision 2030 document has put forward a strong regulatory and investment framework to develop Saudi clean energy sector which should catalyse renewable energy development in the country.

Renewables – A boon for MENA

Renewable energy has multiple advantages for MENA in the form of energy security, improved air quality, reduced GHG emissions, employment opportunities, apart from augmenting water and food security.

The business case for renewable energy proliferation in MENA is strengthened by plentiful availability of natural energy resources and tumbling solar PV technology costs which are leading to record low renewable power generation costs. The recent auction for the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park 2 in Dubai yielded prices as low as 5.85 US cents per kWh which is one of the lowest worldwide.

Impact of Falling Costs

The falling costs will have a significant positive impact in the developing world where tens of millions of people still lack access to cheap and reliable supply of energy. Reducing costs will help MENA, especially GCC, to meet its target of steady transition towards renewable energy and thus reducing dependence on fossil fuels for power generation and seawater desalination.

The slump in renewable energy tariffs will also encourage utility companies in emerging markets to include more renewable energy in transmission and meet the targets set by respective countries. However, it should also be noted that there have been several instances where the actual renewable energy production failed to take place because of low bids.

Emerging Trends

Off-grid renewable energy technologies have tremendous potential to popularize clean energy among remote and marginalized communities across the world. Access to clean, reliable and relatively cheap energy from renewable resources, especially solar power, will usher in a new era in developing countries. Off-grid (or standalone) renewable power systems are already making a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of people across the developing world.

In recent years, Morocco has made remarkably swift progress in renewable energy sector.

In recent years, Morocco has made remarkably swift progress in renewable energy sector.

Advancements in battery energy storage have pushed this particular sector into media as well as public spotlight. With big industry names like Tesla and Nissan leading from the front, energy storage technologies are expected to make great contribution in transition to green grid powered by intermittent energy sources like solar PV, CSP, wind and biomass.

Concentrated solar power (CSP) has the potential to transform seawater desalination industry, one of the largest energy consumers in the Middle East. CSP offers an attractive option to power industrial-scale desalination plants that require both high temperature fluids and electricity.  CSP can provide stable energy supply for continuous operation of desalination plants, based on thermal or membrane processes. Leading CSP technology companies are already taking a keen interest in Middle East CSP market and rapid developments are expected in the coming years.

Key Hurdles to Overcome

Lack of strong regulatory framework, low renewable energy tariffs and weak off-take mechanisms are some of the issues confronting renewable energy projects in MENA. Regulatory framework in the GCC is in early stages and marred by heavy subsidy for oil and gas. The largest barrier to growth of solar sector in MENA has been the lack of renewable energy policy framework, legislations, institutional support, feed-in-tariffs and grid access.

The power sector in MENA is, by and large, dominated by state utilities which discourage entrepreneurs and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to enter the local markets. Lack of open and transparent market conditions in MENA are acting as deterrent for investors, technology companies and project developers.

Among regional countries, Jordan and Morocco have the most advanced legal infrastructure in place to support renewable energy projects, followed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Tips for New Entrants

MENA solar market is complex due to different electricity market structure and myriad challenges in each country. Different countries have different motivations for renewable energy. Solar companies who want to foray in MENA market must give special attention to land access, grid access, transparent licensing schemes, high-quality meteorological data, creditworthy customers, long-term off-take contracts, soiling of PV panels and related issues.

Biomass Energy in Nigeria: An Overview

Oil and gas accounts for over 70% of energy consumed in Nigeria, according to the World Bank. Considering this dependency on fossil oil and possibility of it running out in the future, there should be an urgent intervention to look into other ways to generate energy in Nigeria. The world is moving away gradually from fossil oil and aligning towards sustainable energy resources to substitute conventional fuel, Nigeria should not be exempted from this movement. Biomass, a popular form of renewable energy, is considered as a credible and green alternative source of energy which many developed and developing countries have been maximizing to its potential.

biomass-sustainability

Power generation and supply have been inadequate in Nigeria. This inadequacy of power limits human, commercial and industrial productivity and economic growth . What is the use of infrastructure without constant electricity? Even God created light first. Sustainable and constant supply of power should be one of the priority of government in nation development. Investing in biomass energy will cause an increase in the amount of power generated in Nigeria. Infact, biomass energy has the potential to resolve the energy crisis in the country in the not so distant future.

What is Biomass

The word biomass refers to organic matter (mainly plants) which acts as a source of sustainable and renewable energy. It is a renewable energy source because the plants can be replaced as oppose to the conventional fossil fuel which is not renewable. Biomass energy is a transferred energy from the sun; plants derives energy from the sun through photosynthesis which is further transferred through the food chain to animals’ bodies and their waste.

Biomass has the potential to provide an affordable and sustainable source of energy, while at the same time help in curbing the green house effect. In India the total biomass generation capacity is 8,700 MW according to U.S. of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, whereas the generating capacity in U.S. is 20,156  MW with 178 biomass power plants, according to Biomass Magazine.

Power Sector in Nigeria

Unfortunately, the total installed electricity capacity generated in Nigeria is 12,522 MW, well below the current demand of 98,000MW . The actual output is about 3,800MW, resulting in a demand shortfall of 94,500MW throughout the country. As a result of this wide gap between demand and output, only 45% of Nigeria’s population has access to electricity. Renewable energy contributed 19% of total electricity generated in Nigeria out of which biomass contribution is infinitesimal.

Electricity generation for Nigeria’s grid is largely dominated by two sources; non-renewable thermal (natural gas and coal) and renewable (hydro). Nigeria depends on non-renewable energy despite its vast potential in renewable sources such as solar, wind, biomass and hydro. The total potential of these renewables is estimated at over 68,000MW, which is more than five times the current power output.

Biomass Resources in Nigeria

Biomass can come in different forms like wood and wood waste, agriculture produce and waste, solid waste.

1. Wood

Electricity can be generated with wood and wood product/waste(like sawdust) in modern day through cogeneration, gasification or pyrolysis.

2. Agriculture Residues

In Nigeria, agricultural residues are highly important sources of biomass fuels for both the domestic and industrial sectors. Availability of primary residues for energy application is usually low since collection is difficult and they have other uses as fertilizer, animal feed etc.

However secondary residues are usually available in relatively large quantities at the processing site and may be used as captive energy source for the same processing plant involving minimal transportation and handling cost.

3. Municipal Solid Waste

Back then in secondary school, I learnt that gas could be tapped from septic tank which could further be used for cooking.  Any organic waste (like animal waste, human waste) when decomposed by anaerobic microorganisms releases biogas which can be tapped and stored for either cooking or to generate electricity.

Biomass can be used to provide heat and electricity as well as biofuel and biogas for transport. There are enough biomass capacity to meet our demand for electricity and other purposes. From climatic point of view, there is a warm climate in Nigeria which is a good breeding ground for bacteria to grow and decompose the wastes. There are plant and animal growth all year round which in turn create waste and consequently produce biomass.

In November 2016, The Ebonyi State Government  took over  the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) demonstration biomass gasifier power plant located at the UNIDO Mini -industrial cluster in Ekwashi Ngbo in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the State. The power plant is to generate 5.5 Megawatt energy using rice husk and other available waste materials available. More of these type of power plants and commitment are needed to utilize the potential of biomass fully.

Why Biomass Energy?

Since biomass makes use of waste to supply energy, it helps in waste management. It also has the potential to supply more energy (10 times) than the one produced from sun and wind. Biomass energy in Nigeria will lead to increase in revenue generation and conserves our foreign exchange. Increase in energy generation will yield more productivity for industries and the rate at which they are shutting down due to the fact that they spend more on power will be reduced to minimal.

Many local factories/companies will spring up and foreign investors will be eager to invest in Nigeria with little concern about power. Establishment of biopower plants will surely create more jobs and indirectly reduce the number of people living in poverty which is increasing everyday at an alarming rate.

Africa’s most populous country needs more than 10 times its current electricity output to guarantee supply for its 198 million people – nearly half of whom have no access at all, according to power minister Babatunde Fashola. Biomass energy potential in Nigeria is promising –  with heavy investment, stake holder cooperation and development of indigenous technologies. The deployment of large-scale biomass energy systems will not only significantly increase Nigeria’s electricity capacity but also ease power shortages in the country.

Why Energy Access to Refugees Matters?

There is a strong link between the serious humanitarian situation of refugees and lack of access to sustainable energy resources. According to a 2019 UNCHR report, there are more than 80 million displaced people around the world, the highest level of human displacement ever documented. Access to clean and affordable energy is a prerequisite for sustainable development of mankind, and refugees are no exception. Needless to say, almost all refugee camps are plagued by fuel poverty and urgent measure are required to make camps livable.

refugee-camp-energy

Usually the tragedy of displaced people doesn’t end at the refugee camp, rather it is a continuous exercise where securing clean, affordable and sustainable energy is a major concern. Although humanitarian agencies are providing food like grains, rice and wheat; yet food must be cooked before serving.

Severe lack of modern cook stoves and access to clean fuel is a daily struggle for displaced people around the world. This article will shed some light on the current situation of energy access challenges being faced by displaced people in refugee camps.

Why Energy Access Matters?

Energy is the lifeline of our modern society and an enabler for economic development and advancement. Without safe and reliable access to energy, it is really difficult to meet basic human needs.

Energy access is a challenge that touches every aspect of the lives of refugees and negatively impacts health, limits educational and economic opportunities, degrades the environment and promotes gender discrimination issues. Lack of energy access in refugee camps areas leads to energy poverty and worsen humanitarian conditions for vulnerable communities and groups.

Energy Access for Cooking

Refugee camps receive food aid from humanitarian agencies yet this food needs to be cooked before consumption. Thus, displaced people especially women and children take the responsibility of collecting firewood, biomass from areas around the camp. However, this expose women and minors to threats like sexual harassments, danger, death and children miss their opportunity for education. Moreover, depleting woods resources cause environmental degradation and spread deforestation which contributes to climate change. Moreover, cooking with wood affects the health of displaced people.

Access to efficient and modern cook stove is a primary solution to prevent health risks, save time and money, reduce human labour and combat climate change. However, humanitarian agencies and host countries can aid camp refugees in providing clean fuel for cooking because displaced people usually live below poverty level and often host countries can’t afford connecting the camp to the main grid.

So, the issue of energy access is a challenge that requires immediate and practical solutions. A transition to sustainable energy is an advantage that will help displaced people, host countries and the environment.

Energy Access for Lighting

Lighting is considered as a major concern among refugees in their temporary homes or camps. In the camps life almost stops completely after sunset which delays activities, work and studying only during day time hours.

Talking about two vulnerable groups in the refugees’ camps “women and children” for example, children’s right of education is reduced as they have fewer time to study and do homework. For women and girls, not having light means that they are subject to sexual violence and kidnapped especially when they go to public restrooms or collect fire woods away from their accommodations.

Rationale For Sustainable Solutions

Temporary solutions won’t yield results for displaced people as their reallocation, often described as “temporary”, often exceeds 20 years. Sustainable energy access for refugees is the answer to alleviate their dire humanitarian situation. It will have huge positive impacts on displaced people’s lives and well-being, preserve the environment and support host communities in saving fuel costs.

Also, humanitarian agencies should work away a way from business as usual approach in providing aid, to be more innovative and work for practical sustainable solutions when tackling energy access challenge for refugee camps.

UN SDG 7 – Energy Access

The new UN SDG7 aims to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”. SDG 7 is a powerful tool to ensure that displaced people are not left behind when it comes to energy access rights. SDG7 implies on four dimensions: affordability, reliability, sustainability and modernity. They support and complete the aim of SDG7 to bring energy and lightening to empower all human around the world.

All the four dimensions of the SDG7 are the day to day challenges facing displaced people. The lack of modern fuels and heavy reliance on primitive sources, such as wood and animal dung leads to indoor air pollution.

Energy access touches every aspect of life in refugee camps

Energy access touches every aspect of life in refugee camps

For millions of people worldwide, life in refugee camps is a stark reality. Affordability is of concern for displaced people as most people flee their home countries with minimum possessions and belongings so they rely on host countries and international humanitarian agencies on providing subsidized fuel for cooking and lightening.

In some places, host countries are itself on a natural resources stress to provide electricity for people and refugees are left behind with no energy access resources. However, affordability is of no use if the energy provision is not reliable (means energy supply is intermittent).

Parting Shot

Displaced people need a steady supply of energy for their sustenance and economic development. As for the sustainability provision, energy should produce a consistent stream of power to satisfy basic needs of the displaced people.

The sustained power stream should be greater than the resulted waste and pollution which means that upgrading the primitive fuel sources used inside the camp area to the one of modern energy sources like solar energy, wind power, biogas and other off-grid technologies.

For more insights please also read this article Renewable Energy in Refugee Camps 

What Determines the Price of Home Solar Panel Installation?

People are leaning toward installing solar panels to have a “green” source of energy that would eventually cost them nothing. However, the price point is one of the major concerns that worry homeowners. People feel more inclined to check the price tag on solar panels to decide whether they are going to go for them or not. Just like any renewable source of energy, the initial cost may sound very expensive, however, afterwards, the fuel price comes down to zero. The average cost swings between $15k and $25k, this gap in the range of prices depend mainly on the solar panel size.

But other than the size of solar panels, what other factors affect the price of home solar panel installation?

1. The Size Of Solar Panels

The cost of solar panels is calculated by dollar per watt depending on how much electricity you need to generate. A bigger system requires more work to install and that’s how the size affects the cost of installing solar panels. 2kW would averagely cost around $4k, while solar panels that would generate 25 kW costs $53k.

Crunching the numbers, it does sound that solar panel cost a lot more than average electricity bills paid per month, thanks to low-interest solar installment plans, buying big solar panels won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

2. Variation Of Price Between States

Solar panel prices may seem like they’re all the same across all states, however, you can use the same exact solar panels at two different states and you will get different costs. The reason behind these variations depends on the cost of electricity in every state. Let’s take Washington, for example, the cost of 6kw generated from a solar panel will cost around $9k, while the same in New York will cost $12k.

Solar panels are becoming more accessible, for homeowners and businesses

The prices definitely seem costly, however, if one thought about the overall cost of electricity from solar energy and normal sources, solar is definitely cheaper.

3. The Quality

Prices differ according to the manufacturer brand; prices can range from $13k up to $17k. The local Sandbar Solar not only provides high-quality panels, complex commercial and residential setups, but also cares about the community by sponsoring many events with their eco-friendly Solar Trailer.

Other than the panel brand you are going to choose, other factors must be kept in mind; the experience of the installer, racking equipment, cost of electricity by state and the location also affects the prices. So, when you are choosing the brand for the solar panel installation project, you need to be careful and consider all the factors and aspects.

Clean Energy

Choosing a renewable source of energy is the best thing one can do these days. The greenhouse effect that is caused by coal, petroleum, and gas will put an end to the earth at some point. It’s our responsibility to go “green” to save the Earth for a better world.

Other than that, even if you don’t care about the environment, a clean source of energy that depends on wind or the sun, would definitely cost you a big amount at the beginning, but in the long run, they are cheaper sources of electricity.

Renewable Energy in Refugee Camps

Access to clean, affordable and renewable energy is a prerequisite for sustainable development of mankind, and refugees are no exception. Refugee camps across the world house more than 65 million people, and almost all refugee camps are plagued by fuel poverty. Needless to say, urgent measure are required to make camps livable and sustainable.

dabaab-refugee-camp

Rapid advancements in renewable energy technologies have made it possible to deploy such systems on various scales.  The scalability potential of renewable energy systems makes them well-suited for refugee camps, especially in conflict-afflicted areas of the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Renewable energy in refugee camps can be made available in the form of solar energy, biomass energy and wind energy. Solar panels, solar cooking units, solar lanterns, biomass cookstoves and biogas plants are some of the popular renewable energy technologies that can improve living standards in refugee camps. It is important to focus on specific needs of refugees and customization of technology towards local conditions. For example, solar technologies are better understood than biogas systems in Jordan.

1. Solar Energy

Solar energy can provide long-term resilience to people living in refugee camps. With many camps effectively transformed into full-fledged towns and cities, it is essential to harness the power of sun to run these camps smoothly. Solar cookers, solar lanterns and solar water heaters are already being used in several refugee camps, and focus has now shifted to grid-connected solar power projects.

The 5MW Azraq solar project is the world’s first grid-connected renewable energy project to be established in a refugee camp. The project is being funded entirely by Ikea through the Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign. The program, now in its third year, seeks to improve the lives of refugees around the world by providing access to sustainable energy supplies.

2. Biomass Energy

Due to lack of land and resources, refugee camps puts tremendous pressure on natural vegetation, especially supply of fuel wood to camp-dwellers. Replacement of traditional stoves with efficient biomass-fired cook stoves can save as much as 80% of cooking fuel.

Instead of wood, it would be also be a good option to use agricultural wastes, like husk and straw. Another interesting proposition for refugee camps is to set up small-scale DIY biogas plants, based on human wastes and food residuals. The biogas produced can be used as a cooking medium as well as for power/heat generation.

3. Wind Energy

Small wind turbines can also play a key role in providing energy to dwellers of refugee camps. Such turbines are used for micro-generation and can provide power from 1kW to 300kW. Majority of small wind turbines are traditional horizontal axis wind turbines but vertical axis wind turbines are a growing type of wind turbine in the small wind market.

Small wind turbines are usually mounted on a tower to raise them above any nearby obstacles, and can sited in refugee camps experiencing wind speeds of 4m/s or more.

Solar lights in Azraq Refugee Camp (Jordan)

Solar lights in Azraq Refugee Camp (Jordan)

Conclusions

Renewable energy systems have the potential to improve living standards in refugee camps and ease the sufferings of displaced and impoverished communities. Solar panels, biogas system, biomass stoves and micro wind turbines are some of the renewable energy systems that can be customized for refugee camps and transform them into a less harsh place for displaced people.

3 Things To Think About When Installing Solar Panels

If you’re looking to join the green movement and install solar panels on your home, we’ve got the perfect article to share and help you learn if you should make the solar investment.

1. The cost of installing solar panels

Installing solar panels is going to be slightly costly. One of the reasons behind this is that scaffolding will have to be placed around your home, and roofers will need to attach fixings to your rafters.

It’s important to discuss with your solar panel installer before proceeding with the installation. Still, a surveyor should visit your home to help you understand all the costs associated with installing solar panels.

electrical-engineering

The size of your home will also change the price of solar panels as a larger house tends to use more electricity and will require more panels. This increases the costs, and your solar panel installer will explain any extra hidden costs behind the solution.

Once installed, solar panels do not require much maintenance and should last for a long time. However, you may run into problems over the years and need pigeon proofing solar panels to avoid birds from nesting underneath and a general clean every few years, adding some maintenance costs.

Our recommendation is to contact as many solar panel installers as possible and ask for quotes from all of them. Then, compare the quotes you have received and a breakdown of the expected energy savings from your solar panels and make an educated decision if solar panels are the correct solution to your energy problems. The initial investment can be costly, but over time you should make that back with savings.

2. Is your home suitable for solar panels?

Depending on which country you live in and the angle of your roof, your home may be more suitable for solar panels than others. However, you should never install solar panels on a home that receives relatively no sunlight due to shade caused by trees, buildings and any other object.

solar-battery

Other factors to consider is that if you work in an office, you will not receive the full benefits of the panels

Some countries such as the UK require planning permission for solar panels to be installed on listed buildings or buildings within conservation areas.

3. Problems with your solar panels

Commonly, you may run into a solar panel problem during the time you have them in your home; the most common problem highlighted tends to be the inverter which causes no usable energy to be transmitted from your system.

solar-panels-pigeon-issue

Other common solar panel issues include birds nesting under solar panels, panels building up dirt, electrical problems and isolator problems.

Most issues can be resolved by yourself, but the main problem is finding out the cause of the case. Which usually means you have to call in a solar panel installer or expert.

If you’re still undecided on solar panels for your home, don’t feel pressured; solar panels are a costly and lengthy investment, and you have to be sure that you want to go ahead with the acquisition.

Italy Promises To Eliminate Barriers To Renewable Energy Adoption

By 2030, Rome is expected to install an estimated 70 gigawatts of green energy capacity. But due to lengthy permitting duration, Italy is installing 0.8 gigawatts only every year, according to a report by Reuters. On May 5th, Roberto Cingolani said Italy is set to implement tight measures to streamline the authorization procedure of clean energy projects.

Italy’s previous energy plan unveiled in 2019 revealed it would generate 65 gigawatts of clean energy capacity within ten years. However, the complex permitting process is slowing down the rollout of renewable energy schemes. It also jeopardizes efforts to obtain the EU’s recovery funds and meet climate goals. Moreover, Brussels has reinforced its targets on carbon emissions since then, forcing many states to reevaluate their climate objectives. Below are ways countries, including Italy, can boost the use of more renewable energy.

clean energy in italy

1. Get rid of fossil fuel subsidies

Subsidy reforms on fossil fuels plus carbon pricing can generate about 2.8 trillion dollars every year in government revenue by 2030. The report by the New Climate Economy also reveals that implementing carbon pricing systems can be effective in supporting just energy transition.

Governments can use the revenue generated from carbon pricing to provide citizens, especially the poor and groups affected by structural changes, with rebates or tax cuts. This step will also help showcase the value of renewables and energy efficiency, thus discouraging investors from investing in fossil fuels.

2. Improve access to greener energy

Typically, government authorities make assumptions of how much households living with low-incomes can afford for clean energy. As a result, they end up settling for subsidized fossil fuel-powered centralized grid systems. Instead, governments should provide clean and better energy to all, as Freedom Solar states, empower everyone to access clean, affordable, and reliable energy.

solar-energy-trends

Solar panels are becoming more accessible, for homeowners and businesses

One way to achieve this goal is by investing more in building markets that provide the poor and small businesses opportunities to utilize renewables more often.

3. Encourage investing in energy efficiency

While innovative financing to enhance energy efficiency in buildings boosts economic growth, countries need to rethink and expand their policies. Doing so will help investment in renewables to flow. Some ways of enhancing energy efficiency investments include establishing standards for appliance and building efficiency, innovative funding options, and improved public procurement.

In recent years, countries worldwide are paying more attention to clean energy. However, fossil fuels still account for about 80% of energy consumption globally and 75% of carbon emissions. That’s because of obstacles, such as complex deployment environments for renewable energy schemes and soft costs. Fortunately, governments can boost the adoption of clean energy by eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, encourage energy efficiency investment, and improve access to green energy.

3 Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Choices That Won’t Alter Your Life

While everyone is fully aware of the true extent of the global environmental crisis, not everyone is entirely willing to make changes that will slow the destruction of our planet simply because some are a massive inconvenience. However, there are several lifestyle changes that you can make that are favourable to the environment and that won’t alter your daily life much. The following eco-friendly decisions are highly recommended changes that will also save you a fortune.

1. Invest in Solar Power

Taking measures to lower your power bill will likely inconvenience your day as you try to reduce your power consumption through means that will essentially reduce your quality of life. Although, you can invest in solar power and enjoy the same power consumption as you currently are without actually harming the world around us. What’s more, you will be able to save a large amount of money as your power bill will ultimately be removed from your monthly budget completely.

The initial solar cost will be a notable investment and while many homeowners shun from the idea as installing solar panels is not entirely the cheapest decision, although, when considering that your monthly power bill will no longer be an aspect of your budget, you will be able to save in the long-run. The investment will continue to enhance your savings for years to come.

2. Switch To Glass

If you are currently making use of plastic products such as containers and other kitchenware products, you should consider the health benefits of switching to glass. Plastic has left a massive mark on our environment and by switching to glass you won’t just be reducing your own carbon footprint, but you will also be improving the health of your family as plastic products contain harmful chemicals. Therefore, the switch won’t change your daily life whatsoever, although, the environment will be thankful for the change and so will your family.

Some plastic products, such as shopping bags and drinking straws can be switched to other materials and as many retailers have noted the damage, shops are switching to paper straws and paper or material tote bags as zero waste trends are becoming more popular around the world. Once again, this effort will actually save you a small fortune over time as disposable items can become costly.

3. Adjust Your Transport Methods

Not everyone is prepared to walk or cycle to work simply to save the planet and this is often plausible as not everyone lives close enough to their workplace. However, there are other ways of being eco-friendly when travelling. You could consider investing in an electric or hybrid vehicle as the initial spend would also save you a fortune over time and when considering that using solar power means you won’t have to spend money to run your vehicle, your travel budget will be chopped in half.

Biogas_Bus

Alternatively, you could also consider starting a carpool to reduce the number of vehicles on the roads as this is also making a conscious eco effort to save the environment and save money in the process.

Biomass Energy and Sustainability

Biomass energy systems offer significant possibilities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions due to their immense potential to replace fossil fuels in energy production. Biomass reduces emissions and enhances carbon sequestration since short-rotation crops or forests established on abandoned agricultural land accumulate carbon in the soil. Biomass energy usually provides an irreversible mitigation effect by reducing carbon dioxide at source, but it may emit more carbon per unit of energy than fossil fuels unless biomass fuels are produced in a sustainable manner.

Biomass resources can play a major role in reducing the reliance on fossil fuels by making use of thermo-chemical conversion technologies. In addition, the increased utilization of biomass-based fuels will be instrumental in safeguarding the environment, generation of new job opportunities, sustainable development and health improvements in rural areas.

biomass-sustainability

The development of efficient biomass handling technology, improvement of agro-forestry systems and establishment of small and large-scale biomass-based power plants can play a major role in sustainable development of rural as well as urban areas. Biomass energy could also aid in modernizing the agricultural economy and creating significant job opportunities.

Harvesting practices remove only a small portion of branches and tops leaving sufficient biomass to conserve organic matter and nutrients. Moreover, the ash obtained after combustion of biomass compensates for nutrient losses by fertilizing the soil periodically in natural forests as well as fields.

The impact of forest biomass utilization on the ecology and biodiversity has been found to be insignificant. Infact, forest residues are environmentally beneficial because of their potential to replace fossil fuels as an energy source.

A quick glance at popular biomass resources

A quick glance at popular biomass resources

Plantation of energy crops on abandoned agricultural land will lead to an increase in species diversity. The creation of structurally and species diverse forests helps in reducing the impacts of insects, diseases and weeds. Similarly the artificial creation of diversity is essential when genetically modified or genetically identical species are being planted.

Short-rotation crops give higher yields than forests so smaller tracts are needed to produce biomass which results in the reduction of area under intensive forest management. An intelligent approach in forest management will go a long way in the realization of sustainability goals.

Improvements in agricultural practices promises to increased biomass yields, reductions in cultivation costs, and improved environmental quality. Extensive research in the fields of plant genetics, analytical techniques, remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) will immensely help in increasing the energy potential of biomass feedstock.

A large amount of energy is expended in the cultivation and processing of crops like sugarcane, coconut, and rice which can met by utilizing energy-rich residues for electricity production. The integration of biomass-fueled gasifiers in coal-fired power stations would be advantageous in terms of improved flexibility in response to fluctuations in biomass availability and lower investment costs. The growth of the biomass energy industry can also be achieved by laying more stress on green power marketing.

The Advantages of Eco-Friendly Energy Sources

You’ve heard all about it before: global warming and pollution have been steadily impacting our planet little by little each year. Sure, we’ve all probably been asked to write an essay about how to help solve our environmental problems, but do we really live our lives as sustainably as we should?

With all the talks about climate change, one of the most significant changes consumers can make is to switch to renewable energy. True enough, its growing popularity has made it the fastest-growing energy source in the country. You might be thinking, “Does the source of my electricity really matter?” The answer is a resounding yes! To prove it to you, we’ve rounded up the advantages of eco-friendly energy sources down below.

1. It Reduces Greenhouse Gases

Using traditional energy creates a huge environmental impact on air, water, and land resources. Currently, the world mainly produces electricity through coal and gas—two of the biggest contributors to the rising levels of CO2 on the planet.

solar-energy-diy

The accumulated greenhouse gas is responsible for the greenhouse effect, increasing the earth’s average surface temperature. Additionally, this temperature change disrupts the ecosystem,  causing more plant and animal species to decline in number, ultimately affecting our biodiversity.

In contrast, the use of renewable energy (e.g., solar, geothermal, biomass) does not require burning fossil fuels. Thus, it drives down carbon emission and significantly reduces the total amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.

2. It Gets Cheaper Every Year

The growing popularity of eco-friendly energy sources has resulted in a lot of positive changes for the economy. For instance, at least two-thirds of the world now offer clean energy as a cheaper alternative to fossil fuels.

To add to that, Eligo Energy’s report discovered that 65% of Americans are willing to pay for green electricity despite it being more expensive. Due to the increased investments in new technology and government subsidies, renewable energy is steadily becoming more affordable.

Moreover, renewables, like solar and wind energy, do not have price hikes. The same cannot be said for fossil fuels which become more expensive over time. Finite resources also have extreme market volatility, something that companies have no control over. Effective policies can be done easier around renewable energy, as it offers long-term stability in the market.

3. It’s Beneficial to Your Health

It’s no secret that factories powered by coal produce dark smoke that rises to the sky. What’s worse, this smoke contains traces of mercury, arsenic, and sulfur dioxide—all toxic pollutants that pose many dangers to public health.

The smog and air pollution make us more vulnerable to respiratory diseases like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer. WHO even estimated that seven million lives are lost each year due to air pollution.

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Choosing to make use of renewables will definitely be the healthier option, as it decreases the need for more coal to be burned. Green energy answers the problem of air pollution and will pave the way for improved air quality, saving millions of lives worldwide.

4. It Saves a Lot of Water

While the earth is mainly made up of water, only a very few percent of that is usable for us humans. Therefore, water is a precious commodity we should conserve. However, power plants use hundreds of thousands of gallons of water just to generate electricity. Likewise,  the extraction and production of fossil fuels rely on a lot of water too.

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Switching to green electricity greatly helps in conserving water. For instance, wind and solar energy plants barely need water to operate; the occasional washing of solar panels and turbine planes are most probably the only times you’ll ever need water. Indeed, renewable energy sources are a long-term water-saving solution.

5. It Provides Job Opportunities

As more companies and governments venture into increasing the accessibility of green energy, more jobs have been opened to workers around the globe. In fact, these opportunities are also available for those without college degrees! Building factories, solar panels, and wind turbines are great examples of the many jobs high in demand on the market right now.

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There is also a growing need for specialists and experts. Engineers, financial analysts, renewable energy consultants, and even farmers are all needed to study the endless possibilities of clean energy for different industries.

Automakers, for example, have invested in renewables to create electric-powered vehicles. Apart from electrical and mechanical engineers, they will have to hire more assembly line workers. As these newer cars become more efficient, it won’t be soon enough for consumers to choose them over the traditional gas-fueled vehicles.

Conclusion

As climate change takes a toll on the world, we have to make significant changes to our ways before it’s too late. Fortunately, our technologies have advanced enough to be able to generate electricity from eco-friendly sources.

With all the advantages it brings, green energy is predicted to run the world a few decades from now. Indeed, renewables are the energy of the future, and it’s high time for you to make the right switch.