Our global economy runs swiftly towards consuming ever more energy. Fueled by rising energy demands from developing countries, the world is facing tremendous risk of climate change, more specifically because of the use of fossil fuel to meet its energy demands.
The world presently relies on coal, oil and gas for over 80 percent of its energy needs. If the trend continues, there will come a time when not only the world will be exposed to extreme climate changes but will also run out of these traditional energy resources. The world’s energy demand is expected to grow almost half over the next two decades. At this rate of demand growth we have only enough for next thirty years. More over these energy resources over time will become even more expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve.
World leading scientists have expressed their concern and have concluded that energy crisis poses one of the greatest threats to humanity of this century http://www.infinite-energy.com/iemagazine/issue34/comingenergycrisis.html . We should all participate in directly or support the energy saving initiatives by harnessing sustainable energy practice as a way of life, if we would like to see our planet move into the hands of next generation in its present shape if not better.
Renewable energy offers us a natural means of energy production — see Renweable Energy Sources . Since it is obtained from natural resources, it is not environmentally damaging. They constantly replenish themselves and are never going to run out. Probably it is this reason why they are often referred to as infinite energy resources. See www.renewableenergyworld.com . For example solar energy that can directly be used for heating and lighting homes, for generating electricity and for heating water. Besides this it is even used for variety of other industrial and commercial use. Industry experts claim that renewable energy is not only going to reduce greenhouse gas emission, but will also grow enough to supply world’s half energy needs. Successful generation of electricity by harnessing the power of Sun is not only technology feasible, but has already become a reality. Scientist and engineers are working continuously towards improving the efficiencies of renewable energy system. Solar power is free inexhaustible source of energy. Solar panels (Photovoltaic systems) convert solar radiation to electricity. The major benefit solar energy offers is that it can easily be deployed by both home and business users because it does not require huge setup.
While talking about renewal energy resources and practices, it is worth mentioning Microhydro Power. See Micro Hydropower Systems This method harnesses the energy in the flowing water for electricity production. In fact for centuries people have been using mechanical power of the flowing water for varieties of purposes such as pumping, driving machinery and milling. Unlike sun and wind, hydro resource is available throughout 24 hours, 365 days a year. Earlier people were using it to run irrigation pumps and grain mills, today it is helping people produce clean, renewable electricity at a reasonable cost.
If you are located near a water source such as flowing river, you can contribute your bit towards saving the world from energy crisis by educating people in your community or speaking up to local authorities to look at possibilities for creation of renewal energy. Fundamentally, hydroelectricity is a combination of water flow and vertical drop. Continuous flow of water in a hydro system offers ongoing source of pressurized liquid energy. Pressurized flowing water is very dense resource. Micro Hydro Power system converts a large volume of available energy into electricity since the resource is captive in a pipe or flume.
With the help of a simple formula you can work out the capacity your stream might have. Take the head in feet and multiply by the flow in gallons per minute (gpm). Divide this by a factor of 12 to obtain potential wattage of a reasonably efficient small system. Take an example where you have 30gpm available and 40 feet of head. This will translate into 100 watts [(30 X 40) / 12 = 100] effectively. That means a Microhydro Power of this capacity is enough to generate 2,400 watt-hours or 2.4 kWh (24 hours/day x 100 W). A Micro Hydro Power system (see http://practicalaction.org/micro-hydro-power ) can make you entirely independent of the grid or they can be connected to the grid to sell back the surplus electricity for a credit, while providing back up when utility fails.
Now when we have already spoken much in favor of renewal energy, you might be thinking it’s the only route to protect environment and save the world from energy crisis. However this isn’t true. No discussion about Sustainable Energy Practices will ever be complete without the mention of the importance of energy efficiency. Don’t get carried away by the thought that renewable energy installation is more important than energy efficiency to successfully mitigate climate change and reduce carbon emission. Both renewable energy source and energy efficiency are equally important. Just to let you know, most of the electricity we produce today is lost in power plants, transmission, through air leaks etc. So it is imperative to consider energy efficiency before making major investments in more energy. Though there is very little within our capacity that most of us can do to improve energy efficiency, there are few points where we can play our active roles. For example where ever you are looking at potential energy upgrades for your home, keep in mind few important considerations such as: