There is no escaping that we are living in an increasingly environmentally conscious world, so green energy is a subject on the tip of many tongues. While renewable energy such as solar panels and wind turbines may seem like the polar opposite of fossil fuels, the gas and oil industry have taken steps to embrace this new movement.
While the two industries will never share the same space entirely, they are often being encouraged to work together and find common ground. After all, there will only ever be so many fossil fuels to go around – when supplies start to run increasingly low, or even run out entirely, the gas and oil industry will need a back-up plan to remain relevant.
Renewable energy is largely obtained through the same key sources.
- The Sun – aka Solar Energy – can provide direct heat and light into any home or business through specially installed panels. Solar power also generates electricity and hot water. The result can be reduced fuel bills – and less reliance on the fossil fuels generated through gas and oil rigs or fields.
- Wind turbines combine with the rays of the sun to evaporate water, which in turn flows into a local river or stream. The result of this is hydroelectric power, which is growing in popularity across the world. Tidal energy from the sea is also used to generate electricity.
- Geothermal energy is plucked from the ground’s natural heat to generate heat. In addition, bioenergy is sourced from the organic pulp plucked from plant life – which again generated electricity, or can be used as a vehicle fuel.
Of course, this isn’t to say that green energy is unimportant, only that it has been in development for a shorter amount of time so it’s full potential has yet to be witnessed. Here are some of the reasons why it remains essential to homes and businesses, and will continue to grow in the decades ahead.
It Prevents a Power Monopoly
The cost-effectiveness and sale price of gas and other fossil fuels tend to fluctuate more than stocks on Wall Street. Should one company manage to acquire a prime stock of gas or oil, it would have the ability to charge whatever price it wanted in order to drive up profit margins.
The use of renewable energy sources means that there will always be an alternative power supply, and if costs become too ridiculous it will lead consumers to look elsewhere. Think of it as a way of keeping fuel companies honest – they won’t be able to retain custom if they push their luck too far.
If renewable energies are employed wholly in a home, there is even the potential that the customer will actually be able to put electricity back into the grid and receive payment for it. Many new home and building designs, especially rural ones where lack of power supply has forced them to resort to alternative methods, incorporate this technology even though it seems expensive at the outlay.
Renewable Energy is Not Going Anywhere
As we suggested earlier, fossil fuels may some day run out. More and more oil rigs in the North Sea are being decommissioned (though don’t panic, there will always be a future and gainful employment within the industry), and some day – though hopefully not for a great many generations to come – there will no longer be enough to go around.
On the other hand, however, as long as there is a sun in the sky there is potential for solar power, and the seas will always be able to provide hydropower. Unlike an oil rig, a renewable energy source comes with a comparatively limited shelf life – often around thirty years – but with every refurbishment or improvement the site will likely be made even more efficient. As oil prices continue to vary, renewable energy will remain sustainable and constant throughout their life cycle.
Renewable Energy is Universal
No matter where we are based in the world, we will have access to renewable energy sources. Drilling for oil and gas can sometimes be restricted to particular locations, and as increasingly popular locations are being tapped and drained, it may be tricky to gain access to new rigs.
Some regions of the world will have access to better use of renewables than others. Coastal populations can employ tidal-powered hydroelectricity generators, mountainous towns and valleys are able to make better use of wind-powered electricity, whereas landlocked countries in Africa have the sun all year round for solar-powered electricity generation.
Price is also a factor – developing countries are unable to afford the import charges assigned to fossil fuels, meaning that they may need to learn a little more about sustainable and renewable energy sources. It could even generate fantastic new opportunities for employment and further development within such struggling countries.
Of course, making the switch straight from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is simply unrealistic – anybody looking to make this change will need to do so in small, manageable doses. At the moment, renewable energy accounts for around 15% of all consumption throughout the world compared to 34% from natural gases. Coal and nuclear power make up another 50%.
If a consumer is keen to start switching their use of energy to a more renewable source, it’s easy enough to start embracing a green lifestyle with the likes of energy saving light bulbs and switching off any appliances that are not in use.
The UN hopes to make renewable energy the most commonplace source of worldwide power by the year 2050, which will naturally have an impact on the gas and oil industries. Don’t start looking for work elsewhere just yet though- this industry has survived as long as it has for a reason.