Concerns on safety and waste products has led to a growing demand for green energy. These are energy sources that are from renewable sources or are inexhaustible.
This article focuses on how to ensure safety of green energy sources.
Energy is no doubt the most important commodity the world over today. You will not have cars moving or industries manufacturing without using energy. A challenge that has accompanied this demand for energy is the safety or lack of it.
The process of generating energy often leads to waste products that can be toxic to the environment.
Accidents associated with energy production plants have been catastrophic to humanity and environment.
These concerns on safety and waste products has led to a growing demand for green energy. These are energy sources that are from renewable sources or are inexhaustible. Their utilization does not lead to production of harmful byproducts and therefore called clean energy. While tapping into green energy sources is often more expensive, they are usually cheaper in the long term due to low maintenance costs. The country will often be tapping into what is naturally available to them and therefore not an expensive process. However, there are countries those are beginning to make off shore investments in some green energy sources such as wind power in the seas.
Nuclear energy is generally clean and has no emissions, the uranium cells can be recycles and it is cheap in the long run. The opponents however argue that the nuclear waste are toxic over thousands of years and the radiation scare is very lethal. The recent Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents have but helped the case for the opponents.
The wastes from solar batteries and the wind power lithium batteries exposed to the see have also been criticized as dangerous and therefore leading to a running call that we are not yet there even with green energy. The wind power mills have been criticized as being too noisy and negatively affecting the other animals in the sea.
The fact green energy is still safer and cheaper in long term than the non-green energy however remains and therefore the question is how to make green energy safe.
- Place priority on protecting future generations: while today’s generation may fight to provide the most comfortable environment for those living which in turn pushes the need for energy. It is important any energy investments should be made considering the protection of future generation as top priority. Consider the case of Chernobyl, the accident is more than a decade old yet children continue to be born with deformities that can be carried down several generations. Therefore before any green energy source is powered, it should be considered that no children shall be hurt and adults exposed to the remains of the process have minimal effects on future generations.
- Invest in sustainable projects: the ability to remain in use over many years is important factor in choosing the right type of green energy source. This is because if the short the life cycle of the green energy source, then the more likelihood of waste materials. This often leads to risk to the environment. Also, a sustainable project would be one that allows for more direct use of energy with limited need to store. As long as the production costs are low, you would be able to achieve sustainability because utilization would not need investment in storage.
- Take all appropriate precautions: all worst case scenarios should be considered at the time of investing in a green energy. This is why is a good thing to allow critics to throw in the spanners and help understand all the worst possible accidents that would affect humanity or the environment. If such scenarios were imagined, then the Fukushima like accidents would be better managed.
- Ensure effective waste management plan: because energy cannot be created or destroyed, it means that in all situations, you will expect one form of that energy being produced as waste. The issue therefore is not how to prevent waste, rather is how to manage that waste well enough. In the case of biomass such as biogas, the cow dung should not be burned because it contributing to depletion of the ozone layer.
- Take responsibility: the persons or institutions taking up the mission to establish a green energy source must be prepared to take personal responsibility for any mess. This way, the individuals will be more careful at every step.
Green energy is still safer compared to other non-green forms of energy. The fact that we may not understand all the possible worst case scenarios, just like Japan did not understand that a Tsunami combined with earth quake was a threat, does not mean that it is safe. This is why it is important to take all precautions and ensure that green energy is truly green and safe for many generations to come.
This article content is contributed by Aqeel Syed.