THE AMOUNT of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has been rapidly increasing over the last hundred years. This is due to the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil, which contain carbon. As the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere changes, the way it retains heat also changes. Scientists now believe this is what is causing the average temperature of the earth to increase, leading to climate change.
Many people predict that the rapid rise in damage caused by natural disasters over the last thirty years is linked to climate change, and unless the global community changes the way it uses and generates energy this process may completely disrupt the global economy in years to come, along with countless lives.
Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable (naturally replenished). About 16 per cent of global final energy consumption comes from renewables, with 10 per cent coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.4 per cent from hydroelectricity.
Solar photovoltaic cells convert sunlight into electricity, thus solar energy is considered environment friendly that does not require the burning of fossil fuels and the associated air emissions. In addition, it is considered renewable since the energy produced from the sun does not deplete any natural resources, and will never run out.
The Solar photovoltaic (PV) production has been increasing by an average of more than 20 per cent each year since 2002, making it a fast-growing energy technology. While wind is often cited as the fastest growing energy source, photovoltaics since 2007 has been increasing at twice the rate of wind – an average of 63.6 per cent per year, due to the reduction in cost. At the end of 2011 the photovoltaic capacity world-wide was 67.4 GW, a 69.8 per cent annual increase.
While many renewable energy projects are large-scale, renewable technologies are also suited to rural and remote areas, where energy is often crucial in human development. As of 2011, small solar PV systems provide electricity to a few million households, and micro-hydro configured into mini-grids serves many more.
Climate change concerns, coupled with high oil prices, peak oil, and increasing government support, are driving increasing renewable energy legislation, incentives and commercialization. According to a 2011 projection by the International Energy Agency, solar power generators may produce most of the world’s electricity within 50 years, dramatically reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases that harm the environment.
Many solar photovoltaic power stations have been built, mainly in Europe. As of May 2012, the largest PV power plant in the world is the Charanka Solar Park, India, has a capacity of 214 MW. Many of solar plants are integrated with agriculture. There are no fuel costs or emissions during operation of the power stations.
However, when it comes to renewable energy systems and PV, it is not just large systems that matter. Building-integrated photovoltaics or “onsite” PV systems use existing land and structures and generate power close to where it is consumed.
Pakistan is facing a severe energy crisis and renewable energy is the best solution to address it. Pakistan has more energy on per-capita basis than India but it has a bigger loadshedding problem. Solar is the best energy option if made competitive through investment or development cooperation, especially with China.
We urgently need a clean energy system based on the efficient use of renewable energy sources, that has at its heart protecting us from climate change, the protection of the environment and the delivery of sustainable development. We need an energy system, which does not render our cities uninhabitable; increase the radioactive burden for future generations; and which does not lead to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
We seek a world in which the manifest benefits of energy services, such as light, heat, power and transport are equitably available for all: north and south, rich and poor. Only in this way can we create true energy security, as well as the conditions for true human security.
Developed countries are responsible for climate change and the victims are the developing nations. Developed nations must reduce their carbon emissions and resort to renewable energy otherwise the target of 2 degree centigrade cannot be accomplished.