The Other Side: Negative Impacts of Exploiting Renewable Energy Sources
The increasing demand for energy threatens the earth with climate change due to emission of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels. This has been the major driver for green energy. Renewable energy has the potential to reduce the negative effects of energy production on the environment at a global scale. However, the technology to harness the energy from renewable sources have only been well developed for the electricity market. Expanding the scope to supply other markets and sectors would lead to increase in demand on rare earth minerals which will reciprocally create negative environmental and socio-economic impacts. In order to mitigate such impacts, strong regulatory policies will be required to control different aspects of renewable energy sources, the scale of production and footprint on the environment. Recycling renewable energy technology is a step in the right direction. However, the cost of recycling is found to be 5 times the cost of mining. This would affect the price of energy generated from renewable energy sources on a long run. A shift from fossil fuel would imply at least 20 trillion dollars in stranded assets which would trigger a financial collapse. This collapse would possibly lead to the complete loss of the oil, gas and coal industries, power producers, insurance companies and banks that hold loans for these industries.
David Timmons, Jonathan M. Harris and Brian Roach. (2014). The Economics of Renewable Energy. Tufts University. Global Development and Environment Institute.
IEA. (2010). Renewable Energy Essentials: Hydropower. International Energy Agency.
IEA. (2012). Technology Roadmap: Bioenergy for Heat and Power. Paris: International Energy Agency.
Jane Easton. (2019). REPORT: Clean Energy Must Not Rely on Dirty Mining. Retrieved from Earthworks: https://www.earthworks.org/media-releases/report-clean-energy-must-not-rely-on-dirty-mining/.
Joe Jenkins. (2019). The Dark Side of Renewable Energy. Pikes Peak Environmental Forum.
John Fullerton. (2020). The Big Choice. Retrieved from Capital Institute: https://capitalinstitute.org/blog/big-choice-0/.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). (2010). Energy Technology Cost and Performance Data.
Pimentel, D., M. Herz, M. Glickstein, M. Zimmerman, R. Allen, K. Becker, J. Evans, B. Hussain, R. Sarsfeld, A. Grosfeld and T. Seidel. (2002). Renewable Energy: Current and Potential Issues. BioScience, 52(12).
Vijay Laxmi Kalyani, Manisha Kumari Dudy, Shikha Pareek. (2015). GREEN ENERGY: The NEED of the WORLD. 2(5).
IRENA. (2019). International Renewable Energy Association: Trends in Renewable Energy. Retrieved from: https://www.irena.org/Statistics/View-Data-by-Topic/Capacity-and-Generation/Statistics-Time-Series.
Pradhnya Tajne. (2015). The Dark Side of Renewable Energy: Negative Impacts of Renewables on the Environment. Altenergymag.com. Retrieved from: https://www.altenergymag.com/article/2015/08/the-dark-side-of-renewable-energy-negative-impacts-of-renewables-on-the-environment/20963/.
EERE. (n.d). Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, US Department of Energy, Wind Energy Technology office. Retrieved from: https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/about-doe-wind-energy-technologies-office.