Can the World Run on Renewable Energy? - Knowledge at Wharton

There is enough in the world for everyone’s need, but there is not enough to meet everyone’s greed, said Mahatma Gandhi, Father of our nation. By these Mahatmaji is calling our attention towards the greed of the world’s most greedy species, namely the human being. As human beings are the only species which could think and feel, it is also the only species that exploits the nature in any which ways possible for their short-term gain. Ignoring the fact that human beings are comparatively new species when we consider the entire time frame of life on earth, we are behaving as if the entire planet and its resources are solely meant for making human lives easier.

The social and economic development of a country owes a lot to the development of energy resources. Man’s greed and uncontrolled use of these resources has resulted in its depletion and in turn has put a question mark on the future of this beautiful planet.

Scientists fear that the conventional energy sources like crude oil, natural gas, etc may become extinct before the end of this century. This has turned man towards the development and promotion of alternate energy resources.

The most important source is solar power because sun is the largest source of energy in this universe. Our country India receives 5000 trillion kilo watt of solar radiation per year. Most part of our country have not less than 300 clear days in a year. It is possible to generate 20 mega watt solar power per square kilometer land area. This energy can be used for a variety of applications like cooking, water heating, water pumping, lighting, etc. Latest innovations have made it possible to run vehicles like cars, trains and even small aircrafts. The German railway, a pioneer in the entire organization will be operated by solar energy by the end of another 25 to 30 years.

Another one is wind power. India now holds a significantly high position in the list of wind power capacity. The gross wind power potential of India is estimated to be above 45000 milli watt, while the present technical is only near one third of this capacity. It should be noted that the government has initiated several plans and policies to make use of this immense potential.

We can also obtain energy from biomass. It includes food and food waste, municipal waste, land fills gas and biogas. The use of Ethanol blended fuel and bio diesel is also an emerging trend which could replace several other means effectively.

Hydro power is also a prospect for the world with two third of the planet covered with water. If widely used hydro power could be generated from the enormous water resources available in this planet by setting up small hydro power plants.

As the eminent scholar professor Yashpal rightly quoted, “we have not inherited this world from our ancestors, but we have borrowed it from our children”. So, it is high time we turn to some alternative energy sources and leave something for our future generation also.

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