Green energy is the future (Part II)

Pros and Cons

As mentioned in last weeks’ article, green energy refers to renewable energy that is environmentally friendly, energy that is viewed as ‘clean energy’ as it does not cause pollution like the non-renewable energy types. Let’s take a look at the types of green energy that we can adopt and their pros and cons.

Biomass energy

cow poop

Cow dung is one of the most common sources for biogas production

This is energy derived from living and recently dead biological materials or plant and plant-derived materials. They include dead trees, twigs, wood chips or any animal or plant matter such as corn, sugarcane remains and sorghum.

This method of harnessing energy helps reduce organic waste and clears land space that would otherwise be occupied by these decaying materials.

Biogas is one such source of energy that is produced from agricultural, municipal food waste or manure.

Energy is produced anaerobically, which means in the absence of oxygen, and the anaerobic bacteria, which do not use oxygen, break down matter in a closed system to produce biogas.

Biogas is highly recommended for households especially in rural areas because of availability and affordability of animal and plant waste. Biogas is also known to have a low carbon footprint.

This is energy created from the gravitational force of the falling water. It is a common and useful way of harnessing energy especially in area with large water flows.

In most countries, hydro power serves many industries and provides for a huge amount of electricity being used for powering households, industries and office blocks.

Wind power is yet another source of clean energy that can be used but its major drawback is that it doesn’t have as much electricity density as solar power though it’s useful in windy areas.

However, even in the windy areas many wind generators are needed to trap all the available wind. This makes it a capital intensive technology.

Wind energy is most preferred and successful in areas with large tracts of land to accommodate the numerous wind mills required to produce a useful amount of electricity.

This type of energy is still advancing in technology and not very commonly or widely used. Areas with a rich wind resource benefit much more from this technology.

Solar energy

Solar energy is created through photovoltaic cells that harness the sun’s energy to produce electricity.

This is one of the most advanced technologies on renewable energies, possible owing to their efficiency, ease of transport and ease of installation of these panels.

Numerous studies show that the energy created by solar panels in the first two years is equivalent to the electricity used in making a panel indicating the electricity debt created is repaid in the remaining years.

Geothermal energy

olkaria geothermal plant

Olkaria geothermal plant in the Kenyan Great Rift Valley. Photo: Theguardian/Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

Geothermal power is another cost effective, reliable and environmental friendly source of green energy. It is initially capital intensive due to the drilling costs and limited to areas near tectonic plate boundaries but when harnessed this power can be used by entire cities.

Kenyan Great Rift Valley’s Olkaria geothermal plant has massive potential, experts estimate by 2030, thanks to this region and plant, geothermal will be Kenya’s number one source of energy.

Tidal & Wave energy

This technology creates energy using turbines that rotate under water and are driven by the density of water. This technology uses special generators to produce electricity. It is however not widely used but has been a source of energy from ancient times and has been in use in Europe, Russia and parts of USA.

Wave energy on the other hand can be useful but unpredictable as it relies on the capturing and harnessing of the energy produced by ocean surface waves.

Countries on coastlines such as Canada, Russia, Australia, Kenya, North America, UK, South Korea and others should tap into a combination of wave and tidal technology to produce energy and to supplement the existing source of energy for its people.

All these sources of green energy have an initial capital outlay for the equipment and costs that are associated with technological advancement, but in the long run these costs will eventually be outweighed by the environmental benefits and the positive impact that will be experienced over time.

So let’s choose the greener, cleaner energy. We now have the information of which green energy can be most successful and in what kind of areas. Choose to participate in the drive towards green energy by being a part of the world that is installing these systems. However, do not forget that different types of energy are best suited to different locales. You have the options. Choose amongst the GREEN.