August 23, 2019

5 Reasons Why Sustainable Energy is the Future

by Jim Henderson

Before outlining 5 reasons why sustainable energy is the future, we need to know what is not sustainable energy. It is anything to do with any type of fuel that is NOT carbon based. Power plants which tout burning recycled wood chips or biofuel as sustainable are not sustainable as they all require burning and releasing carbon emissions. Likewise, burning “clean, natural gas” isn’t sustainable either. Advertisements and marketing in media are actually suggesting that this is sustainable energy, when in fact it’s not.

There are currently three acceptable and widely used methods for sustainable energy: Solar is number one, wind is the second and hydro is actually a large contributor for sustainable energy. However, hydro does have an environmental impact in how it creates dams which change the natural flow of downstream water flow.

Another myth about sustainable energy is that electric cars are sustainable. If we believe this, then well, we also likely believe in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause and Big Foot (I personally have seen Big Foot so, he does exist 😊). The electricity used to charge an electric car is about 30% less carbon producing than burning gasoline or diesel, but it is still harmful to the environment and is definitely NOT sustainable.

Given our global awareness now and an overall acceptance of the fact that climate change is real, the entire world is focusing on how to convert to sustainable energy. It is not an easy transition because there are so many industries which depend on non-renewable energy sources for their profits and stock-holder equity. Social media outlets are filled with posts about how energy and utility companies are investing in renewable energy because they care about our future. The fact is they invest very little of their profits into renewable energy sources and they raise their rates to offset their up-front costs for the investments. This means they are basically finding higher profit margins at the consumers’ expense!

Here are 5 primary reasons why sustainable energy is the future:

  • Fixed Cost – Truly sustainable energy, primarily solar, is a fixed cost over the course of 25 to 30 years, which is the average lifespan of the photovoltaic cells within each solar panel. Right now, averaged out over 25 years, solar power is under $0.07/kwh while current energy costs in America average more than $0.12/kwh. With an average yearly increase of 3.4% in utility rates this means a $200/month energy bill today will be over $425/month in 25 years. The solar sustainable energy costs, on the other hand, will be $0.00 in 25 years!

Also, many solar systems can be sized so that an electric car can be charged with the excess energy produced during daylight hours (most states have net-zero metering which credits homeowners with excess energy and sells back to them at night and cloudy days, at the regular rate).

  • Sustainable Energy – Zero Carbon Footprint – True sustainable energy will produce no carbon emissions. Wind turbines have no emissions nor do solar panels. The United States emits over 8 trillion pounds of CO2 for its’ vehicles and electricity use each year; 3.8 trillion pounds of these emissions are for the production of electricity alone.
  • Energy Independence – Sustainable energy allows a company or homeowner to be free from the constant changes in energy costs. If the stock market goes up for crude oil, gas prices jump immediately, producing billions in extra profits to the energy companies. (During our last great recession oil companies saw record profits at a time when many of us could barely affords the gas it cost to get to the jobs we were lucky to have).
  • Sustainable Energy – It Is Affordable – This is likely the biggest stumbling block for people not to invest in their own sustainable energy. When all the costs to cool/heat a home and to run a vehicle are considered, the cost for energy that is not sustainable is actually more expensive than renewable energy. For the remainder of 2019 and leading through 2021 there are federal tax credits which make installing sustainable energy very affordable. Battery storage is also at a point where it is more affordable than ever so homes can store additional energy to further reduce carbon footprints and, charge electric vehicles at night.
  • Sustainable Energy- The Right Thing To Do – The 5th reason why sustainable energy is the future is because it ultimately is the right thing to do. Doing what is right for our environment, our children and grandchildren and doing what’s right for our communities are all very, very compelling reasons why sustainable energy is the future for energy around the globe.
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