Green Energy

(Arshia Rasheed, )

When energy prices rise and the greenhouse gas emissions effects at a higher rate, people everywhere are more concerned in using fossil fuels. Larger number of people are turning towards so called "green technologies" so that they may not become more dependent on nonrenewable fossil fuels.

As we all know that electricity plays a vital role in socioeconomic growth and social prosperity of a country. It is considered as the basic unit for human development. Nowadays, there is no electricity and it is becoming a serious problem in Pakistan, which directly restricts the development of the state. Half of the Pakistan’s population does not have electricity in the rural areas and about 10–12 hours load shedding in urban areas is quite common. If we use the ideal substitute energy source it would be clean, long term and reliable. As we talk about substitute the three more popular energy sources are geothermal power, solar power and wind power.

Since geothermal energy is heat energy generated and stored in the Earth, its resources range from water found just below the surface of the earth, to hot water and hot rock found a few miles below the surface, to even deeper rock of extremely high temperatures. It is a process similar to drilling for oils, wells as deep as a mile into underground reservoirs to tap steam and hot water which can use in running turbines and to produce energy. Power companies then can transmit this energy over power lines.

It can also be used on smaller scale for heating and cooling of houses or commercial buildings. It also have heat pumps which are known as ground –source heat pumps. But the working condition is to be the earth beneath the surface have a constant temperature throughout the year. This heat pump transmit the heat which is stored in earth into the building during the winter, and transfers it out of the building and into the ground during the summer. Geothermal is cost effective, reliable and environment friendly but is restricted to areas near tectonic plate boundaries. Geothermal energy is still one of the unexplored energy resources for electric power generation in Pakistan. We can overcome the energy shortage to a significant level by harnessing geo thermal energy. If we talk about Karachi, the vast agricultural landscape offers extremely high potential for tapping into bio-mass and bio-fuel based energies. Eventually, what is needed is not just a collage of ‘projects’ but deeper thinking, vision and a long term strategic framework if sustainable and viable benefits are desired.

When we talk about solar power we know it is the conversion of energy form sunlight into electricity. Today it can be collected easily by sleek and efficient photovoltaic panels. The photovoltaic cells convert sunlight directly into electricity and are made of semiconductors such a crystalline silicon or other thin film materials. Solar power have multiple benefits like it helps to stop global warming, it saves society billions or trillions of dollars and it provides energy independence like once you have solar panels on your roof, you have an essentially independent source of electricity that is all yours. Germany is consider as a worldwide leader in the use of solar power.

It is not as expensive as geothermal power, but having panel professionally installed can be little costly. If we talk about Pakistan it is uniquely located such that it has extensive solar rays coming to it. We have many regions that are extremely hot for over 6 months in a year. Though Pakistan have opened different solar plants across the nation but the cost of maintenance is high and hence has not become the solitary or even alternative for energy. The power sector still needs time to provide quality electricity to the homes and residential areas of Pakistan. Hence the need to grow the solar segment. It will take time for the solar energy to be a viable solution. However, with the cheaper solar equipment, the cost will eventually be sustainable.

The last major source is the wind power which offers many advantages, and is said to be the fastest growing sources energy in the world. It is created when wind is used to generate mechanical power or electricity. Most wind turbines convert the wind's kinetic energy into mechanical power. The wind turns the blades, which spins a shaft connected to a generator. A generator then converts this mechanical power into electricity. A group of wind turbines can produce electricity and feed it into utility grid, where it is sent through transmission lines to homes and business. Like solar and geothermal energy, it produces no emissions.

Small systems of energy can be used by homes, farms or communities. Such systems can be connected to the larger electrical grid or used for stand-alone energy generation. If you want to take full advantage of wind energy, a turbine must be in an area with average wind speed of at least 10 miles an hour, and such systems can be very expensive. The advantages of using wind energy are it's a clean fuel source. Wind energy doesn't pollute the air like power plants that rely on combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, which emit particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide causing human health problems and economic damages. Wind turbines don't produce atmospheric emissions that cause acid rain, smog, or greenhouse gases.

Wind power is cost-effective. Land-based utility-scale wind is one of the lowest-priced energy sources available today, costing between two and six cents per kilowatt-hour, depending on the wind resource and the particular project’s financing.

Although, the state of Pakistan always shows a deficit in the conventional resources, but no progress was also being made in the renewable resources such as the wind, solar energy and geothermal energy. To add salt to wound, our neighbors and even countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka have a good understanding and are well aware of using these sources. We, as a vulnerable country, should also need to conduct such awareness campaigns for production of electricity. It is better to utilize these natural assets in order to fulfill the electricity supply the country, which will not only benefit us in present but in future as well.

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05 Apr, 2018 Views: 390

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