Theoretical sustainability is relative, that is, it is only sustainable if certain conditions are met. However, sustainable energy aims to create a balance between the demands of human activities and natural resources. So it is important to determine the sources of our energy, whether they are natural (from the Earth’s crust) or man-made. Also, how these sources of energy are used, for instance, through burning fossil fuels, and what proportion of these fuels should be used to meet our energy needs.
The use of sustainable energy is often considered global in terms of its consumption, because it meets current and future human needs without compromising the requirements of future generations. Other definitions of sustainable energy also include socio-economic and environmental factors such as high energy poverty, and environmental impacts of energy use. For instance, it is argued that a sustainable development approach to energy must take into account the impact on the environment of changes in the world fuel resources (mainly oil and coal), technological developments (from traditional wood burning stoves and kerosene boilers to modern light and steam technologies), and transportation habits (relying on road vehicles for transportation and powering commercial and residential applications through the energy consumed during operations). Also, changes in consumption patterns can affect the sources of energy used and consequently change the sources available for use. In addition, sustainable energy differs from conventional energy in that demand is not constrained by availability. Also, the consumption is not concentrated in a small geographic area, but spans the globe.
In the field of sustainable energy, two main approaches are used. One is to convert an existing source of energy to one considered to be sustainable. The second is to develop new energy sources using a combination of geology, economics, technology and society. A good example of a developing source of sustainable energy is wind generated electricity.
There are three principal sources of renewable energy: wind, solar and hydroelectricity. All are based on the force of air or water that is stored in some form. Air and water are constantly moving, so their potential to produce energy is always available. For example, the heat that rises from the earth’s surface can be used to generate electricity. Similarly, the sun’s light can be used to produce electricity. And while hydroelectric energy is conventionally powered by dams, it can also be generated from tidal water flow.
Developing sustainable energy involves more than just determining how to convert a conventional source of energy to one considered to be sustainable. It also involves the recognition of various limitations and the ability to overcome them. As mentioned above, many natural and human factors may affect the ability of a source of sustainable energy to meet our energy needs. Developing sustainable energy also requires a change in lifestyle that will enable energy production to meet future energy demands while reducing pollution. It also requires a change in consumption patterns that will help reduce the sources of greenhouse gases that are responsible for global warming.
The good news is that sustainable energy is possible. The challenge now is to develop sustainable energy at a scale that will allow it to become the dominant source of energy for the benefit of humanity and the environment. There is a promising technology that combines several technologies to build sustainable energy at a large scale. This technology involves the use of wind power as a reliable and affordable alternative to fossil fuels. In addition, solar power is becoming an increasingly important source of sustainable energy. And with the assistance of various sustainable energy organizations, there is a steady movement toward the wider utilization of sustainable energy.