The U.K. signed the Paris Agreement five years ago, signifying its climate change prevention efforts. The goal revolves around greenhouse gas emission reductions. It adopted various renewable energy sources to limit atmospheric pollution and generate a zero-carbon economy.
When conducting life cycle assessments and energy audits, researchers discovered ecological issues with clean electricity sources. Low efficiency levels and emission-generating production practices decrease the sustainability of renewable energy. Fortunately, we can restructure the supply chain and increase the industry’s eco-consciousness.
Issues in Production
Various production aspects decrease the sustainability of renewable energy sources. The industry is relatively new and still evolving. Over time, researchers and engineers can target environmentally degrading features and source solutions.
When conducting a life cycle assessment of the production process, one must start by evaluating the materials’ origins. The mining and manufacturing associated with wind turbines generate 80% of their carbon emissions. Additional outputs derive from the transportation of materials and the devices themselves.
The transportation sector produces 27% of all U.K. greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the materials in wind, solar and geothermal systems are rare, decreasing their accessibility. Manufacturers receive the components through air, boat or vehicle transportation, taking on their carbon footprint.
The devices also take on the manufacturing facilities’ emissions. Conventional global energy sources derive from fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas. They pollute the atmosphere during combustion. There are many incentives for manufacturers to convert to sustainable energy, including increasing efficiency and appealing to eco-conscious consumers. Going green pays off in more ways than one.
A significant portion of renewable energy sources’ carbon footprints come from poorly managed facilities. We can increase the sustainability of green devices by restructuring the supply chain. When utilizing an electric grid, we can power production facilities and transportation with zero-emission energy.
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The Electric Grid
The electric grid is a sustainable alternative to the current energy system. It can eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels by sourcing all power from renewables, helping countries achieve net-zero goals.
Generating a net-zero grid requires renewable support for production. Fuel cell energy is on the rise, offering zero-emission electricity and vehicle power. Conventionally, fossil fuel-driven energy helps produce hydrogen for fuel cells.
Recently, environmental engineers discovered a method of production using wind power. It helps companies access clean energy without any associated emissions. The net-zero results offer the potential for a purely sustainable electricity grid.
Producing the net-zero electric grid also requires technological advancements in storage systems. One company developed an efficient model using industrial lithium-ion batteries. The energy storage facility has a 300-megawatt battery, holding enough renewable power to help fuel northern California homes during peak hours.
The facility also repurposed an old power plant as its storage center. We can transform the energy sector in a sustainable way, recycling materials and generating zero emissions. When powering a region with the electric grid, commercial and residential properties must adopt compatible technology.
Supporting the longevity of renewable power requires energy-efficient devices. Electric and zero-emission items can preserve sources by preventing overworking and burnout.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems historically consume high quantities of energy. Building owners may install electric HVAC devices or geothermal heating pumps, lowering the overconsumption of energy. Installing a geothermal system can decrease a resident’s energy utilization by nearly 70% a year. Low power consumption improves the efficiency and output of renewable energy sources.
Additionally, consumers can convert from fossil fuel-reliant vehicles to electric versions. You can power electric cars with clean energy, generating a net-zero transportation method. Fortunately, the current devices on the market are compatible, decreasing the need for additional production.
The Initial Steps
Meeting the Paris Agreement’s objective requires a complete restructuring of the energy industry. Before developing an electric grid, professionals may convert current production practices away from their fossil fuel reliance. Society may adopt compatible devices after creating a net-zero supply chain.
Various commercial and residential building owners are jumping the gun and installing electric, zero-emission devices today. Even without an electric grid, the devices significantly shrink one’s carbon footprint. They also increase the value of a property, catering to eco-consumer demands.
Jane works as an environmental and energy writer. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of