Oct. 16, 2016

Local sustainable energy

The most practical solution to sustainable energy development is localization and diversification of energy systems and sources (Li, 2005). Energy needs in the developed world are dependent on fossil fuels, but fossil fuels are nonrenewable resources. Extraction and transportation of these resources damages the land and pollutes the water. The release of greenhouse gases from burning fossils fuels has a tremendous effect on the atmosphere and oceans.  The exclusive use of fossil fuels has a negative global effect on the environment and health of living organisms. All energy production has a potential negative impact on the environment, but diversifying energy production spreads the impact. Diversification is highly valued in investment portfolios and ecosystems because diversity equates to resilience and security (Li, 2005). Combinations of wind, solar, hydro, biofuels or geothermal could be developed to meet the energy needs of certain regions based on the qualities of the different regions. Local systems would not only be more secured and dependable, they would also affect local economies by providing skilled jobs for community members. In addition, a decentralized system is less subject to disruption and loss of energy over long distance transmissions lines. It also democratizes our energy system by removing corporate interests; it transfers power and resources from an upper, centralized hierarchy to lower, local control (Alanne & Saari, 2006). Diversification and localization of energy production seems to be a win-win situation. As long as utility, coal and petrol-chemical companies are the main providers of energy, energy consumption will never be sustainable. Corporations value profits over people; this is not only unsustainable, it lacks consideration of what is in a community’s long-term interests. Decentralizing food and energy will not happen without drastically affecting our current economic system; it will not survive localization in its present form, but our ecosystems and general health will benefit greatly.

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