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Energy and Environmental Security - Essay Example

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Student number: The unit code & name: Essay: Due date: Word count: 2024 Topic: Question one - To what extent can renewable energy be a viable alternative for established energy sources such as oil, gas, coal and nuclear power?…
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Energy and Environmental Security
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"Energy and Environmental Security"

Download file to see previous pages Over the years there have been rising concerns with regard to the ability of fossil fuels, which constitute the main source of energy, in ensuring energy security. In Australia for instance, high reliance on fossil fuels as the core source of energy has been noted to be increasingly unviable since it is more economically marginal. This is because of the high dependence on foreign regimes which control supply and pricing of oil and gas (Jones, 2009, pp.3). Such rising concerns have resulted to increased attention on other potential alternative energy sources. This paper argues that renewable energy sources, to a large extent, are viable alternative sources of energy, and play a critical role in ensuring energy security. The world consumes about 13 trillion watts (terawatts, TW) of energy, with 85% of this representing energy from fossil fuel such as coal, gas and oil, while 2% of this representing renewable energy forms such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and hydro energy (Lewis, 2007, pp.808-809; Valentine, 2011:4573). Indeed, fossil fuels still remain the king pins in energy supply due to various advantages such as availability and high energy content that it possesses. However, fossil fuels have core disadvantages that make it a threat to both current and future energy security. Not only is it exhaustible, but it is also detrimental to the environment, and is undependable since countries have to depend on a few controlling regimes which regulate the supply of oil and gas (DiPeso, 2011, pp.97; Valentine, 2011). From historical evidence, oil and gas which currently form the major part of fossil fuel have had the tendency to fluctuate in prices with most countries’ ability to control such prices limited. This makes it in the long term unreliable, unaffordable and inadequate (Riesz and Tourneboeuf, 2011). The high dependency on fossil fuels, and the fact that such fossil fuels do not guarantee energy security to most of the world’s countries, has necessitated a look at various alternative sources that would ensure energy security. For most of the world’s countries, the response to energy risks posed by fossil fuels has been diversification of energy sources. Renewable sources of energy have been widely recognised as potential sources of energy and expected to comprise a bigger part in future energy generation portfolio to ensure energy security (Valentine, 2011). Renewable sources of energy are often indigenous to a country hence tends to reduce high dependency on energy imports (Olz, Sims, and Kircher, 2007, pp.23). Hence, can be exploited locally where by the variations in availability and capacity of such energy sources in various regions, ensures that energy security is site specific, with regions increasingly becoming self sufficient. Although renewable energy sources incur higher capital costs in terms of development , installation and per unit capacity, this high cost, to some extent, can be offset by the low to zero cost of fuel over the life of the installed system which make renewable more competitive (Olz, Sims, and Kircher, 2007, pp.16). Furthermore, the long cited constraints of renewable energy sources such as intermittency and availability can be resolved through energy storage technologies which make energy available when needed and stores energy when it is available (Evans, Strezov, & Evans, 2012). There are six main ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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