Clean Energy

Why Is It So Hard To Move Away From Fossil Fuels?

By Sonam Ahluwalia

The idea of a one-hundred percent clean energy future seems to be a pipe dream right now.

While there has been some tremendous progress made by private industry in the creation of innovative technologies to lead the transition from non-renewable resources like coal and natural gas to natural elements, the process has been painfully slow.

No matter the number of technologies created, private companies cannot move forward without the public’s support.

The largest challenge is unity.

The private sector lacks the current partnerships to address current issues with renewable energy.

For example, currently, wind turbines use many magnets derived from rare earth minerals- most of which are ripped out of the ground in China.

This has created an ecological disaster in areas there.

These minerals are also unreliable in the longterm because they are limited.

After all, you can only take so much out of the ground before you run out and searching for alternatives to these minerals requires collaboration, which can occur through partnerships that generates a more dependable and sustainable wind turbine.

Furthermore, there also needs to be unity between companies and the general public they service.

If engineers working on magnetic wind turbines or photovoltaic solar panels view their role as imperative innovators, the public can take the role as active supporters or consumers that create a market for renewable energy.

In short, we all have to be pushing in the same direction in order for this to work.

In order for the public to support the private industry, vice versa, the communication gap between these two entities needs to be closed.

This can happen through proper education and through transparency.

Many people do not understand the benefits of cleaner energy, or how much energy we currently waste and have stored in grids from excess.

Just like people learn how to turn on the lights, set up the television, and turn on the water, people should also know where these luxuries come from.

Proper education of the current, wasteful methods can influence a large portion of the public to support cleaner energy.

As people become more educated on sustainable options, a market for cleaner energy sources needs to be created – another challenge.

Supply and demand are interdependent.

For the private sector to gain more momentum, the public needs to show an appetite for cleaner energy sources.

As the demand for renewable energy increases, competition to meet the public’s requests will stimulate production of more affordable sustainable products with higher quality.

Affordability is imperative to consumers, and it is easier to convince someone to buy something that is more energy sustainable when they are able to understand the financial benefits.

Adding competition to the mix will push companies to fabricate better, cheaper ideas.

This in term will allow those products to be available to the general public at a competitive price point.

This sector’s growth requires regulatory policies to ensure that the energy is actually clean.

Since clean energy is an ever-changing field, creating policies to assure quality is a fairly new conflict the government must learn to follow.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Activ Solar/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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