What is Clean energy: Definition and 14 Discussions

The use of energy is considered sustainable if it meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. Definitions of sustainable energy typically include environmental aspects such as greenhouse gas emissions, and social and economic aspects such as energy poverty.
Meeting the world's need for energy a sustainable way is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. The global energy system, which is 85% based on fossil fuels, is responsible for over 70% of the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. The burning of fossil fuels and biomass is a major contributor to air pollution, which causes an estimated 7 million deaths each year. More than 750 million people lack access to electricity and over 2.6 billion rely on polluting fuels such as wood or charcoal to cook.
Renewable energy sources such as wind, hydroelectric power, solar, and geothermal energy are generally far more sustainable than fossil fuel sources. However, some renewable energy projects, such as the clearing of forests for the production of biofuels, can cause severe environmental damage. The role of non-renewable energy sources has been controversial. For example, nuclear power is a low-carbon source and has a safety record comparable to wind and solar, but its sustainability has been debated due to concerns about nuclear proliferation, radioactive waste and accidents. Switching from coal to natural gas has environmental benefits, but may lead to a delay in switching to more sustainable options. Carbon capture and storage technology can be built into power plants to remove their carbon dioxide emissions, but is expensive and has seldom been implemented.
Limiting global warming to levels consistent with the Paris Agreement will require system-wide transformation of the way energy is produced, distributed, stored, and consumed. To accommodate larger shares of variable renewable energy, electrical grids require flexibility through infrastructure such as energy storage. A sustainable energy system is likely to see a shift towards far more use of electricity in sectors such as transport and heating, energy conservation, the use of hydrogen produced by renewables and from fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage. Some technologies that are critical for eliminating energy-related greenhouse gas emissions are still immature.
Wind and solar energy sources generated 8.5% of worldwide electricity in 2019, a share that has grown rapidly. Costs of these energy sources, and of batteries, have fallen rapidly and are projected to continue falling due to innovation and economies of scale. Pathways exist to provide universal access to electricity and to clean cooking technologies in ways that are compatible with climate goals, while bringing major health and economic benefits to developing countries. Well-designed government policies that promote energy system transformation can lower greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality simultaneously, and in many cases can also increase energy security. Policy approaches can include carbon-pricing and energy-specific policies such as renewable portfolio standards and phase-outs of fossil fuel subsidies.

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  1. kuruman

    What is the Potential for Clean Energy Development According to Schwarzenegger?

    Our Governator is attending the Austria world initiative on climate change. He wants us to know that we have "2000 Gigabytes of clean energy" waiting to be developed if only the permit process can be expedited. Lucky us. Listen to the video at about t = 2:20 and rejoice...
  2. E

    Physics What Branch of Physics Deals with Renewable or Clean Energy?

    Hello there, I am interested in renewable or clean or new energy sources. What branch of physics that I need to focus on in order to get a deep understanding on this? Also, what prerequisites do I need? p.s. I am a self taught student, so I don't have any academic advisor
  3. A

    Can clean energy replace fossil fuels?

    If you search the net with the question: "Can clean energy replace fossil fuels?" then no clear answer is given. On the website https://blog.arcadia.com/top-7-questions-youve-asked-google-renewable-energy/ it is said: Yes! However, despite falling costs, wind and solar only produce a little...
  4. Kevin Chieppo

    Physics Career path forward for a physics autodidact?

    Hi, everybody. I did an undergrad in computer engineering, and am currently happily in a software development position, but I've always had a passion for physics and could see myself loving being in a position where I'm working in clean energy. I've spent lots of free time learning about and...
  5. R

    Why are discussions about PMMs and Over-Unity machines forbidden on the PF?

    well my name`s doug I am not a sure enough sicentest I am just a fella with some ideas and no one to check them out sooo i figured i try here
  6. O

    Chemical Engineer - MBA in Chemical Industry

    Experience in the fertilizer industry, with focus on environmental issues and energy recovery, clean technologies, process design and simulation, GHG balance. Published several studies on low carbon technologies as well as on Kyoto Protocol Communications.
  7. Seth Newman

    Will the clean energy industry be any different than oil?

    I was reading an article today about how Shell is discussing the move towards "cleaner" energy. This got me thinking. Eventually, most companies will be forced to move towards renewables as public opinion and natural resources become stacked against them. Many large oil and coal conglomerates...
  8. Alisdair

    Automotive Electric cars without clean energy supply....

    Hello all. I'm pretty disorganised and not very clever so I thought I'd ask you all... If you charge an electric car from a power station run on fossil fuel is it cleaner than a petrol car? I'm wondering after looking at the energy loss in converting fossil fuel to electricity and then in...
  9. Arubi Bushlee

    What is the process of invention?

    I make no promises: I came up with this idea for a new kind of nuclear fusion reactor. I do not want to give off any clues to how it works so I am going to be as vague as possible. I think it could be a viable means to nuclear fusion becoming... well, breakeven. I have by no means tested it...
  10. T

    How can a Physics major relate to clean energy?

    Hello, I am incredibly interested in Physics, so that is what I am majoring in Physics. However, I also want to do work in clean energy resources. Can I get a job in clean energy with a Physics degree? If so, how?
  11. S

    Electromagnetism and Clean Energy

    Hey, currently I am a high school graduate going into college in the fall, but that isn't why I am here. There has been this question eating at the back of my head. Is there some way to induce an electromagnetic field, that could then induce a current in a wire or other some such medium, to...
  12. K

    Engineering What major should I pursue for a career in clean energy engineering?

    Hi, I am a junior in high school starting the college process. I want to go into engineering focusing on clean energy. For example, designing windmills or fuel cell engines. My dream job would be working for a company that builds clean energy plants. What major should I pursue? Are there any...
  13. B

    Likelihood of making a career out of clean energy?

    So, here's the situation: I'm a second-year engineering student at a not-exactly-prestigious school (Wright State University for the morbidly curious), and my current plan is to carry my education all the way through to a Master of Science in Renewable and Clean Energy. Do you really think...
  14. K

    Clean energy and more drinking water.

    Ok, as usual I might have gotten a concept wrong here, I usually do. If that is the case then please point it out to me. The "natural" state of hydrogen and oxygen is to combine to H2O. That is, if you put them in proximity they react together to form said molecules. Now, we can use energy to...