A Greener World: Renewable Energy

For decades, a cleaner and cost-efficient energy source have always been the primary objective of industry sectors. Each year, global energy costs sum up to a total of $6.4 trillion, however, with the right type of energy source, sustainability can be attained. It is evident that energy sources immensely help us accomplish daily tasks and acquire our basic needs. The start of this new era brought forth a change in the lifestyle of many, specifically, the transition from traditional energy sources to renewable ones bringing with it a promising future.


To begin, the world population produces a whopping 380 million tons of plastic every year, and to add up to that, 91% of global plastic isn’t recycled. Plastic takes thousands of years to decompose, contributing to the worsening state of pollution. Plastic debris that ends up in bodies of water are often mistaken by marine animals for food, and once ingested, can lead to fatality. To combat plastic pollution, Amager Bakke, one of the largest waste-to-energy plants in northern Europe, was built in Denmark in 2017.


It is led by the Danish Ministry of Environment and continues to convert 400,000 tonnes of waste annually. In return, it produces electricity and heat that is supplied to approximately 150,000 households. Moreover, a tire pyrolysis facility will be hosted in the port of Danish Nyborg. Pyrolysis which refers to the thermal decomposition of biomass done with the absence of oxygen and any of the halogen elements is the safest way to decompose waste as it is performed in a confined area which prevents harmful dioxins from being emitted into the air. This method not only reduces waste in landfills and greenhouse gas emissions but the steam released also powers a turbine to generate electricity.


Secondly, SM Prime Holdings, the largest retail operator in the Philippines, consists of 72 operating malls which occupy over 4.5 million square meters of land. After two years, a solar power facility that is twice the capacity of the initial installation was built in SM Mall of Asia. Currently, SM now maintains a total of 33,000 solar panels capable of producing 8.9 megawatts of electricity. In its most recent project, the construction of a 1.3-megawatt solar rooftop system in the SM City Bacoor was finally completed, making it the 11th solar-powered SM mall. In its first year, it is projected that the mall is capable of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 8,493 metric tons and save up to P10.3 million in electricity cost each year. Up until this day, SM continues to expand its green initiatives through the installation of renewable energy sources.


Lastly, the New Zealand government targets acquiring 90% of the country's energy from renewable sources by 2025. Currently, the West Windfarm located in Wellington city houses over 62 wind turbines and has been generating up to 142.6 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 73,000 households each year. By 2035, the government has announced its intent to achieve 100% renewable electricity generation, furthering its sustainable efforts.


In conclusion, renewable energy allows us to satisfy our own needs without compromising the ability of the future. Converting plastic into a new energy source, significantly reduces waste in landfills. The use of solar and wind energy to generate power also paves way for a greener future. Retiring old, less-efficient, fossil fuel plants to build more wind farms, erect more solar panels, and other sustainable means of acquiring power is one way to take advantage of our advancing technology. There will always be growing opportunities for both the public and private sectors as the world continues to seek the pursuit of maintaining balance in both the environment and the economy. This is further enhanced by the commitment of those who strive to be catalysts for innovative and sustainable living.


References


“Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant.” Power Technology, June 21, 2021. https://www.power-technology.com/projects/amager-bakke-waste-energy-plant.


Rivera, Danessa. “More SM Malls Get Solar Power.” Philstar.com. Philstar.com, September 8, 2017.https://www.philstar.com/business/2017/08/26/1732948/more-sm-malls-get-solar-power.


“SM Expands Green Initiatives with 8 More Solar-Powered Malls.” SMIC Website. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://www.sminvestments.com/press_release/sm-expands-green-initiatives-with-8-more-solar-powered-malls.


“Danish Pyrolysis Plant Recycles 30,000 Tons of Tyres a Year.” State of Green, August 6, 2019. https://stateofgreen.com/en/partners/state-of-green/news/new-danish-pyrolysis-plant-will-recycle-30000-tons-of-tyres-a-year/


“Pyrolysis.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/science/pyrolysis.


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