decentralized energy series, pt 1

This is the first assignment I composed for my Environmental Studies III class; I wrote & edited it in only an hour, so please (reasonably) criticize the hell out of it! Oh yeah, this’ll be the first in a series of the theme, “Decentralized Energy” (deja vu!).

Conventional Wind Turbines


On Applying Sustainable Energy in Developing Nations

        The New York Times article, “Paying in Pollution for Energy Hunger” by Keith Bradsher (9 January 2007), reports on an ever-increasing energy demand in rural areas of developing countries by assessing the viability of various renewable and nonrenewable means of power generation within said environments. The article concludes by confirming the rise of diesel generators as a source of power for “millions across the developing world.”
        In the traditional sense, one expects an industrializing nation to rely heavily on the use of commercially inexpensive fossil fuels and related technologies as a means of energy generation, but times have changed drastically in just the past decade as humanity comes to realize the momentous scale of its negative impact on the planet. As such, the conventional if rather complacent argument that developing nations are “in the right” or should be using environmentally-destructive energy technology is invalidated. There are no longer many credible excuses for energy-intensive power generation, for the planet simply cannot afford us the resources for much longer.
        The ideal solution to finite resource constraints would have citizens change their habits by purchasing sustainable power devices, but as Bradshaw illustrates, market forces – not individuals – are primarily responsible for preventing the introduction of renewable energy technologies. The author demonstrates that “lavish” government subsidies for fossil fuels have suppressed prices “in many developing countries.” The realistic solution, therefore, must emerge from the entity with the greatest leverage over the economy: the government. To augment markets in favor of renewable energy technologies, governments of developing countries need only redirect subsidies towards relevant “green” industries. This would lift weight off the price of fossil fuels, causing it to rise as it would without unnatural constraint. Finally, such measures could pave the way for innovative decentralized energy solutions, hopefully resulting in self-sufficient rural communities that utilize their unique geographic environs for sustainable power generation.



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