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The Black Side of Green Energy

With the emergence of green power generation technologies, there has been lots of talk about the positive sides. Power generation through solar or wind power, for example, is sustainable and cost effective in the long run, and the green house gas emissions are minimal. There technologies are widely considered to be the best option out there, but there has been little mention of the cons.

As with any other new development in any field, green power technologies have the other side to them. It is not often talked about, as the technologies are considered an improvement from various oil, gas and drilling based solutions. However, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have now done research into it, discovering just what the negative side effects of renewable energy production are. Their report from 2015 shows that while the advertised benefits are accurate, the users should be aware of the risks, as well. The report analysed and compared mainstream renewable and non-renewable technologies internationally.

The report also included the impact on people, environment and resources. The findings discover some problems in all three areas; hydropower may dislodge local communities in the areas of production; the supply/demand ratio won’t always be equal, meaning continuous need for fossil fuel production; metals such as silver, indium and tellurium will be in high demand, which could lead to possible supply constrains at times. These form only a slice of the negative impact of the so called green production mechanisms. In any case, it is likely that the most optimal case would be a mix of energy technologies, and that any solution will always have drawbacks, as explained previously.

Based on this, it is clear that manufacturers and developers should take these aspects into consideration, and be aware of the consequences. Monitoring should happen constantly to stay up to date with natural resources as well as new technological breakthroughs that may mitigate the consequences of power production. While there is no one clear solution, research into the topic provides more information, which in turn can lead to innovation to improve these technologies.