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Following various environmental campaigns against damaging effects of non-renewable energy on people and the environment, many countries have embraced alternative or efficient forms of energy to replace their non-renewable sources. Notably, the UAE has not been left out in supporting alternative sources of energy. It is argued that in the past few years, the UAE has embarked on several strategies to ensure clean and safe alternative sources of energy that can combat climate change. In line with this, many projects have been started to replace non-renewable sources of energy with efficient or renewable ones. One such project is the solar project in Dubai, which is a part of the 2030 initiative Integrated Energy Strategy. The project aims to greatly reduce energy consumption in Dubai and lessen various negative impacts that fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources have on the environment. Therefore, this research paper compares costs, efficiency, effects on the environments, difficulties, and potential of alternative sources of energy and their nonrenewable counterparts. The main research question is: Between alternative and nonrenewable energy processes, which are more efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly?
The debate over renewable vs. non-renewable sources of energy has existed for many decades. This has been largely contributed by environmentalists because climate change is associated with pollution caused by fossil-fuel forms of energy. According to The Wall Street Journal(2009), the view of the UAE on various issues pertaining to alternative sources of energy has changed considerably in the past few decades. More initiatives and researches are being launched in many emirates, for example Abu Dhabi and Dubai, in the field of renewable sources of energy. Economists argue that although non-renewable sources of energy are harmful to the environment, the UAE has been one of the richest nations in the world mainly because of exports of natural gas and petroleum.According to Hamdan (2012), although many emirates have built their economies on fossil fuels and other forms of non-renewable sources of energy, many of them have embraced alternative sources of energy realizing that oil and natural gas reserves are being depleted at an alarming rate; if this continues, many of these sources of non-renewable energy will become exhausted by the year 2030.
According to various conservation advocates, renewable sources of energy have high initial costs compared to non-renewable sources of energy. Taking for instance the Dubai lengthy solar project, the government has saved up several US dollars, as the project is predicted to be completed by 2013 and will take place in several expensive stages in terms of manpower and technology. In terms of costs, it is argued that alternative sources of energy require expensive technology to achieve the required reduction in greenhouse gases’ emissions(Energy Matters, 2012). However, environmentalists argue that alternative energy projects improve efficiency and hence pay quickly and help nations in saving their natural sources of energy from depletion. Non-renewable sources of energy may seem cheap, as they require available technology and expertise. In reality, however, they are costly in terms of depletion and negative impacts they have on the environment. As Abdel (2012) argues, this is the main reason why the UAE has started many projects and initiatives aimed at ensuring that alternative sources of energy are supported by all. In terms of efficiency, renewable energy processes have outweighed non-renewable ones. This is because the use of renewables does not lead to depletion no matter the demand. On the other hand, fossil fuels and other non-renewables are depleted and hence cannot meet the demands placed on them. In terms of consumption, alternative energy processes costs less than non-renewable sources of energy. Economists argue that the prices of electricity are expected to continue rising because they are based on the prices of non-renewable sources, for example crude oil, which are being depleted each day. Therefore, renewable sources of energy can help cut electricity bills. Many emirates have also launched tax incentives such as credit deductions for renewable energy processes, as they want every energy-producing company to go green.
All sources of renewable energy such as the sun, ocean, geothermal power, and many others are abundant and replenishable. In line with this, these sources of energy are free to use with no fear of permanently damaging their environmental sources. According toChristopher (2009), this is the main reason why Abu Dhabi and other emirates have supported many alternative energy projects because the rising demand for energy has placed much pressure on its natural ores, which are currently nearing exhaustion. On the other hand, non-renewable sources of energy are limited; currently, they are either nearing depletion or have already been depleted in various parts of the UAE. Environmentalists point out that climate change is mainly caused by global warming. Global warming, on the other hand, results from accumulation of greenhouse gases, for example carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere; these gases are produced from non-renewable forms of energy such as fossil fuels. According to Dargin (2010), pollution from non-renewable energy processes forms one of the main crises in the non-renewable energy production in the UAE. On the other hand, renewable energy processes are safer and environmentally friendly, as they produce low amounts of carbon emissions in the atmosphere and hence help reduce negative impacts that lead to climate change.
Research shows that despite the fact that many conservation advocates and environmentalists are campaigning for renewable energy processes in the UAE, the concept is still to be picked up by various local and national energy-producing companies. According to Thomas (2011), Abu Dhabi has become serious in matters relating to conservation of energy to encourage its people to embrace renewable energy processes. Some potential difficulties caused by renewable energy processes are their initial costs in terms of expertise and technology. However, many emirates’ governments are willing to cut taxes and offer various financial aids for companies deciding to go green. Many energy-producing companies in the UAE continue to exploit non-renewable sources of energy such as fossil fuels, as they seem to be cheap. However, the main problem caused by non-renewable energy processes is heavy taxation placed by environmental policies and unsustainable exploitation leading to depletion. However, it is argued that for renewable energy processes to be practical, governments should be ready to launch initiatives such as public campaigns and education on their importance to make people more informed about these processes.
As it has been clearly outlined, the benefits derived from renewable energy processes outweigh those of non-renewable energy processes. Many emirates such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai are adopting renewable energy processes despite the fact that their economies were built from non-renewable energy exports, mainly petroleum and natural gas. The main reason behind this is that renewable energy processes have proven more cost-efficient, efficient in terms of consumption, and above all environmentally friendly. Because of this, many governments are supporting companies that have decided to go green to combat pollution caused by greenhouse gases produced from fossil fuels hence contributing to climate change.