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Micro Power

Renewable energy and the Internet have been identified as the major factors that would lead to a more sustainable future. In fact, the first two among the pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution include the need to shift to renewable energy and to transform building stock into micro power plant. It is argued that the latter can help in the collection of the renewable energy on-site. In addition, micro power is also lauded for its efficiency as it reduces the amount of energy which is going to waste. It has thus been fronted as the best way through which different nations like the US and the UK can secure their power supply. This write-up will present an argumentative essay on whether micro-power is a future solution in terms of sustainable energy.

Kennard (2011) argues that with the current world concern on the depletion of the oil reserves, global warming and the need for a sustainable source of energy for the future, various experts and nations have pointed to micro power as the viable future solution. It has been proposed by a number of scholars that the best way, in which nations like the UK will be sure of securing the their supply of power, is through decentralizing it to the lower level and not leaving its control to the national level. This can best be done through the use of the already available technologies of the micro power (Micro-power electronics, 2012). Such technologies include fuel cells, small wind turbines, photovoltaic, molecular biomass systems, and micro-generators. The technologies have been compared to the wireless cell phones that faced out the traditional phones that were grid-connected and the today’s portable laptops that are currently facing out the bigger mainframe computers (Hemberger, 2006).

The technologies allow easy distributed generation. This means that they make it possible for power to be generated either near or exactly at the places where they are used. This means that it does not require large-scale grid connections that are mandatory in cases, where the big power plants are to be installed. Additionally, it helps avoid the 10% power lose that is normally realized during the transmission of power (Kennard, 2011). Such advantages can never be realized in cases of the large-scale power stations, which are normally centralized in stations located several miles away from where their consumers are. This distributed generation has the potential of making the facilities used in the generation and distribution of the energy less vulnerable to such illegal groups as terrorists, because of their sparse distribution. A good example is a case where a business is operating on the energy generated by a fuel cell set in the basement of the same business building (Brown, 2005).

In addition to this, the technologies associated with macro power also have the potential of helping in combating some desperate situations, which make certain countries be victims of fanaticism. This would be possible since by solving their energy requirements, the nations, which implement these technologies in their production of energy, will be able to redirect much of the resources to providing their citizens with such basic needs as health and education as well as having ample time for their economic development (Rifkin, 2012).

Kennard (2011) argues that irrespective of the fact that it may not be easy to realize economic development, and that such a process may take such a long time, the technologies utilized by the micro power present the countries with an option which, if utilized, can enable the world to greatly improve the state of the word power through increasing their economic opportunity. He calls them the green ways in which economies can realize great development. Noting that even presently, around 2 billion of the world’s population do not have access to electricity, Kennard (2011) argued that the best approach to helping this unfortunate group would be to provide them with electricity. This could help them in a number of ways including lighting, refrigeration, radio, healthcare and television. He gave an example of the possibility of using a small micro generator, which is of the size of a refrigerator, and can generate an average of 25 kilowatts of electricity to provide power to a whole village within the developing countries.

Baker (2012) notes that the US is among the nations, which have taken advantage of micro power technologies. It is currently the world’s leading exporter of solar electric, fuel cells, modular biomass systems and small wind, which it exports to the developing nations. From this export of energy generation, the country has been realizing five billion US dollars (Kennard, 2011). This shows that besides being environmentally friendly, the technology also has the economic potential. With the current development and spread of microcredit financing organizations, it is currently possible even for the poor among the world’s population to secure mini-loans with which they can buy the energy generators that they can use onsite (Njeri, 2011).

Even when compared to other sources of energy like the nuclear energy, the micro-energy has still remained to be the most viable source of energy. Brown (2005) argues that empowering homes to own micro generators, which they can use in the generation of heat and electricity, can be the cheapest way of meeting the energy needs of such countries as the UK. DeAnander (2006) equally expressed his conviction that embracing such technologies as those associated with the micro energy can be more efficient in combating the present problem of climatic change compared to other available technologies like that of the nuclear stations.

Guternberg (2012) notes that nations like Britain are presently encouraging micro-generation in homes, streets and within the offices. It is seen as having the potential of creating more employment opportunities than other sources of energy like the nuclear energy. Equally, Chris (2010) observes that micro power technologies have been proved to be more cheap and capable of producing faster results. Another advantage of this technology is its use of solar, hydropower, wind and tides at the same time. This means it enjoys security of supply, because whenever one supply source fails, another one can be relied on. Additionally, it makes it possible for any surplus in the amount of electricity produced to be to be put into the local grid (Either 2012).

According to the report published by Brown (2005), it is estimated that micro-generation would be capable of generating a net income of 35 million pounds annually. He based this on the fact that these technologies are capable of generating electricity through consuming very little or no fuel at all. Mahart (2012) also argues that with many calls on the governments to redirect their concentration and resources to the provision of micro power technologies, it is clear that the governments like that of the UK will have to avoid concentrating much on nuclear power to support this initiative.

Additionally, the technology has been applauded for its potential in reminding the public about the source of the energy they are enjoying its use. This makes it easy for the public to embrace the need to protect and conserve their environment. Woodford (2011) notes that this will, in turn, help combat the effect of the observed global warming. It is, therefore, without doubt, that with the increasing innovation in the micro-generation technologies and the revelations of the costs associated with such energy sources as the nuclear energy, micro power will automatically remain as the preferable source of energy for the future.

Brown (2005) noted that even though many sources of renewable energy are still more expensive compared to the fossil fuels, the technologies can make use of such cheaper sources as the landfill gas and the onshore wind. Holst Center (2009) adds that the reduced cost of these sources makes micro power preferable to nuclear, because of the high cost of nuclear power and its radioactive emissions. 

Case study: Micro Power Economy of Rural Electrification.

This was an enterprise that was started in Senegal with the goal of setting up a profitable power provider, which does not require grid connections in their operation within the rural areas. The system also targeted a strict use of the renewable energy sources like that of the wind and the Sun. It also aimed at enhancing sustainability in both the social, economic and environmental dimensions for the customers, as well as those who invested in it. It established power systems that operated on their own while seeking to promote the development the enterprises that had been set up among those living in the rural areas. This helped to promote the viability of the power supply in the rural areas in which it operated (The SEED Initiative, 2010).

It utilized a unique business model, which enabled it to provide a technology which is green energy technology in nature. It also provided relevant trainings in business as well as microfinance services, which help promote the economic growth of its areas of operation while, at the same time, seeking to greatly reduce the involved risks. This has thus made many investors be interested in investing in the rural electrification. The project has since experienced the social, economic and environmental effects (The SEED Initiative, 2010).

Socially, the project aimed at benefiting the public by providing the lighting, which was to enhance the security in the regions. It has also made the refrigeration of vaccines and various medicines possible. In addition, the light has been utilized in the local schools and households, which has continued to improve the level of education as well as awareness as it has made it possible for the people in these areas to utilize the media. Environmentally, the projects strictly make use of those sources of energy that are renewable. This has, in turn, made it possible for a great reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases being released to the atmosphere (Hemberger, 2006). Economically, the project has continued through the provision of the reliable energy supply increase job opportunities as people venture into various economic activities.

Conclusion

It is clear from the work and the case study that if well utilized, the technologies have great capacity of helping making people’s life better while, at the same time, safeguarding the Earth against the effects of global warming and the other short-term effects of the use of fossil fuels. It will also help promote the world peace since nations will not have to fight for oil, whose reserves have only been detected in a handful of nations.    

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