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Determining a good balance between a rising economy, the need for environmental protection and social responsibilities in order to provide a good life for the current and future generation is what is energy sustainability. In other words, it is meeting the needs of the current generation without compromising the future needs. In this day and age where the energy demands are rapidly increasing, renewable/sustainable energy technologies׳ adoption is the way to go. Sustainable energy is the need for today not for environmental or political reasons only but for the future generations. It is easily said than done. There are twenty-eight barriers that have been identified, some of which include financial barriers, technical barriers, and market barriers like different pricing structures; institutional, political and regulatory barriers; and social and environmental barriers (Luthra, Kumar, Garg, & Haleem, 2015).
Some of them are technology specific while others are related to an individual region or country. I think the 3 major barriers are high initial cost, transmission losses and lack of consumer awareness. High initial capital cost A lot of technology for generating renewable energy is imported, if not in entirely then some parts of it (Prof. Mark Jacobson). The initial cost of renewable energy technologies tends to be higher which might be a withholding factor for the consumers to use it. A lot of people would give more importance to keeping the initial cost lower rather than decreasing the operating costs. As Prof. Jacobson gave the classic example of solar energy generation which has high upfront cost but zero fuel cost and over 15 years usually a person can pay it back.
Transmission and distribution losses: A lot of renewable energy availability and transformation depends in geographical condition and if the point of generation is far away from the point of consumption can lead to high transmission and distribution losses (Luthra et al., 2015). Also, the need to locate a place to set up wind turbines or solar farms requires negotiations, contracts, permits, etc which can delay or kill the projects. After finding a place and setting up the plant, new transmission infrastructure is needed which can again increase the cost.
Lack of consumer awareness to technology
Poor access to information regarding the sustainable energy sources compared to conventional energy technologies is an important barrier (Luthra et al., 2015). Also, lack of awareness about cost and benefits of sustainable energy technology among stakeholders results in reduced interest and commitment to promoting them (Reddy & Painuly, 2004). Also as Prof Jacobson mentioned that individuals can play a big role in energy sustainability by buying more efficient bulbs/appliances, using electric cars but in order to do all this the public should be aware of these solutions.
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