How Climate Change Is Impacting Alternative Energies

Ainsley Lawrence

Alternative energy solutions play a critical role in ending the climate crisis, but these solutions are in themselves affected by climate change. As extreme weather events — from unexpected heat waves to increasing flash floods and wildfires — continue around the globe, challenges and opportunities can both be expected in the large-scale implementation and production of sustainable energy.

Professionals in the alternative and renewable energy sectors must be aware of the ramifications of climate change on their industry if they want to mitigate the risks. In this article, we’ll examine four key considerations for industry leaders as the climate crisis continues to shape every corner of the world.

Unpredictable Weather Challenges Alternative Energy Production

One of the biggest challenges in the alternative energy sector is the rising unpredictability of the weather in the face of climate change. Without stable weather, many alternative and renewable energy systems are unable to reliably produce an adequate amount of power to support growing demand. In fact, the reliability of sustainable power supplies could decrease by 16% when extreme weather events occur.

On the other hand, increasing cases of mild weather, as well as cold waves, could prove challenging in areas where long days of sun are expected. Most large-scale solar energy systems — and alternative energy systems in general — aren’t easily transportable, so production will naturally slow if the availability of light and heat moves.

Extreme weather conditions also have the potential to cause complete outages for alternative energy systems. Unexpected events, like wildfires and tropical storms, could physically damage infrastructure or significantly reduce energy generation.

Fossil Fuels Growing Increasingly Unsustainable

Of course, the impact of climate change isn’t exclusive to alternative energies. The climate crisis has also made offshore oil production much less feasible than in the past. For example, companies like BP and Chevron both had to cease a large amount of fuel production due to the recent Hurricane Ian. If these shutdowns continue to increase, it may lead to severe financial consequences that may fuel the demand for alternative energy over time.

Fossil fuels will also grow more unsustainable due to extreme weather, increasing the time-sensitive need for alternative energy. Already, warmer temperatures are making crude oil systems more inefficient. Plus, the rise of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) in response to hurricane risks could lead to far more water and air pollution. The need for alternative energy professionals to figure out large-scale implementation is becoming more pressing.

Changes in the Supply Chain Could Affect Implementation

One of the most noticeable impacts of climate change could be a rise in pests, which may also grow larger, become more damaging, and spread more diseases. Building materials, infrastructures, and food supplies can all be damaged by these ever-evolving pests. The way we build houses and commercial buildings will need to change, which could affect how alternative energy systems need to be implemented.

Similarly, alternative energy professionals may need to reexamine the durability of the materials that make up their systems to prevent disruptions to their own production.

Even if fluctuating pest populations don’t impact alternative energy systems directly, it’s sure to impact the supply chain. Faced with extensive damages, producers, suppliers, and other players may not be able to accommodate or fund a smooth transition to alternative energies.

Climate Change Fuels Alternative Energy Demand

The silver lining is that extreme weather events are sure to make the effects of the climate crisis more tangible and real for the global population. Consumers will increasingly demand sustainability initiatives from brands, which will encourage more companies to practice corporate social responsibility. Business leaders will be urged to implement more sustainable technologies (like solar panels) and reduce paper usage, which can contribute to growing decarbonization efforts.

As climate change continues, keep in mind that more and more eyes will be on the energy industry and its efforts to create a more sustainable future — and even alternative energy producers have work to do. Finding new ways to boost efficiency, like using software to view real-time energy analytics, is essential for every organization in the energy industry.

Tackle the Barriers to a Greener World

While alternative energy is a key solution for fighting climate change, it’s not completely unaffected by the crisis at hand. Professionals in the alternative energy sector can expect greater reliability issues in production due to the unpredictability of weather across the globe. The climate crisis may also demand changes to alternative energy infrastructure, especially as pests evolve.

However, hope is certainly not lost for alternative energy producers. While these challenges may make implementation more difficult, alternative energy still remains a far better, more sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Plus, as climate change causes drastic weather conditions, many consumers will continue to demand the use of greener energy systems. The role of professionals is to focus on making alternative energy more reliable and durable in the coming years.

Ainsley Lawrence

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