Global warming is the greatest catastrophe that humanity has ever encountered, despite the persistent arguments of climate change deniers. However, while the fight to save the environment will be long and tedious, there is still hope as long as everyone cooperates.
In particular, the private sector has the potential to contribute significantly to the global environmental effort. A straightforward way businesses can do this is by switching to renewable sources of energy, such as solar or wind.
Renewable technology may seem like an unrealistic proposition for companies seeking to improve their bottom lines. For many years, people believed renewables are more expensive and harder to maintain than conventional energy systems.
While this might have been true decades ago, renewable systems can now compete equally with fossil fuel systems. Companies stand to gain a lot of benefits from switching to renewables, and even now several Fortune 500 companies are already using renewables for all of their energy needs.
Lower Electricity Costs
Renewable technologies have become cheaper over the years as the renewable market becomes more mature. It is especially true for solar power, which has now achieved grid parity with conventional power in many areas. This is an astounding achievement, as grid parity means that electricity from solar is far cheaper than electricity from fossil fuels. Being able to beat the oil and gas industry, which is a centuries-old technology, is simply impressive.
For many renewables, the majority of the expenses comes from capital costs, including the cost of the equipment itself. Many systems use special electronics containing unique materials, which contributes to their relatively high prices.
However, operating and maintenance costs are usually negligible. Most importantly, renewable sources of energy can generally be directly converted into electricity. Unlike fossil fuels which need to be extracted and processed prior to use, you can use both sunlight and wind as is for generating electricity.
Because of all these factors, implementing renewables for your business is usually a one-time investment that repays itself by reducing the need to buy electricity. Also, many systems can last for decades under optimum conditions. Hence, renewables are indeed cheaper than conventional power in the long run.
Independence From External Suppliers
By producing their own electricity, corporations can reduce their dependence on electricity suppliers. In this way, it makes them resistant to the effects of price fluctuations, trade regulations, and other economic factors that can inflate the price of electricity. If businesses also invest in energy storage solutions, they can gain a reliable source of power, giving them an advantage in regions that suffer from electricity shortages.
Renewables, by their nature, are more sustainable than conventional sources. They contribute minimally to greenhouse gas emissions, which would otherwise accelerate global warming. They also produce less pollution. Hence, they are vital components of any large-scale environmental advocacy, and companies that practice corporate sustainability should include renewables in their portfolio.
Aside from the environment, companies can also directly help communities by choosing to switch to renewables. If conditions are right, they can sell excess electricity to the grid, helping reduce market prices and increasing the power available to the region. In places where electricity is short, this can be a godsend.
Renewable energy is a powerful tool for corporations seeking to balance their desire to dominate the business world with their responsibility in promoting a sustainable way of life. While renewables have been unfairly branded as too expensive and too idealistic, they are viable strategies which are accepted by companies such as Apple and Google. Perhaps your corporation should be the next one that reaps the tangible financial and environmental benefits of renewable energy.