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Conventional Energy: Advantages and Disadvantages

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  • Last Updated : 23 May, 2022

There are many resources on our planet Earth to produce energy. Some of these resources are used only for a single time, deposited in limited quantity, and are also harmful to the environment, on the other hand, some resources are used repeatedly without endangering the future and eco friendly. Let’s discuss the Energy. 

It is one of the most essential components of social and economic infrastructure. For the economy of a country, the demand for energy in all sectors is increasing day by day. It has very much important for the existence of mankind. 

Classification of the sources of Energy:

There are two major sources of Energy:

  • Conventional Sources of Energy
  • Non-conventional sources of Energy

Conventional Sources of Energy

When a source of Energy cannot be reused after using it once, we call them a conventional Source of Energy. The conventional Sources of Energy are fixed and harmful to the environment. It can be further categorized into two divisions, such as

1. Commercial sources of Energy ( such as coal, petroleum, nuclear energy, natural gas, etc.)

2. Non-commercial sources of Energy ( such as firewood, straw, dried dung, etc.)

Nonconventional sources of Energy:

These types of resources get renewed or replenished fast for that reason, it is also known as renewable energy or clean energy.

Example: solar energy, wind energy, hydro energy, tidal energy, etc.

Now we discuss the importance of the sources of Conventional Energy. 

Coal:

It is a fossil fuel and most abandon conventional Sources of Energy. This involves a long process that takes place over a long period of time at least 200  years. It is mostly used for generating electricity by thermal plants. It contributes about 67% of total commercial energy. There are four types of coal of which Anthracite and Bituminous coal are mainly used to produce energy. In India Damodar valley including the Chota Nagpur region, The Godavari basin is the most important Source of coal production. India also imports some good quality coal from various countries such as Australia, Indonesia, Russia, etc.

Oil or Petroleum:

India is the 3rd largest oil-consuming country in the world. It is a mixture of hydrocarbons. The estimated reserves of crude oil in India in 2018 stood at 595 million tonnes. It is the most conventional Source of Energy and is used abandoned in India and all over the world. India completes 70% of its need by importing crude oil from Iran, the USA, Saudi Arabia, and other countries. 

Natural Gas:

It is a mixture of Methane, Ethene, Propene, Butene, and hydrogen sulfide. It is also making a significant contribution to the household sector. Natural Gas is extracted by ONGC. According to an estimate, there are 450 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves in India. Out of this reserve, 75% lies in Bombay High, 12% in Gujarat, 7% in Andhra Pradesh, and 6% in Assam. Almost 40% of natural gas is used in the fertilizer sector, about 30 % is used in power generation, and about 10% in LPG(cooking gas). Iran is the largest exporter of natural gas to India. It causes less air pollution.

Nuclear Power:

It is a valuable source of clean energy in which a very small amount of radioactive substance can able to produce a lot of energy. Uranium, Thorium, Plutonium are used as raw materials to produce nuclear power. At present, there is 17 nuclear power plant in India. Maximum of these plants are situated in the western part of India. It contributes only less than 4% of the total energy production.  India’s nuclear power programme is aimed to increase the present installed capacity of 6.78 GW to 22.48 GW by 2031. 

Fuel-wood:

It refers to various forms of wood used for cooking, heating, driving steam engines, etc. The various forms of fuelwood are firewood, charcoal, pelleted sawdust, wood chips, etc. A maximum of fuelwood is used by the rural people to produce energy for their day-by-day cooking. Rural people collect woods from natural forests and plantations. But over consumption of fuelwood led to deforestation. Combustion of this resource also causes the emission of toxic gases into the air. So, nowadays people are using coal or biogases as a substitute for fuelwood. According to an estimate, in India, almost 67% of rural households still depend on firewood or wood chips for cooking.   According to the data released by the Ministry of Statistics in 2015, there is a decline of only 12% over two decades.

Sources of Energy consumption in India:

Contribution of the sources of Conventional Energy

Percentage

Coal

48%

Petroleum

26%

Natural Gas

7%

Fuelwood

1%

Electricity

4%

Nonconventional energy

14%

Total

100%

                   

Advantages of Conventional Sources of Energy:

1. The efficiency of the energy sources is high. Because from 1gm of uranium we get 1 MW energy, from 1-tonne coal we get 2460 kWh energy.

2. The production expenses are low. According to government data of August 2021, the price of Uranium is $50/lb.

3. The raw materials of conventional Sources of Energy are easy to transport. Raw materials such as coal, petroleum, natural gas can be transported easily through trains or ships from one place to another.

4. Generally it doesn’t need any specific place for installation. The government can easily set up a conventional plant according to their requirements. Such as if the government wants to install a thermal plant in Uttarakhand or in Jammu they can easily install it.

5. Though it can generate energy instance, so there is no need to wait and it produces much energy as the requirements.

Disadvantages of Conventional Sources of Energy

1. They are the main reason for the pollution. Because it is released carbon monoxide from polluters into the atmosphere. According to The International Energy Agency, only in 2018, India emitted 2,299 million tonnes of carbon monoxide. This report also said that India’s per capita emissions were about 40% of the global average and contributed 7% to the global carbon dioxide burden.

2. Generating radioactive waste. We all know about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster which happened in 2011. Recently Japanese government has decided to release radioactively contaminated water into the ocean. But the environmentalists warn that it should be harmful to ocean life.

3. High startup cost. According to the government estimate, the cost may be about 50 to 70 crores INR for setting up a 10 MW thermal power unit. Whereas to set up a nuclear power plant, it is required  ₹60,000 crores. 

Government policies:

 Government introduces historic schemes like SAUBHAGYA, UJALA, and UJJWALA to extend citizens’ access to electricity, affordable efficient lighting, and clean cooking.

In recent times, the government wants to shift its energy-generating sources from conventional to non-conventional (solar, wind, hydro energy, ocean current, etc.) methods to minimize environmental-related pollution.

The performance of Category wise generation during the year 2020-21 was as follows:-

  • Thermal Reduced by – 0.98 %
  • Hydro Increased by – 3.51 %
  • Nuclear Increased by – 7.41  %
  • Bhutan Import Increased by – 51.27 %
  • Solar, Wind & Other RES – 6.44 %
  • Overall Growth rate recorded by – 0.52 %

Global Facts:

According to The Energy Progress Report published by International Energy Agency (IEA), the global electrification rate reached 89% in 2017 (from 83% in 2010), but about 840 million people are still living without access to electricity.  With the rapid growth of the population, the demand for energy is also increasing gradually. The consumption of energy in the country is increasing at the rate of 12% per annum.

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