The environmental dimension of sustainability includes greenhouse gas emissions, impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, hazardous waste and toxic emissions, water consumption, and depletion of non-renewable resources. Energy sources with low environmental impact are sometimes called green energy or clean energy. According to a study conducted by the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW), India will require over 5,630 GW of solar and 1,792 GW of wind energy to achieve its net-zero goal by 2070. Cleaner technologies such as solar energy and batteries will aid India’s transition to a circular economy from its current linear economy.
Why the need for a circular economy
- According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), India’s entire installed solar capacity may create up to 325 kilo tonnes of trash by 2030. They are not only harmful to the environment, but they are also difficult to dispose of. Silicon and lithium are two examples.
- A consulting firm, JMK Research and Analytics, estimates that the market for battery recycling will be around 23 Gigawatt hours (GWh) by 2030. The prevalence of a circular economy could also partially insulate these industries from potential supply chain shocks triggered by extraneous developments.
- Recycling obsolete wind turbines is a tough task in the wind energy industry.
- Disposing of renewable energy waste is a difficult problem in the case of nuclear energy.
Importance of recycling
- The call for a creation of a circular economy is significant since an efficient waste management ecosystem would be necessary to manage the enormous waste generated by renewable energy projects in the coming decades
- It ensures energy security, which can reduce manufacturing costs and make energy more affordable.
- It has a positive impact on human health.Wastes that produce dioxins and other poisons, for example, are hazardous, especially when they are dispersed into people’s lungs.
- A circular economy will help India decrease environmental impact and pollution
- It Creates new formal jobs throughout the waste management and recycling value chain.
- The majority of India’s recycling industry is unregulated, and labourers are forced to work in hazardous conditions for low pay and a circular economy will bring workers from the recycling industry into the formal economy.
- Define the roles and responsibilities of the various players in the renewable energy value chain.
- Policymakers should alter existing electronic waste management standards to include a wider range of renewable energy components.
- Improved product design and quality to reduce waste generation at the source and its subsequent environmental effect.
- The dumping and burning of several components should be prohibited since they are not ecologically friendly.
- Development of financing mechanisms for new waste management facilities
- Assuring a minimal waste quantity for these facilities to operate, as well as giving recyclers performance-based green certifications.
- Mandatory procurement of recycled materials by renewable energy and other related industrial companies will create a market for recycled resources.
- Interest rates on loans issued for the construction of renewable energy waste recycling plants can be reduced by public and private sector banks.
- The renewable energy business should invest in recycling technology research and development so that we may discover new ways of recycling that are more efficient and have a lower environmental impact.
- Set goals for garbage collection and recycling on a yearly basis.
- Toxic metals such as cadmium and lead should have substitutes.
- The Centre and state governments should have strict quality control norms for components used in their bids.
How to structure
- Give an intro about the need for a sustainable energy ecosystem
- Explain briefly about renewable energy’s role in this. Then move onto what a renewable energy recycling ecosystem is
- Explain how a recycling ecosystem is needed for a sustainable energy future. Make sure to bring the concept of circular economy.
- Mention the challenges faced
- Mention government measures in this regard and suggest measures