Renewable energy installations are expanding around the globe. Although there is excellent potential for achieving sustainability with multiple types of renewable energy, no energy source is a panacea. There are place-specific costs and benefits from every energy type, and the scale of production influences impacts. Industrial-scale renewable energy sources usually merge into existing energy grids and may often be connected to broader economic and political initiatives. Such as regional integration, development of new growth poles to stimulate economic expansion in areas without infrastructure, job creation, or trade expansion. With the exception of desert solar projects or initiatives in remote areas, most large-scale renewable energy projects tie onto existing electrical grids and infrastructures rather than transforming prevailing systems. To achieve energy sustainability broader changes are likely necessary. Renewable energy projects of all sizes are increasingly paired with efforts to promote energy conservation, improve efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, increase energy access for the marginalized, and provide other social and ecological co-benefits .

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Copyright © 2014 Gale. This article first appeared in Achieving Sustainability: Visions, Principles, and Practices.

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