No technology is entirely benign. Renewable energy technologies may have far less impacts than the global impact of fossil fuels, but they do have local impacts. How do we trade off local and global impacts? In this Briefing, Dave Elliott establishes the basic sustainable energy options and their potential problems in the short, medium and long term, dealing with the counter-arguments. This means looking at changes in the way we live and behave. Is it possible to use renewable sources to sustain economic growth indefinitely?