The Renewable Energy Boom

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renewable energy

Reducing carbon emissions in developing countries has been an ongoing concern for many people. Using renewable energy sources can help to reduce greenhouse gases and create a more environmentally healthy world.

Environmental Impact

The U.S. currently relies heavily on nonrenewable energy sources, such as coal and natural gas. These sources are finite resources that took millions of years to form. Although they are still being created today, we are using them faster than nature can replenish them. Energy produced from these fossil fuels can create air pollution and cause damage to land, water, and other resources.

When fossil fuel is burned to create electricity, air pollution and greenhouse gases are being produced. These pollutants have been linked to breathing problems, neurological problems, heart attacks, and cancer. Renewable energy, on the other hand, can help to decrease health problems and overall healthcare costs. Wind and solar power systems are clean generators of electricity. These systems do not pollute the air or water.

There is essentially no water required to operate wind and solar systems so there is not a strain on the earth’s water resources. Fossil fuel plants, however, require water for cooling and can emit high heat steam which has a significant impact on our water sources and aquatic ecosystems.

Economical Impact

Along with the rebates and incentives that are available to homeowners, there are also economic benefits that could affect everyone. Renewable energy can lead to more jobs. Fossil fuel energy production is very mechanical, whereas renewable energy is more labor intensive.

Farmers and rural landowners could possibly benefit as well. They can supplement their regular income by leasing some or all of their land for wind or solar generation.

With a bigger dependence on renewable energy comes less dependence on other countries to import those nonrenewable resources for us to use. We can keep more of our country’s money within the country.

Future Prices of Renewable Energy

Although the cost of building renewable energy technology is expensive, operation costs are low because the fuel is basically free. Fossil fuel costs can vary dramatically and is susceptible to price swings. In 2008, there was a rapid increase in coal prices in the U.S. due to a high global demand. After 2008, prices rapidly fell because the demand decreased.

Renewable energy, on the other hand, is fairly stable. It is not as affected by natural occurrences, like drought. Fossil fuel plants that use water can be shut down or production diminished if water is scarce. Wind and solar do not require water to operate, therefore are not as affected in these situations.

Is Renewable Energy the Way of the Future?

The cost of renewable energy has been steadily declining through the years and is projected to continue decreasing as technology is improved. With developing countries making the switch to renewable energy sources, the burden placed on the environment by our need for energy will be lessened more and more.

 

Source:

https://www.nrel.gov/workingwithus/learning.html

https://www.nrel.gov/workingwithus/assets/pdfs/educational_resources/elementary/energy_environment.pdf

http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/renewable-energy/public-benefits-of-renewable-power#.WWAWx4TyvIU

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