What are The Main Pros of Renewable Energy
We know our supplies of oil, coal and natural gas are limited to what is still available to be mined and tapped. Coal and oil reserves could be gone in just fifty years according to some experts. Clearly, it's not smart to wait until we run out of fossil fuels to begin thinking about what fuels can replace them.
Trees keep growing, the sun keeps shining and the wind blows in some areas every day. Huge volumes of water falling from the gates in a hydroelectric dam will the flow downstream as intended. The water will be replaced with water from rain and snowmelt and the cycle continues.
With fossil fuels, the cycle is at its end. Oil and coal were formed during millions of years and we have managed to use up most of these energy sources in just a few generations.
Oil, coal and natural gas are fuels readily available but they will eventually be gone. The current focus on renewable energy is not the same as it was twenty years ago.
There have been alternative energy advocates for many years but usually the arguments were about saving the earth from pollution of burning fossil fuels. Today we may be literally talking about saving the earth.
The truth is, the most advanced industrial nations in the world would be hardest hit if fossil fuels were suddenly not available. In third world countries, many people are still accustomed to cooking over a wood fire or live in structures that blend with nature. They often work outdoors and adjust work schedules to demanding climates.
Advanced SocietyOur advanced society is not prepared to live without a sufficient supply of electricity. Our factories would grind to a halt and our homes are not designed to take advantage of nature to heat and cool them. We have built cities that can't be traversed without a vehicle or public transportation and we often work far from where we live.
The harsh reality is that in countries that are less developed from a lifestyle point of view, the people are better able to adjust to using less or no electrical power.
In the U.S. a power outage of a few hours is enough to greatly upset many people and should gasoline supplies be cut off, panic would result.
It is the reliance on energy that has allowed us to create a level of comfort in our daily lives that citizens of many countries can't imagine. The more luxurious our lifestyle becomes, the higher our dependence on energy sources.
Today we are facing the reality that fossil fuels will not be available forever. The concerns of environmentalists are being taken seriously and we are looking into the renewable energy with an eye to the future.
We are accustomed to think of energy production as coming from one or two fuels. Coal fired furnaces in homes were gradually replaced with oil fired furnaces and many of those are still in operation in older homes across the country. Natural gas is, we are told, the fuel of the future. It's true we have a huge store of natural gas and it does provide clean energy.
However, it has not been fully tapped or utilized and is available only to homes in certain regions of the country. Should all of our energy needs be met with natural gas rather than oil and coal, we would soon see shortages of non-renewable natural gas.
Our energy needs continue to grow and efforts to educate the public about conservation of electricity have slowed the pace only slightly.
What is becoming apparent is that renewable energy resources also have disadvantages to overcome. These are not insurmountable problems and in many cases are far less serious than the risks of environmental damage associate with fossil fuel use.
In the future, our electrical power may not come from a select fuel but may be provided by using multiple forms of renewable energy instead. Some areas may be powered by huge wind farms while others capture and use the energy of the sun.
Hydroelectric plants will continue to power the area around them while tidal energy and geothermal fields will product electricity for other parts of the country.
The pros of renewable energy are in the lack of environmental damage and in the ability of the energy sources to capture and use energy sources we have never considered before. Wind energy is a good example of this.
The wind blows constantly in some areas. This is true of the Midwest plains where you never lack for a stiff breeze across the flat topography.
Trade winds provide the same wind power in some coastal areas and wind turbines can also be located just off the coast in the water where they consume no valuable land in a highly populated area like the Northeastern states.
Advances in technology are beginning to address the problems of solar and wind energy by improving batteries that can store power when produced and provide power during low production hours.
This has been a drawback in the past as storage of solar and wind energy adds considerably to the cost of installation. It's likely the pros of renewable energy will far outweigh disadvantages in the future.