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Positive and negative aspects to renewable and non-renewable Energy resources?

Need some help with a science questions:
What are some positive and negative aspects attributed to renewable and non-renewable energy resources?

5 Comments

  • Hey Mick, Jeff and Dave are both correct. Here are some benefits to renewable energy that don’t get talked about much. The primary draw back to any renewable energy is cost, but that is changing as you read this. If you invest properly in solar power today and take advantage of any grants and tax incentives, even if your electric rates do not go up as they are forecast too, you will get your money back over time, well within the lifetime of the equipment, and sooner if there is a rate increase in the future. There are also enviromental benefits. At one time there was an argument that a solar panel will never produce as much power as was used to manufacture it. First of all, this is not correct. The, “Embodied Energy,” in a solar panel is earned back in 2 – 6 years, depending on the type panel, where the raw materials were shipped from, and how it was installed and used in the end. Most panels are warrantied to last at least 25 years, and most last much longer than that. But the argument is not important anyway. We have been living with electricity for over a century now, so it isn’t going away anytime soon. The question is, “What is the best way to produce it?” If you build a panel, and put it along side a similar sized natural gas fired turbine generator for example, which earns back its embodied energy sooner? The answer is the gas turbine never does, because once you build it, ship it and install it, you now have to feed it natural gas for the rest of its life, so it keeps on digging itself a deeper and deeper embodied energy hole that it can never crawl out of. At least the panel has a chance to get even environmentally. So manufacturing and using solar panels in the end releases less pollution into our environment. The same is true for wind and hydro power, only the timeline is different.

    There are also mechanical and political benefits. We all know after the oil embargo of 1973, and the gulf war what it means for our country to rely on foreign oil. Wouldn’t it be nice if we only shipped in 20% of our energy instead of 60% the next time something like that happens? Our home has been powered by the wind and sun for years now, but we still remain connected to the electric grid. Last year alone there were two power failures in our county that lasted about a half day each. In both cases, we were not aware of them because our solar array kept on feeding the house. It’s difficult to put a price tag on something like that. Did you know that there are over 100,000 homes and businesses in the United States alone that use some level of solar power to operate their electrical devices, that’s good news.

    Beyond the mechanical, political and environmental benefits however, lies a less obvious benefit, the social benefit. Right now we pump oil out of the ground, and mine for coal. The process of getting those materials to market involves shipping, military escorts and other activities that use up a good portion of that energy as well as putting lives at risk. Jobs in alternative power are higher tech than jobs in coal mining, oil drilling and shipping, and there are more of them. Using more alternative power would require us to put more people to work, and increase our education base because the work involved requires certain skills. I would personally like to take all those people out of the coal mines, send them to school and put them to work building solar panels. Nobody would have to die again in one of those dark holes in the ground trying to find food for our hungry power plants. They could work on a factory floor where they would not be exposed to coal dust, radon and other toxins and dangers. Most of our solar and wind resources are spread pretty evenly over the middle half of our globe, so everyone has access. This puts people in Bogota on a more equal footing with people in Boca Raton by giving them access to electricity, heat and clean water, and the education to use the solar, wind and biomass resources that provide those things. Oil, coal and natural gas is generally piled up in a few places, such as Russia and the Middle East. This gives those countries and the richer governments that rule them more horse power in bargaining for the other resources of our planet. These are the things that wars are made of.

    There are other reasons, but I think you get the picture. For us, renewable energy has become something of a hobby It will probably never save us any real money, utility power in most places is really very inexpensive, but it’s a little like growing your own tomatoes. It’s usually cheaper to buy them at the grocery, but lots of people go to the work and expense to maintain a garden instead. We just grow electrons in ours. If you really want to learn more about the subject, there are some great sources to look into, I will list some below. Good luck, and take care, Rudydoo

  • Not all renewable energy sources are clean energy. Wood is renewable but if you burn it in a fire place it can be highly polluting.

  • non-renewable energy sources such as coal and such is cheaper but it causes a greater amount of pollution and greenhouse gases. Renewable energy sources do not pollute anywhere near as much but they are, for the most part, more expensive. Both of these types of energy production have undesirable effects on certain types of wildlife, non-renewable energy resources more-so.

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