After having worked in the oil industry for five years and seeing first hand the impact oil production may have on our planet the experience caused me to ask myself, “Is there a better way?” This and many other questions sparked curiosity to the effects our current methods have on our people and the way we live and work. On a global scale renewable energy supplies a significant benefit to our planet such as, lowering energy costs, job creation, and preserving the environment. With energy costs continuously on the rise and more frequent disasters affecting us as a whole, the fact remains that moving toward renewable energy forms most certainly makes these problems vanish. Though not an easy task it is safe to say that the world is headed in a green direction.
Energy costs have risen in the Unites States and around the world. Colder cities tend to spend more heating their homes. Gas prices have soared as high as four dollars per gallon. Overall, people have been spending money to fulfill everyday needs. We know the every day commute to work makes the money required to bring food home and the gas, as still many homes are equipped with, heat homes and cook the foods we eat. Still people never really understand that if it cost money to use these commodities then, the cost to make transform this energy must be high.
Interestingly, the coal mining industry acquires these “diamonds in the rough” by two methods surface mining and underground mining. Surface mining, where miners take the coal from the surface using sophisticated machinery, enables greater quantities of coal to be available at a lower cost. On the opposite end of the spectrum, underground mining at somewhere around one thousand feet becomes more expensive as there is a need to transport individuals via elevator down with special equipment to do this task. Despite one method being more expensive, these processes cost no where near the expense in getting the product moved where needed.
The cost to transport these commodities affects the price to the end user more so than production. According to the encyclopedia of Energy, in order to generate electricity approximately ninety three percent of the coal is used for that purpose (Research and Development, 2004). The high cost comes from transportation via train. Though other options may be available, power plants designed make steam for companies in the electric power sector, large industries and businesses use coal for this purpose. A variety of industries such as, steel, concrete, and paper also use this combustible black rock to produce items needed, for example, bridges, buildings, and automobiles. Important by-products from coal can be removed to be used in making plastics, tar, synthetic fibers, fertilizers, and medicines. The magnitude of the use of coal plays a major role on cost and the ability to transport creates increased cost ineffectiveness. Without exact care mining can have a negative impact on water quality, plants and animals, damage scenic views and alter landscapes. Inclusively, debris that block mountain streams can result from mountaintop removal and toxic waters can drain from abandoned underground mines (Transitions in Energy, 2004).
In contrast, oil production costs more than coal because, unlike coal, this “black gold” has to be refined to be used where coal is simply burned. Items such as, ink, crayons, CDs and DVDs, tires, and even heart valves descend from this non-renewable product. Fuels for getting around, such as, gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel and others, after refining, come from oil. From offshore drilling rig maintenance, personnel, equipment, and operation to refineries that breakdown crude oil for all our various energy uses, the cost to do this can range from billions to build to millions to maintain. Drilling companies spend hundreds of thousands to geologists and surveyors to find the proper drilling sites. The separation, conversion, treatment, and storage of this...
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