November 30, 2011
Renewable Resources Sky Rocket
Fossil fuels have been used around the globe for many centuries. Each year fossil fuels pollute the earth and in turn contribute to global warming. Pollution from fossil fuels is harmful to humans, ecosystems, as well as the overall environment. Fossil fuels pollute streams, rivers and even vast areas of the ocean. Just recently there was an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; this spill caused the deaths of large amounts of aquatic wildlife as well as polluting beaches for several miles. This event could have been avoided entirely by relying on renewable resources such as nuclear, geothermal, wind, and solar power. Renewable resources are a great key for success because of their availability, cleanliness and overall safety. Renewable resources are available in vast amounts, most of them can never be depleted and they are very clean sources of energy while fossil fuels are high in pollution, are becoming harder to find, and are more costly to produce. These are some reasons why renewable resources have been used at an increasing rate, while the use of fossil fuels continues to decline. Renewable resources can be found in many different forms. “Renewable energy, also called green energy does not deplete natural resources and creates little to no pollution when it is generated” (Renewable Energy is). Two very important renewable resources are nuclear and wind power. Nuclear power is a very efficient source of energy, “Nuclear power can provide enormous quantities of energy using very little amounts of raw material and without causing air pollution or contributing to global warming” (Friedman 10). Nuclear power is widespread and used as a primary energy source in the United States, “Nuclear energy already provides about 20% of the energy America consumes” (Friedman 10). Nuclear power is an easy resource to create, “Nuclear power is an alternative energy source that can be obtained from either the splitting of the nuclei of atoms or the combining of the nuclei of atoms” (Nagel). These two processes are known as nuclear fission and nuclear fusion; respectively. Nuclear power is efficient enough so that “A single kilogram of uranium undergoing various stages of nuclear fission can ultimately produce 7 million kilowatt-hours of power” (Friedman 98). Nuclear power is well known for its ability to power large areas with only small amounts of fuel. According to science world magazine, “one pound of nuclear fuel generates 52 megawatt- hours of electricity, enough energy to power every home in Detroit for an entire week” (Friedman 98). Although fossil fuels still remain the top providers of America’s fuel, “Nuclear power plants provide electricity to one in every five American homes and businesses” (Friedman 98). Nuclear power although not perfect, as stated it does provide cost effective renewable energy. Wind power is a very clean and renewable energy source for the future. Despite the fact that “It would take an estimated 260 to 300 square miles of wind turbines to generate the amount of power produced by one nuclear plant” (Friedman 97), wind power is still very efficient. This energy source is derived in a much different manner than nuclear power. “Wind and hydroelectric power are the direct result of differential heating of the earths surface which leads to air moving about and precipitation forming as the air is lifted” (Renewable Energy). One of the great things about wind power is with technological advances; wind power becomes easily available and more efficient. “With today’s technology, wind energy could provide 20% of America’s electricity with turbines installed on less than one percent of its land area” (Renewable Energy).While technology advances, so does the popularity of wind power, “Wind power is now the worlds fastest growing energy source and has also become one of the most rapidly expanding industries, with sales of...