Renewable energy is energy that originates from natural sources, which is a continuing and nonpolluting energy that is replenished due to its perpetual natural motion. These sources are commonly solar, geothermal, wind and tidal energies. Comparing different countries’ use of renewable energies -- in Portugal this year, close to 45 percent of its electricity will come from renewable energy sources (Rosenthal, 2010). This compared to 10.1 percent in the United States (U.S. Energy Administration, 2010). In addition, Italy exceeded the U. S. in solar panel installation this year (Gipe, 2010) and China is now the world's largest producer of hydroelectricity (Business Green, 2010). The difference between renewable and nonrenewable energy as far as their effects on the environment is substantial as the renewable energies such as sun, wind, and tidal energies create no pollutants and are a continuing, renewable source. Fossil fuels (emitting carbon dioxide) and nuclear energy (creating stores of radioactive debris) are not sustainable from the perspective of continuing availability of resources and the limiting factor of their negative effects on the environment. The difference between energy conservation and energy efficiency is that “energy conservation” is the limiting of energy use -- and “energy efficiency” is the minimization of the consumption of energy by making the mechanism using the energy more efficient (and thereby requiring less energy to operate). In order to increase the use of renewable energy in the United States we need to develop a unified consensus on what energy is going to be used for which application so as the cost of renewable energy will decrease by the simple effect of supply and demand due to mass production and competition. Additionally, there will need to be federally and state mandated controls on the implementation of these energies in order to facilitate the transition as well as to more efficiently eliminate the use of...
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