04 May 2014
Renewable Energy’s Search for Policy
The topic of moving to renewable energy sources has always been a controversial one. Although many new developments in renewable energy have made it more affordable, convenient, easier to capture, and easily stored, there is still a resistance to clean energy by politicians. The money that comes from the petroleum industry drives current energy policy, making it difficult for any type of change. There is also a natural fear of change by both the American public and politicians alike when it comes to altering a way life that people have grown accustomed to. However, with the prices of petroleum going up, politicians are beginning to take notice that more and more of their constituents are looking to renewable energy not merely for environmental purposes, but to save money. Renewable energy is a resource that cannot only help clean up air pollution but can also be sustained. It will create new fields and areas of employment resulting in permanent jobs for the American public. These are just a few of the reasons that environmental policies should focus on developing renewable energy.
There are many benefits to using renewable resources but there are three that stand out and are most commonly discussed. Cleanliness is the first thing that is associated with renewable energy. Secondly comes its sustainability, which goes hand in hand with its endless supply of natural harvestable energy. Next are all the advances in technology that have made renewable energy affordable and in most cases substantially less expensive to harvest than nonrenewable resources.
The cleanliness of renewable energy is its most common and widely known benefit. The use of resources like wind, solar and hydroelectric has a zero emissions output. The fact that they attribute zero greenhouse gases while being harvested and used for energy is a significant benefit for their use over traditional fossil fuels. The reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a bi-product when burning fossil fuels, would be the biggest environmental contribution of using renewable resources when it comes to air pollution. This would drastically help move the nation forward to a cleaner and more sustainable environment and life.
The sustainability of renewable energy resources is the next most commonly discussed benefit of using resources such as wind, solar and hydroelectric. There are many other forms of renewable resources such as geothermal, nuclear, biofuels, biomass, and wave energy. However, wind, solar and hydroelectric are currently the easiest and most inexpensive to harvest, store and use. Michael Brower, one of the leading experts and physicists on renewable energy stated, “Most important, resources of renewable energy are vast and inexhaustible” (18). He also discussed in his book Cool Energy that “Sunlight falling on the U.S. landmass caries about 500 times as much energy as the U.S. consumes in one year” (18). This makes the energy from the sun the most fruitful and sustainable renewable energy on the planet. The arguments that the sudden need for renewable energy resources has become so widely discussed is because the planet is nearing the peak production of fossil fuels, cannot be substantiated. This is because no one knows for sure exactly how much fossil fuel remains in the earth. For this reason many people believe that the push towards renewable energy is not necessary, which is a little disconcerting. Regardless of what any one expert says, it is common sense that unless a resource is renewable, at some point it will run out. Obviously this is one of the biggest benefits of renewables over fossil fuels. With technology moving as rapidly as it is today, sustainability and affordability will be the biggest benefits of renewable energy resources in the near future.
Renewable energy is becoming more and more affordable with all the...
Cited: Brower, Michael. Cool Energy. Cambridge: Union of Concerned Scientists, 1990. 27-72. Print.
Brown, Lester R. "Exciting news about renewable energy: the world can shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2020 if we adopt the right public policies." Mother Earth News Oct.-Nov. 2012: 44+. Gale Power Search. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.
"Frequently Asked Questions." U.S. Energy Information Administration. N.p., 2 Aug. 2013. Web. 28 Apr. 2014.
Perlmutter, Daniel D., and Robert L. Rothstein. The Challenge of Climate Change : Which Way Now? First ed. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. 27-218. Print.
"Renewable Energy for America : Wind Energy." Natural Resources Defense Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. This article will provide data for the affordability of wind energy.
Saad, Lydia. "In U.S., Expanding Energy Output Still Trumps Green Concerns." Gallup. N.p., 16 Mar. 2011. Web. 5 May 2014.
Tennesen, Michael. Global Warming. Second ed. New York: Penguin Group, 2008. 197-244. Print.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document