Renewable Energy: A “Greener” Future: Myth or a Reality?
With the accelerating pace of the technological boom, the need for an efficient and practical use of Earth’s resources has astronomically increased. Traditional manipulations of fossil fuels represent an arduous and taxing means for producing energy to power further innovation. Therefore, novel methods of energy production are requisite to future technological progress. Therefore, investments into sources of renewable energy have expanded yet have met with heated discussion. The United States is a major consumer of resources such as coal, oil, and natural gas.
Consumers of energy continue to grow exponentially, which poses a huge challenge to these diminishing resources. Burning fossil fuels deters environmental longevity and growth because it accelerates the rate of negative climate change. Without a doubt, society must be efficient in utilizing its energy supply so it does not negatively impact human health. Although the revolution of green energy has won the hearts of the public, critics insist that this Green Revolution is an illusion that is deceiving the public.
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Thomas Friedman, author of “205 Easy Ways to Save the Earth”, emphasizes that for many years organizations never wanted to embrace the idea of going green because it failed to represent a profitable investment (Friedman 249). Indubitably, embracing renewable resources initially is a huge financial burden to local communities who cannot allocate the necessary capital within their budgets. Universally, societies tend to reject solutions that require effort and rank the community above an individual’s benefit.
This apathy about a prospectively beneficial venture is disheartening; the current infrastructure stifles exploration and investigation into the eventual transition to renewable resources. In fact, after the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the American government rushed to extract coal and gas resources within the region. The truth of the matter might seem unpleasant, but the fact remains that solar energy cannot accommodate the demands of the growing American public (Friedman 252). Without additional research into green alternatives, not only will popular support dwindle, but investments into the discipline will diminish.
Therefore, current speculation insists that there is insufficient information regarding the longevity of green energy. On February 2006, George Bush famously proclaimed, “America is addicted to oil. ” (Bryce 19). America’s obsession with oil has become commonplace even within the public opinion. Yet every country has needs that correspond to oil use, including China (Bryce 20). However, with the climax of political events growing increasingly worse, American dependence of foreign oil has become a liability.
Robert Bryce, author of “The Gusher of Lies”, argues that society is not realizing the lucrative opportunities that are associated with energy production and resale (Bryce 47). In his divisive criticism, Bryce argues that losing political control on regions within the Middle East for renewable energy represents a gamble the government cannot afford to lose. Control of the Gulf Coast equates to $49. 1 billion in revenue for the American economy. Oil is a commodity that spans beyond the energy needs initially posited by the government.
Oil itself represents a symbol of power and necessity that America must continue to extract to maintain its supremacy as a world power. One example of a renewable energy source that may help shift the United States towards energy independence is solar energy. A solar initiative can be a very robust solution that can power residential and industrial areas without increasing waste accumulation. One of the many advantages that solar energy offers is substantial reduction in pollution since no byproduct exists.
Additionally, solar power can help provide electricity within remote locations where traditional electricity generation becomes financially irresponsible. Undoubtedly, this provides flexibility and a seamless integration with the nation’s future technological roadmap. Installing solar panels in remote locations are cost-effective and can create a channel for an optimized energy production. The prospect of a future wherein the sun’s energy is harnessed to power communities and the nation’s infrastructure can be a reality with the proper investments.
The innovative thought experiment has been studied over time and certain disadvantages have been revealed. It is noteworthy to highlight that while increased production to fringe areas may promote the endeavor, those areas already operating with energy production from traditional means will not sacrifice their quality of service. Solar panels cannot provide the best quality of energy synthesis, which can be attributed to the design of the panels. While the idea remains in its infancy, there is a dearth of vendors in the market who are willing to invest in identifying the resolution.
Another facet of the Green Revolution is the concept of hybrid vehicles. Hybrid vehicles have been the pinnacle achievement as society continues to progress towards greener energy solutions. Conclusive research proves that hybrid cars are more effective in optimizing and reducing gas emissions in the environment compared to traditional cars. For instance, the renowned Toyota Prius was one of the first hybrid vehicles to gain popularity in the market and is perfect for an individual engaged in a long and arduous commute.
The idea of owning a hybrid vehicle seems quite attractive for young couples and older parents who are frustrated with the high gas prices. Additionally, hybrid vehicles are durable, which means no emission testing. Indubitably, hybrid cars represent the next generation of transportation designed to keep pace with the growing demands of the nation itself. The future of hybrid vehicle looks positive as scientists continue to develop and optimize these vehicles for daily use.
Although most drivers do not want to sacrifice brand and power in America’s capitalist economy, the demand for hybrid vehicles will steadily climb as people become increasingly environmentally conscious. Wind power has become one of the most rewarding sources of renewable energy (Bao 249). Wind power possesses a huge industrial base that is gradually becoming a primary source of energy globally. The allure of wind derives from its efficiency; drawing energy from wind-powered constructions produces no fuel costs unlike other renewable energy solutions.
As electricity prices continue to skyrocket, wind power offers a comprehensive holistic solution. As with solar energy however, wind power has its own drawbacks. The case may be made against the structure on grounds of its aesthetically displeasing construction within the community (Bao 250). In fact, this cosmetic change might be a drawback for communities that emphasize a more natural look (Bao 253). Additionally, since wind panels take up a lot of land usage, not many communities may have the budget or the resources to support these types of projects.
However, ultimately energy derived from both the wind and the sun should be focuses within the realm of green, renewable energy (Bao 251). Since the weaponization of the atomic forces, scientists have increased efforts to redefine nuclear forces for productive and not destructive purposes. Currently, nuclear energy has become the grounds for providing 16% of energy worldwide; presently, “the percentage of electricity coming from nuclear reactors ranges from 78 % in France to just 2 % in China” (Macdonald 45). Nuclear power is the natural force behind the light energy emitted by the fission of the suns and stars.
For many decades now, scientists have replicated that phenomenon to reproduce energy through nuclear fission from the breaking down of atoms. Because of the abundance of nuclear power, plants can produce electricity long after coal and oil become scarce. Like other renewable energy sources, nuclear reactors also limit pollution, a fundamental disadvantage posed by coal and oil power plants. The greatest indictment against using more nuclear energy is quite simple – it’s dangerous (Krista 18). Undoubtedly, nuclear reactors are dangerous because they may emit radiation if the facility is compromised.
Radiation is the explicit cause of post-reactor malfunction destruction and can affect the lives of millions even after tragedy. With disasters like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima I nuclear accidents, governments worldwide hesitate to embrace nuclear reactors within their borders. The end waste product is also problematic with regards to proper disposal. Nuclear waste must be handled with caution and complete a special cooling process. The cost of creating these cooling processes is an issue that may not be financially or environmentally feasible.
With all the frenzy around green energy, the government has taken initiatives to involve itself in the issue. For example, the United States Department of Energy has funded heavily in research and development of alternative fuels to support the rapid change in transportation services. One of the legislatures that is a gateway for this effort is the FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies program (Krista 36). This initiative allows the Department of Energy to develop advanced technologies that reduce the consumption of oil and promote the cleaner air.
To combat the needs of growing infrastructure demands in cosmopolitan areas, the federal government has enacted laws to better serve communities. The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an autonomous intergovernmental entity that carries out research and tries to reduce carbon emission in buildings to mitigate the adverse affects of climate change. The agency focuses on synchronizing energy efficiency with maintenance of environmental protection (Krista 50). The IEA is well-known for their success in keeping low carbon emission levels and educating the public about energy efficiency.
The IEA sets guidelines for contract companies by creating benchmarks of energy measurement and management, propagating new systems design, and assessing the environment (Krista 51). Moreover, this organization continues to expand globally in other nations to promote its mission of developing and facilitating “the integration of technologies and processes for energy efficiency and conservation into healthy, low emission, and sustainable buildings and communities, through innovation and research” (“Energy and Water”).
Undoubtedly, organizations are taking actions to conserve energy in both transportation and infrastructure. The government is in the midst of taking some of the most essential actions and promoting certain legislations that will dictate the future of green energy. Although the United States is the largest consumer of energy globally, it has implemented certain laws that set guidelines for energy consumption. Clearly, more policies must become laws to promote the effort to “go green. For example, New Jersey has developed a Master Plan that enables the state government to meet 20% of its energy requirements with renewable sources. Moreover, the state will able to reduce emissions to 80% below the levels in 2006 by the year 2050 (Zamfirescu 213). However, one cannot diminish the impermeable fact that oil and coal will continue to drive energy production for decades to come as identified by Robert Bryce and Thomas Friedman. Therefore, the government is taking the necessary actions, yet new laws need to be consistently reenacted and revalued (Zamfirescu 214).
For instance, retrofitting local government facilities can reduce energy and promote savings. In addition, retrofit projects can serve as models for other municipalities; for example, many communities are taking the necessary steps to conserve energy by replacing lamps with metal halide lamps that use 82-93% less energy (Zamfirescu 213). As technology advances, communities and governments must keep pace by installing novel remedies to terminate the disease of pollution to protect the environment for the future generations.
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