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Travis Tessier Malcolm Cambell English 1102 February 12, 2014

Is renewable energy worth it?


Society uses energy on an everyday basis. Without energy we would not be able to use any of our technology. Renewable energy by definition is the energy that we will not run out of. The world is slowly depleting its everyday supply of energy sources, which causes a greater and increasingly more severe need for renewable sources. It is being debated whether or not to switch to renewable resources, or to continue using both until necessary. There are multiple types of renewable sources; these sources range from the very end of the earth from sun all the way to the ocean. The main types of renewable energy sources are solar, wind, hydroelectric, and the ocean. Renewable resources are very expensive and considered a luxury many cannot afford in todays society. However, these energies are vital towards making the world last longer and making energy more attainable. Solar energy comes from the sun, which is one of the most efficient renewable sources. Most renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. Solar energy can be used directly for heating and lighting homes and other buildings, for generating electricity, hot water heating, solar cooling, and a variety of commercial and industrial uses (Solar Energy). Solar energy is harnessed by solar panels which can be put up anywhere. The cells in the panels are made of semiconductor materials similar to those found in computer chips. When sunlight hits the cells, it knocks electrons loose from their atoms; as the electrons flow through the cell, they generate electricity (Solar Energy). Some people who want to be green

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buy panels to put on the roofs of their houses. When doing this if you harness more energy then you use, you can actually sell it back to energy companies. This makes the world use less energy and saves the homeowners money on their electrical bills. The average square feet of solar panels needed to power a home is about 600sqft ,and costs $55,000 to install and pay for the solar panels(Solar Energy Statistics). When panels are not placed on houses they are usually placed in very big fields in big groups to harness as much solar energy possible. These solar panels, however, are very expensive and take up a mass amount of space. Electrical engineers are working on trying to make the solar panels more efficient, so that people can harness more energy off of each panel so there are not so many needed and each individual one will produce more in a smaller and space span. Panels take up a lot of space which could be used for farm land or even houses. Wind energy is another very efficient way to obtain energy. It is harvested by putting gigantic wind turbines in a open field to utilize the wind and convert it into usable energy. The U.S. wind industry had over 60,007 MW of wind energy capacity operating by the end of 2012. The fourth quarter of 2012 saw 8,385 megawatts of wind power capacity installed, bringing total 2012 additions to 13,131 MW for the largest installation in U.S. history representing a $25 billion investment. Then by the end of 2012, there were 45,100 operating wind turbines in the U.S. which were able to power the equivalent of over 15 million American homes(AWEA). Each wind turbine that produces 2 Mega Watts costs from 3 to 4 million dollars to buy and install. Although costly, these wind turbines have the abilities to power a vast amount of land and urban areas. 20 wind turbines take up about 1 sq Kilometer, although in that sq kilometer it is possible to have roads and small farms. Animals are not affected by the turbines so it is possible to raise livestock around them. Overall I believe that the turbines are a great source or renewable energy

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especially due to the fact that they do not take up too much needed space. 4 million turbines could provide the world with 7.5 terawatts of energy annually, about half of the estimated power necessary to run earth's power grids in 2030(US news). If these turbines were perfected and made more efficient there would be less amount of turbines and it could generate power for a more vast area of land. Hydro electric and ocean energy are very similar but are not exactly the same. The most common Hydroelectric power that we see every day are dams. The dams hold the water, and make the water travel through the dam therefore spinning the turbines. The dams can also store energy by spinning the turbines backwards and making the water go to upper reservoirs, and then when needed the upper reservoir releases and the water comes down and spins the turbines the right direction again. A small or micro-hydroelectric power system can produce enough electricity for a home, farm, or ranch (Hydropower). A small or micro-hydroelectric system example would be a little dam that is in a nearby creek, built to obtain energy. Ocean energy however, is a bit different. They both deal with water but the energy is obtained in different ways. Ocean energy is obtained through two different ways, tidal power, and wave power. Tidal power is achieved by turbines under water; as the tide comes in or out it spins the turbines which produce energy. If all suitable tidal sites in the world were exploited for tidal power, its estimated that 100 TWh of electricity could be produced each year, says Alstom Energy (Hydropower). Wave energy is produced by a floating device that uses waves to make energy. As the waves go by it, it makes energy which powers turbines to create clean electricity. These three renewable resources could change the world. They are costly but they do not take up crucial living space and they can produce vast amount of electricity for the world. Wave technology can produce 300 to 400 Megawatts of energy, tidal power can produce up to 100

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Tetra Watts if used in all the capable locations. Dams produce Gig Watts of energy. All of these if perfected could be more efficient and could end up powering the world and saving the little non-renewable resources we have left. Renewable energy has many benefits, although it can be very costly at first, it is cost effective in the long run. As seen in all the different resources, they all vary in cost, and all can obtain different amounts of renewable energy for the world. This is great for the environment, and also citizens who produce excess electricity can sell it back to electrical companies. "With being great for the environment, the global temperatures will get better, and the health of humans will increase with a cleaner environment. Cars powered by electricity are 80% more efficient then gas cars. 80% of electricity is used to power the car and 20% creates heat, where as in a gas powered vehicle is it much opposite, 20% powers the car and 80% creates heat. So the world now uses about 16.9 TeraWatts, but if the world was powered on all renewable resources, we would use about 11.5 TeraWatts. Another great benefit would be that the world would look nicer. All of the coal mines could be gone and that will eliminate 13,000 coal mines, of new or existing mines. If the whole world was to be converted to Renewable energy, in the longrun, the net savings would more than equal the total cost of the switch."(Bergeron). Even though Renewable energy sounds like a great option, many cannot afford it and it will take forever to get your money's worth out of it. Renewable energy is great, but it's not cost affordable. Catherine Wolfram stated "That changing to renewable energy is not worth the modest savings seen on the energy bill" (Harris). Seeing how renewable energy is outrageously priced, many are not ready to transform into using it yet. However, many believe that there is a break through over the horizon to push the US away from using non-renewable resources (Harris). Once the prices of renewable resources go down

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many people are believed to transform into using these resources. When people do this, they will not think of their houses and cars as bills, but as a way to make money by selling the energy back to the energy companies (Harris). Renewable resources are not the best way to live right now but in the near future it is going to be the best change in the world. Everyday Renewable resources get used for energy more and more. If only it was all perfected, and the whole world was running off of clean energy, prices would be at a all time low, and the environment would be in a lot better shape. Turbines and solar panels do take up space, but after research the only problem with turbines is they aren't very appealing. They are suitable to live around, people can have farms and raise cattle and will remain unaffected by the turbines. However I still believe that solar panels could be a issue because they cover a vast amount of land in order to harness the needed amount of electricity. People can put solar panels on their house which could help with the amount needed in fields but the main issue is that solar panels are way too expensive for the amount of energy obtained by them. Also the use of hydro power can produce a vast amount of energy for citizens, but will have to be paid for by tax payers. When the world has transformed into renewable resources, it will be a greater place for everyone. Once engineers and scientist figure out a way to make these resources more efficient, or cheaper, I believe more citizens would use them to power their own homes. There are many benefits to switching 100% to Renewable resources, however it's not worth it yet. Closing down all the coal mines, and making the world a greater place is what is needed. However, with the prices being so outrageous it is not suitable yet for all the citizens to do. As breakthroughs occur on renewable energy it will become more available for everyday people to use. However, until these breakthroughs occur I firmly believe the best decision is to continue using a mixture of both renewable and non-renewable resources. Many people right

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now cannot afford these changes, but when made cheaper it will be more affordable for everyone.

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Works Cited
"AWEA Fact Sheets: Quick Guides to Wind Energy." AWEA Fact Sheets: Quick Guides to Wind Energy. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2014. Bergeron, Louis. "Shifting to 100% Renewable Energy Would Save Money." Renewable Energy World. N.p., 21 Oct. 2009. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. Harris, Richard. "Tech Leaders, Economists Split Over Clean Energy's Prospects." NPR. NPR, 30 Nov. 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. "Hydropower." - Hydroelectric Power. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2014. "Solar Energy." National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. "Solar Energy Statistics." Statistic Brain RSS. N.p., 18 June 2013. Web. 26 Mar. 2014. US News. U.S.News & World Report, 10 Sept. 2012. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.

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Works Cited
"AWEA Fact Sheets: Quick Guides to Wind Energy." AWEA Fact Sheets: Quick Guides to Wind Energy. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2014. Bergeron, Louis. "Shifting to 100% Renewable Energy Would Save Money." Renewable Energy World. N.p., 21 Oct. 2009. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. Harris, Richard. "Tech Leaders, Economists Split Over Clean Energy's Prospects." NPR. NPR, 30 Nov. 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. "Hydropower." - Hydroelectric Power. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2014. "Solar Energy." National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. "Solar Energy Statistics." Statistic Brain RSS. N.p., 18 June 2013. Web. 26 Mar. 2014. US News. U.S.News & World Report, 10 Sept. 2012. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.

Final Thoughts: Over all a pretty well written paper. Good explanation of how things work. A little more time should be spent on explaining what would happen if present day energy options continue to be used. How would the world be affected by that? Is the time for renewable energy in the near future or is it not yet feasible? Also, there are many grammatical errors involving run-on sentences and misused articles. Also in your works cited page, almost everyone of your citations does not list a publisher and these are usually easy to find. Just a few things to touch up on and it will be a very nice paper. -Ryan Bargoil

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