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Savannah Nugent

Professor White

Eng. 1201

24 March 2018

Renewable Energy Should Be Favored Throughout My Community?

If someone told you that there was clean, efficient, and cost-effective energy available,

you would most likely choose that option. Renewable and non-renewable energy has been a

highly controversial issue throughout the world for decades. Renewable sources are natural

sources that are incessantly regenerative without being depleted which include wind, solar,

geothermal, hydropower, and biomass energy. Non-renewable sources also known as fossil fuels

are substances such as oil, natural gas, and coal. The United States has used fossil fuels since the

beginning of energy consumption. We use them to power our automobiles, factories, homes and

so much more. The problem with fossil fuels is that there is a limited supply and the process

takes thousands of years to complete (R. Energy). That is one thing that both the critics and

supporters of renewable energy can agree on although there is no accurate estimate on when

fossil fuels will diminish. Renewable energy is ecofriendly, helps stimulate the economy, and

decreases America’s dependence on oil from foreign countries. The fact that renewable energy

can constantly be replenished should press communities to invest in alternative sources to

continue a bright future.

Fossil fuels are cheaper and a small amount can manufacture a lot of energy. However,

burning fossil fuels such as gas, oil, and coal causes particles in the smoke to rise in the

atmosphere where it remains for either a few years or even a thousand years. Greenhouse gas are

gasses that trap the suns radiation created by the byproducts of fossil fuel combustion thus
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creating temperatures to rise known as global warming. The increased water vapor created from

carbon dioxide boosted the chemical ozone production in urban areas. Global warming impacts

could range anywhere from the loss of coral reefs, fisheries, increased storms and droughts, even

sea levels rising (Krupp).

Not only does greenhouse gases effect the ecosystem but mankind as well. The pollution

caused by greenhouse gases kills 3.3 million people per year. Among these deaths 55,000 came

from the United States. Since the industrial revolution these gases have been emitted in the

atmosphere from mankind. The Clean Power Plan terms carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the

Clean Air Act which has an ultimate goal of putting limitations on the amount of carbon

emissions created by electricity-generating power plants, the source of about 37 percent of the

U.S. carbon emissions. Studies show that if we were to implement the Clean Power Plan, it

would reduce untimely deaths in the U.S. by 3,600. While 90,000 children would have fewer

asthma attacks (Adams, Jill).

According to a study of global carbon emissions in 2012 the world population pushed an

estimated 35.6 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere. That averages to an unsettling amount

of 19 tons per person (International Business). The science behind renewable sources can

eliminate a significant amount of carbon from the atmosphere. Some argue that global warming

does not exist. However, studies indicate that temperatures have risen between 0.7 to 1.5 degrees

Fahrenheit during the twentieth century alone (Flynn). The chart below shows that increase and

with the continuous population growth the amount of fossil fuels will only escalate. To ensure

continued economic prosperity we must invest in alternative sources of energy before the

catastrophic effects of global warming are irreversible.

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“Increase in Global Temperatures Shows 2016 Warmest Year on Record.” Tribune

Content Agency Photos, 2017. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 24 July 2017.

Natural gas is a fossil fuel that has surged in the past centuries. The method of extracting

that gas involves hydraulic fracturing, in which workers drive millions of gallons of liquid

underground to break open rock formations. This process has caused some negative responses.

The most common complaint is that fracking contaminates drinking water. One example of all

the backlash seen from fracking is the controversial keystone pipeline protest where supporters

from all over the world joined together to oppose such methods. In an article by Lena Groeger

she claims that, “Since 1986 pipeline accidents have killed more than 500 people, injured over

4,000, and cost nearly seven billion dollars in property damages.” (Groeger, Lena). The number

of accidents that have occurred due to fracking raises questions on whether or not the benefits of

fossil fuels are exaggerated and the benefits of renewable energy are downplayed.
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The United States depends on foreign countries that have political instability for fossil

fuels. The current dependency of imports that the U.S. relies on is more than half of its

necessitated consumption of fossil fuels. People usually lean towards the cheapest available

energy source which is fossil fuels subsequently, the cost continues to increase as a direct result

of environmental restrictions. This is mainly due to dangers of transporting the fuels. We have

seen time and time again the damaging effects of oil spills throughout the world. Like the 2010

oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico when 3.19 million barrels of crude oil was leaked into the Gulf.

This accident cost BP $61.6 billion dollars in clean up (Hance, Jeremy).

When the world gets closer to the depletion of fossil fuels the prices will soar as in the

1973 Arab Oil Embargo. During this time the price of oil per barrel first doubled, then

quadrupled, imposing skyrocketing costs on consumers and organizational challenges to the

stability of national economies (McGarvey). This in turn made people want to discover

alternatives that would make America independent from the oil in the Middle East. The United

States technology is geared towards the use of fossil fuels so, it is understandable a new

alternative source can be daunting but nonetheless necessary.

The fact that fossil fuels are a finite source should urge mankind to explore different

options to continue to power the future for generations after generations. Frank Gaffney

president of the Center of Security Policy says the U.S is losing 828,000 jobs every year and

losing $305 billion because of its oil dependency from foreign countries (Security). Investing in

energy sources within our country can keep the money circulating within the local economy

rather than overseas. This would bring a plethora of benefits to the economy and country in

which we live.
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The critics of renewable energy claim that renewable energy cannot harness enough

power to support the necessitated amount of energy needed. Fossil fuel energy is currently

supplying 87% of the worlds energy (R. Energy). There is enough wind and solar energy alone to

power the world however, there are issues with harnessing and storing power when wind and sun

are not available. Further science is needed to exploit those issues. There are both positive and

negative side effects that come from the use of renewable and non-renewable energy. Weighing

out the pros and cons of each source can lead us in right direction when choosing what’s best for

us globally.

Wind turbines are another source of renewable energy, wind energy is generated by the

fan turbines that spin from the force of the wind and then turns a generator, causing the

production of electricity. As with any source of energy there are pros and cons, or side effects of

the technology involved in manufacturing or distributing such forms of energy. This form of

energy is ever changing with new developments every day. The national wind technology center

stated that by the year 2030 the united states could see a 50 percent reduction in the cost of wind

energy, and a drastic rise in the percentage of the U.S. being supplied by wind energy. Wind

energy has the potential to produce more jobs in America and is expected to increase every year

(National Wind Technology Center).

Wind energy requires large amounts of land to operate and could cause a disruption in

migration patterns. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of birds that are killed from

collisions with the wind turbines in the united states every year. Fossil fuels also greatly affect

our environment and its inhabitants as well as causing extinction level events with certain species

of animals, with more than 200 species being extinct since 1970 (Clemmitt, Marcia). The initial

cost is relatively high however, it improves air quality and can sustain the demands of energy.
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Stanford researchers projected global wind energy potential at 72,000 GW(gigawatt). Which

means that, wind can supply ten times the amount of energy the entire world would need

(Flavin). As of 2016 only 5 percent of the United States energy was produced from wind

turbines, as opposed to 37 percent being from fossil fuels (National Wind Technology Center).

Solar energy comes from the suns radiation and is converted to energy through the use of

solar panels. These panels are what deliver the electricity to heat and power homes and

businesses worldwide. Solar energy is very abundant and produces no pollution or carbon

dioxide. Critics argue that solar energy is unpredictable because sun is not always available and

only so much of the energy from the sun can be converted into solar photovoltaic cells. The

supporters of solar energy do not deny that there are some issues that need to be worked out

before energy from the sun can fuel the world (R. Energy).

Scientist believe that there are enough brilliant minds out there to tackle those issues.

There have been significant innovations in recent years when it comes to solar energy. One of

the most important advances came from Scientist Daniel Nocera and Matthew Kanan at MIT

(Massachusetts Institute of Technology). This development is the process where storing the

energy created by the sun can be stored for later use. The key factor that makes this process

possible is Nocera and Kanan’s formulation of a catalyst, which makes the process of storing

energy attainable. The process described by Nocera is, “… the energy to split water

into hydrogen and oxygen for storage. At night, the stored hydrogen and oxygen could be

recombined using a fuel cell to generate power while the solar panels are inactive." (Higgins,

James M).

Geothermal energy is a renewable resource that is produced from the heat deep under the

surface of the earth. Geothermal energy has the potential to provide energy at a low cost while
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having a minimal impact on the environment, and provide practical applicational uses as a heat

source. With newer drilling and extracting techniques being constantly improved geothermal

energy could be a viable source of energy. Also has the potential to stimulate economic growth,

especially the rural areas. Compared to the production of fossil fuels, geothermal energy power

plants produce very little amounts of air emissions (National Geothermal Collaborative). With

proper maintenance a geothermal power plant can produce energy for a long while.

This is a diagram of a geothermal power plant producing energy and heat to be provided

for use. First the water is heated and goes to the heat exchanger, which is then ready to be used.
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Then the once heated water returns to the ground cooled and ready to begin the process once


Hydropower energy is produced from water being ran through a generator allowing it to

produce electricity, only having to damn up a river to produce power. This form of energy has a

great protentional for economic growth with the positions in the power plants to keep them

maintained. Unfortunately, hydropower energy causes significant changes in river ecosystems

but, causes no pollution and can even facilitate in the management of fresh water (R. Energy).

The advantages of renewable energy outweigh the risk, with further research they could become

more advanced in providing clean efficient and environmentally and ecofriendly energy.

Biomass energy is made from plant and plant derived materials, which is the energy

expended from the photosynthesis process. This makes this a completely renewable resource,

also there is a give and take with the greenhouse gases. Which means the amount of carbon

dioxide burned is balanced by the amount it takes in (U.S. Department of Energy).

"Navy Uses Biofuel Blend." Tribune Content Agency Photos, 2010.”

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The picture above shows the united states navy going green by using a blend of biofuels

to power a F/A-18 Super Hornet. This being a push to grow the nation’s security department by

running their jets on renewable energy. Biofuels are very important because as of now it is the

only renewable alternative to fossil fuels in our vehicles we use every day. Every gallon of

biofuels used helps reduce the risk of all the harmful and toxic issues with spilled oil tankers and

leaking pipe lines.

The critics of renewable energy claim that jobs will disappear if the world was to actively

explore alternative sources of energy. They believe that shutting down the powerplants that are

already in service will put the economy in a recession. They also claim that renewable energy is

not cost competitive and therefore should not be explored as a viable solution to meet energy

demands. For these reasons to hold any merit the critics would have to acknowledge the

consequences of fossil fuels and address them.

The fossil fuel industry employs about 600,000 people in the United States since 2017

Renewable Energy already employs thousands of people, the Environmental Defense Fund

estimated that there were 769,000 jobs in renewable energy with a job creation rate expressively

higher than that of the rest of the economy (R. Energy). Green jobs range from engineers,

accountants, scientist, constructors, operation managers, and so much more. The jobs that stem

from renewable energy can help stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment to 4.4 percent

from the current 5.7 percent (Podesta). The jobs available with renewable energy can cover the

amount of jobs lost with fossil fuels and create even more positions in energy than what’s

currently available.

Renewable energy should not only be favored in my community but, throughout

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the world. The bottom line is that renewable sources of energy helps stimulate the economy by

creating jobs and keeping our money local. The U.S would gain independence with reducing our

dependency on foreign countries for oil while the money that is outsourced to other countries for

oil would remain in the United States. The overall well-being of our planet would significantly

improve. Less deaths and fewer illnesses related to the pollution of fossil fuels would occur from

implementing renewable energy. Fossil fuels are a finite source of energy so, it is imperative to

find an alternative source of energy. While renewable energy does have some issues that requires

further research, it will ultimately help our communities prevail. I see renewable energy as the

only way to a prosperous future.

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Works cited

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Clemmitt, Marcia. "Species Extinction." CQ Researcher, 15 Dec. 2017, pp. 1041-64,

library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2017121500. Accessed 22 Marh 2018.

Cooper, Mary H. "Oil Diplomacy." CQ Researcher, 24 Jan. 2003, pp. 49-72,


Flavin, Chris, and Janet Sawin. "Renewable Energy Sources Can Meet America's Energy

Demands." Energy Alternatives, edited by David Haugen and Susan Musser, Greenhaven

Press, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 23 March

2017. Originally published as "Renewables: What We Meant to Say," World Watch, vol.

20, 2007, pp. 2-4.

Flynn, Sally Driscoll. "Global Warming: An Overview." Points of View: Global Warming, 31

Mar. 2017, p. 1. EBSCOhost, Accessed 18 March 2018.

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3b8ceb2. Accessed 25 Mar. 2018.

Groeger, Lena. "Pipelines Explained: How Safe Are America's 2.5 Million Miles of Pipelines?"

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Hance, Jeremy. "America's Dependence on Fossil Fuel Is to Blame for the Oil Spill." BP Oil

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