Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Energy, Solar Energy, Wind, Power, Alternative Energy, Renewable Energy, World, Output

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/01/04

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English

The world is fast reaching a stage where it would be difficult to undo the environmental problems posed by pollution and global warming. Scientists have been outlining doomsday scenarios for the world. Green power – solar energy, wind energy and geothermal energy amongst others, is widely touted as the way forward to address the energy needs of the world without suffering from the liabilities of pollution. However, green power has its limitations in terms of scale and scope. There are also vested interests invested in fossil fuels that would prefer the status quo. Thus, the issue of green power remains a charged one with votaries both for and against its implementation on the mega scales required to tackle the world’s energy requirements.
One of the arguments opposing green power as a panacea to the world’s energy requirements focuses on the scale of the world’s energy requirement and juxtaposes the same with infinitesimal quantum of the requirement addressed by green power as of now. While US President Barack Obama declared his intentions in 2009 to ‘double the nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years’ (Bryce), a reality check would have revealed the yawning gap between the energy requirements and the output of renewable energy. Hydropower, which provides 2.4% of USA’s requirements and is the dominant form of renewable energy, is on the back foot with the dismantling of a large number of dams. The outputs of wind and solar energy are inconsequential. According to the US Energy Information Administration, ‘the total solar and wind power output for 2008 was 45,493,000 megawatt-hours’ (Bryce), which is a mere 1.1% of the nation’s energy requirement. If the entire wind and solar energy output of the nation were converted to oil terms, the energy output would be equivalent to about 76,000 barrels of oil per day, against a requirement of 47.4 million barrels of oil equivalent every day. Therefore, in the foreseeable future, coal, gas, oil and nuclear power are likely to continue to be the mainstay of energy for the nation (Bryce).
The argument that renewable energy is clean and harmless is not without opponents who point out the limitations of wind power as a clean source of energy. Wind farms are dependent on the speed of wind to function; they shut down if the wind is too strong for safety reasons, and cannot function if the wind is too weak. Because of their inherent erraticism, wind energy requires to be supplemented by conventional energy sources to power the energy grid. The conventional energy sources cannot be brought on stream at will whenever wind power sources become ineffective. Therefore, conventional energy sources are continually in an operative stage to kick into contribution mode for the power grid, negating the cleanliness associated with wind power. Wind power has also developed opponents who find wind farms ‘noisy, land intensive and unsightly’ (Burnett). Wind farms, having obtained patronage from the government, invariably are located in open countryside, spoiling the natural beauty of the landscape. While contributing only a fraction of the energy output of a conventional energy plant, wind farms occupy large tracts of land. To put it in perspective, a wind farm producing 450 megawatts of power would require 130 towers occupying more than 24 square miles. The area required for wind farms if wind power were to complement conventional energy in a meaningful manner is too huge to be contemplated. Wind farms are also notorious for their adverse impact on the avian population of the area. Because they are situated in areas where the wind blows evenly, the wind farms invariably find themselves in the path of the migratory routes of birds. Wind farms threaten many endangered species like bald and golden eagles. This has led to lawsuits and popular clamors to restrict their expansion (Burnett).
While arguments abound against renewable energy, votaries for renewable energy look to find solutions to the much-publicized limitations of renewable energy. Technology, in the form of Moore’s Law, is touted as one of the enablers for solar energy in future. According to Moore’s law, the density of electronics on a chip would double every six months. This results in cheaper electronics. As a result, solar panels would continually cost lesser. While established firms with older business models may collapse as a result of the revised cost structures imposed by cheaper electronics, the way forward for solar energy becomes brighter. Krugman juxtaposes the promise of solar power against subsidies given to the process of hydraulic fracking, which is an environmentally degrading process with dangers of radioactive wastewater contaminating groundwater sources (Krugman).
A section of government and society is alive to the overwhelming requirement to promote green energy. This is seen in evidence in California, which is turning to solar power in a big way in a bid to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels (Dickenson).
In conclusion, it may be said that renewable sources of energy are currently miniscule in size and scope as compared to the requirements of the world. Continual research needs to be put in to determine cheaper and more regular methods of drawing energy from renewable sources. Technology promises to be an enabler in the quest for renewable energy. While renewable energy is in its infancy, there are established powers behind conventional sources of energy that remain prone to publicize many of the limitations of renewable energy while hypocritically advancing more dangerous forms of conventional energy like hydraulic fracking. A balanced approach to energy management, with a mix of conventional sources and renewable energy, combined with continued research for more efficient green power, would be the prudent course of action for a safer future.

Works Cited

Bryce, Robert. “Let’s Get Real About Renewable Energy.” Wall Street Journal 05 March 2009. A.17. Print.
Burnett, Sterling H. “Wind Power Puffery.” Washington Times 03 February 2004. Print.
Dickenson, Marla. “State Solar Power Plans are as Big as All Outdoors.” Articles.LATimes.com. 03 December 2008. Web. 28 March 2015.
Krugman, Paul. “Here Comes the Sun.” NYTimes.com. 07 November 2015. Web. 28 March 2015.

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WePapers. (2021, January, 04) Good Green Power Essay Example. Retrieved September 20, 2021, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/good-green-power-essay-example/
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Good Green Power Essay Example. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/good-green-power-essay-example/. Published Jan 04, 2021. Accessed September 20, 2021.
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