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Renewable Energy

I am very passionate about renewable energy, especially regarding its potential in the United States. While browsing Reddit I came upon a cartoon by Joe Heller: Arguments Against… I really enjoyed this cartoon, because it showed many Americans’ reluctance toward wind power. Yes, wind power is not practical in every part of the US, but if we could implement things such as offshore wind farms rather than offshore oil drills, for example, we will most likely be able to cut our dependence on coal, natural gas, and oil. If we were to focus more on wind and even solar power rather than oil, coal, and nuclear power, we could make the world a cleaner and better place in my opinion.

About 20 percent of the United States’ energy comes from nuclear power, but nuclear power can be expensive with a great risk involved. On June 27, 1954 the Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant became the first plant to generate electricity for a power grid. Since then, the world has seen many nuclear disasters. The most famous would be the Chernobyl disaster, Three Mile Island’s core meltdown, and most recently the Fukushima nuclear disaster. There have been many more over the years, and it is hard for me to see how nuclear power is worth it when I put these disasters in perspective. And the nuclear waste that amasses from these plants does not simply go away when disposed of. It can have profound and long lasting effects on the environment.

In my opinion, I think the US government should focus more on wind and solar power and scale down spending on research for nuclear power. So what do you guys think about renewable energy in the United States? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. September 30, 2011 at 1:26 am

    Renewable energy is definitely something the U.S. will have to expand in the coming years, especially because oil is scarce and Middle Eastern countries essentially decide how much we will pay for it. I agree with your idea that more research should be done on renewable energy – like Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling – but you have to remember that there are lobbyists for big oil companies who pay politicians to vote against clean energy bills and for remaining dependent on oil. So practically renewable energy research needs to be done sooner rather than later, but politically it’s going to take a long time I think, which is unfortunate for us and our environment.

  2. September 30, 2011 at 3:22 am

    I also liked that cartoon because I too have heard the arguments against wind power and have thought them to be less convincing than the arguments that are in favor of nuclear power. I learned a lot about nuclear power in my physics class last year and I completely agree that other sources of energy should be used more often- and quickly! The one argument that I have heard against wind power that seems to be convincing is that it would tak a lot of windmills to produce enough energy, and this could be a problem for land use. I’ve also done some research on solar power, which is extremely efficient, but the cost to set up solar panels and to make them is very high. I’m glad someone else shares an interest in renewable energy sources, and although I don’t know much about the politics of it, I do know the environmental importance of it. I really do hope that we can find a way to cut down on nuclear power.

  3. September 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I come from a state with the most potential for renewable energy- solar power, biofuels, wind power, and geothermal energy, just to name a few. Yet, we have the second highest dependence on imported oil in the nation, so I totally agree that the government should reinvest money from nuclear energy to renewables. Part of the problem is that people would rather rather import oil on a barge that have so-called unsightly wind mills disrupting “paradise”, but most of the problem is that the money for infrastructure and research for renewable energy just isn’t there. It’s really expensive to switch over from traditional power to renewable energy. A one kilowatt battery to store wind energy costs upwards of a million dollars. Maybe if the government focuses on transitioning from old forms of power to new, the public will follow.

  4. October 24, 2011 at 2:35 am

    I personally find the “argument” over renewable energy to be smoke and mirrors. Who, on a purely logical basis, could support basing our country’s energy source on a quickly depleting source? On any sort of a depleting source? This is also keeping in mind that the country feasibly could be run entirely on renewable energy. This is as close to free as “free energy” will get.
    The facts about our energy are in, and they aren’t looking good. Even with conservative estimates for the amount of oil in the world left, we will be OUT of all gasoline and petrol within the next fifty years. That’s assuming no growth in consumption, ignoring the fact that for the past few decades demand for oil has increased by a few percentage points every year. No more gasoline within our lifetime is the BEST case scenario.
    Even if it wasn’t going to be within our lifetime, we have a responsibility as humankind to our progeny. It would be the quintessence of selfishness to push our most threatening problems onto the next generation. So we can agree that someday, somehow, renewable energy must account for all the energy consumption in the world. The question becomes: why not now?
    The government subsidizes oil more than nearly any other product (with perhaps the exception of corn, which is another issue entirely), and yet that is known to merely stall the inevitable skyrocketing of prices as demand continues to increase far beyond the remaining supply. How much money would it cost to defer the nation’s ~35PWh energy fix to completely renewable sources?
    The unfortunate answer is politics. Money equals power, and that is especially true within the government. Energy companies lobby congress to continue subsidizing their business although their profit is larger than ever. America will not see an age of renewable energy until we admit to ourselves that corporate interest is not necessarily in the best interest of the country.

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