Renewable energy is all energy that is created from natural processes and is constantly replenished. Forms of renewable energy include geothermal heat, wind, sunlight, tides and hydropower. Renewable energy cannot be exhausted and is able to be constantly renewed.
Importance of Renewable Energy
There are several reasons why renewable energy is important. Those include:
- Benefits to the environment – these are clean sources of energy and have a lower environmental impact.
- Energy for generations to come – these energy sources cannot ever run out.
- Economy and jobs – investments are usually spent on materials and workmanship to build and maintain the various facilities.
- Energy security – renewable energy sources help countries to become less dependent on foreign energy supplies.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Renewable Energy
Renewable energy is being looked at more closely as ways to provide enough energy to be independent of oil and other costly sources. There are advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy that are listed as follows.
Advantages of Renewable Energy
Here are some of the advantages of renewable energy:
1. Renewable Energy Can Replenish Itself
The name gives it away – renewable energy. These energy sources will never run out. Nonrenewable energy sources such as oil, gas and coal are limited and will one day be non-existent. The use of renewable energy sources has the ability to reduce dependency on fuels and energy from foreign countries.
2. Benefits to the Environment
Renewable energy is clean and therefore there are few greenhouse gas emissions and net carbon emissions. Natural resources are not depleted by the use of renewable energy. There are very minimal, if any, negative impacts on the environment with very few toxic deposits into the atmosphere. We are able to protect the environment from several toxins that are polluting the Earth. People are healthier when renewable energy sources are used instead of nonrenewable energy sources.
3. Energy Source that is Reliable
We are extremely dependent on fossil fuels and as a result our security is threatened because of the political instability within the countries that export fossil fuels. Wars and trade disputes can also cause disruption in deliveries of nonrenewable energies. Renewable energy sources are not controlled by political ambitions. Renewable energy plants do not cause national disruptions if there is a malfunction. There is always sun and water and wind, therefore solar, wind and hydropower will constantly be available.
4. Benefits to the Economy
Renewable energy is cheaper and much more economically sound than nonrenewable energy. There are several hundreds of thousands of jobs that are created to manufacture renewable energy for people to use. The amenities of renewable energy require less maintenance and that reduces the costs of manufacturing and distributing the energy.
5. Energy Prices Can Be Stabilized
By switching to renewable energy, the pricing becomes steady. The cost of renewable energy is dependent upon the invested money and not the decreasing or increasing – or inflated – cost of the natural resource. Governments would only have to pay a small amount when compared to the hefty amount being spent on current energy sources. Wind energy is the most cost effective in the United States and the wind turbine technology has improved as well as costs being lowered. This allows more manufacturing plants to be cost effective and create a reliable source of electricity through wind.
Disadvantages of Renewable Energy
Here are a few of the top disadvantages of renewable energy:
1. Supply Reliability
Renewable energy relies heavily on the weather, such as rain, wind and sunshine, to create usable energy. When the weather does not produce the right conditions the renewable energy sources begin to lack the capacity to make enough energy. When there is not enough energy to generate, there is a necessity to limit the amount of energy used or have a backup energy source. Unpredictable weather conditions can cause disruptions in service when using renewable energy sources.
2. Large Quantities are Difficult to Generate
It is very difficult to generate large quantities of energy as those produced by coal powered plants. There needs to be more renewable energy facilities built and operated to match the growing demand or energy consumption needs to be decreased to an amount that the current facilities can handle.
3. Large Capital Costs
The initial investment is very high when building renewable energy plants. These plants have to have upfront investments to build and then there are high maintenance expenses. The construction requires careful planning and constructing to ensure that everything is to exact specifications.
4. Lots of Land is Required
In order to produce large quantities of renewable energy, large amounts of solar panels or wind farms must be set up. This requires large amounts of land to hold these devices.
In theory, renewable energy is ideal. When trying to implement new renewable energy sources, it is still problematic. As technologies improve, renewable energy can become a viable option instead of using traditional nonrenewable sources.