Green Energy is needed to handle all these continuous burning and other serious environmental problems
If Green Energy is so great, why aren’t we discarding the use of fossil fuels yet? It is already well known to us that climate change is a serious looming problem. Our planet’s temperature is rising day by day with a continuous burning of fossil fuels that release too much of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As it goes up, we see melting ice caps, sea level rise, rainfall pattern changes, likewise. If these burning fossil fuels are at the root of the problem, why haven’t we kicked the dirty habit yet?
It is actually very complicated to learn about this topic. Firstly, there is the fact that power sources like coal and natural gas are so entrenched. Edison built the first coal plant in the US in 1882 and by 1961; coal was the major source of electricity in the US since. Though the United States has reduced the coal usage from a 53% generation of power in 2000 to just 34% in 2015. But then, when the coal gave up another fossil fuel: Natural gas took over. With the new extraction techniques like Fracking gas becomes cheaper, lowering coal’s demand to about 32% of our energy needs. While these sources are at the root of the greenhouse gas problem, they do have certain advantages over renewable. Namely, they can ramp up the output to meet demand. Solar and Wind can’t do that; you only get Green Energy when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing so we have to build capacitors and batteries to store energy for when we need more. Otherwise, we have to have some fossil fuels or nuclear plants to meet the demands.
If Green Energy is going to pick up the torch from fossil fuels completely, we are going to have to invest a lot of money. Happily, as technology advances, investing in renewable is looking more and more attractive. We are getting to the point that building and running new wind and solar facilities will be competitive with coal and natural gas plants over their lifetime. They are more expensive up front, but their fuel costs $0, so they become more reasonable over time. The US Department of Energy estimates that a natural gas plant entering service in 2018 will cost about $50 per megawatt hour of electricity generated, while a wind farm cost around $58. Photovoltaics are more expensive, at nearly $81 per megawatt hour. That will translate to a higher electricity bill, but a study from 2012 found that most Americans would accept an increase of up to $199 to their annual electricity bill if it meant going all renewable.
Still, renewables will need a bit of help by way of tax credits and subsidies to be truly competitive. While they may sound unfair, keep in mind that coal received over a billion dollars in subsidies in 2013, while natural gas and petroleum received 2.3 billion. The use of Fossil fuels does cause health problems also like chronic bronchitis, asthma, hence; do have hidden costs associated with them. The National Research Council reported in 2010 that natural gas was responsible for 740 million dollars in expenses per year whereas coal responsible for 64 billion dollars. This makes these energy sources even more expensive even before the cost of impacts from climate change were factored in.
The bottom line is, investing in renewable may be expensive and difficult now, but it will pay off big time in the long run. And if we save the planet as we know it that is a nice bonus too because there are some places in the world that run entirely on renewable already.