Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources Essay
Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources
Unlike fossil fuels that are gradually depleting because of their nonrenewable nature, the renewable resources can be easily replenished. Wind is an inexhaustible resource, because wind is generated by the heating and cooling of the earth each day by the sun. Hydropower is the world’s leading source of renewable energy. It relies on the water cycle, which consists of rain or snow, river water, groundwater, and water vapor. Thus, water on the earth is continually replenished by rain and snow. Therefore the water that is used to power turbines can be used over and over again to generate electricity. Renewable resources produce little or no greenhouse gas emissions during energy production. Geothermal energy produces nearly 50 times less carbon dioxide, nitric oxide, and sulfur emissions than traditional fossil-fuel power plants. According to Jacqueline Langwith (“Renewable Energy”) windmills and solar photovoltaic cells can help in reducing carbon dioxide emissions to a great extent. Hydropower plants also do not cause pollution, since they do not emit greenhouse gases or other pollutants during power generation.
The cost and financial risk for setting up efficient windmills or biogas plants is high, as current demand for renewable energy in the market in not big enough. It also makes such resources a hard-to-find commodity, even for consumers willing to “go green.” Furthermore, renewable resources can be harmless to the environment, but the facilities to exploit them are not. For example, to produce hydroelectricity we need dams, which can have a serious effect in the local wildlife. With the reserves of crude oil, coal and natural gas still considerably high, conventional resources are cheaper than renewable ones. They are also the most easy-to-use resources, as well as the most efficient; all alternatives to gas in transportation for example either last shorter or have considerably worse results. Little competition also means that they are easy for consumers to replenish, as opposed to renewable resources, for which you must find specialized service providers.
The energy infrastructure of much of the industrialized world is built to be powered by fossil fuel. According to Andy Darvill’s Science Site, nonrenewable fossil fuels provide 66 percent of the world’s electrical power, while satisfying 95 percent of our total energy needs. These include heating, transportation and electricity generation. This pre-existing infrastructure makes the use of fossil fuels much easier to adopt than renewable options, which require a greater initial investment. Photovoltaic solar cells or windmills, for example, may require substantial amounts of money to install. But an existing building can draw energy from an electrical grid and current natural gas pipelines without any new equipment. Nonrenewable energy sources are also able to generate a more constant supply of power, as long as their fuel exists. Renewable energy sources may rely on irregular or less frequent conditions, such as sunlight to generate solar power or wind to turn turbines.
One long-term concern with the use of nonrenewable resources is their lack of sustainability. Eventually, these limited resources will either run out or become too difficult to mine and our energy infrastructure will lack needed fuel sources. Of more imminent concern is the pollution generated by mining, refining and consuming these fuel sources. Harmful levels of air pollution are generated by coal power plants and power derived from burning petroleum products. Another concern in using these types of fuels is the potential for accidents, which can devastate both human life and the environment. While relatively rare, the results of an accident in a coal mine, on an oil rig or at a nuclear reactor are very severe. I believe that renewable resources would be better for El Paso.
The reasons I would support this is because of all the sun we get. El Paso easily can support our city off of solar energy. Also, the fact that we have so much open space can be used to place solar panels, which would eventually lead to a massive place for energy storage. We would mostly just benefit from the sun since we aren’t close to water and there isn’t that much wind. There will be few disadvantages, but they would be canceled out by the advantages that solar energy would provide.
http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/coal-and-other-fossil-fuels/the-hidden-cost-of-fossil.html http://www.livestrong.com/article/203879-pros-and-cons-of-solar-panels/ http://www.livestrong.com/article/223025-renewable-nonrenewable-resouces/ http://www.ehow.com/info_8018769_renewable-resources-vs-nonrenewable-resources.html http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_renewable_and_non_renewable_resources_and_their_uses
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 6 October 2016
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