What is renewable energy? Why is everyone out there concerned about the future of renewable energy? Well, the answers are not as tough as we would have expected, nor do they require a lot of action in order to succeed. Our planet is dependent upon us to keep it thriving, and the best way to do that is to switch over to renewable energy. Renewable energy effectively uses natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat, which may be naturally replenished.
Renewable energy technologies range from solar power, wind power, hydroelectricity/micro hydro, biomass and biofuels for transportation. Solar energy is energy from the Sun in the form of radiated heat and light. Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into useful form, such as electricity, using wind turbines. Hydroelectricity is a form of hydropower, and is the most widely used form of renewable energy. Micro Hydro is a term used for hydroelectric power installations that typically produce up to 100 kW of power.
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Biomass refers to living and recently dead biological material that can be used as fuel or for industrial production. Most commonly, biomass refers to plant matter grown for use as biofuel, but it also includes plant or animal matter used for production of fibres, chemicals or heat. Biomass may also include biodegradable wastes that can be burnt as fuel. Biofuel (if cultivated, then also called agrofuel or agrifuel) can be broadly defined as solid, liquid, or gas fuel consisting of, or derived from recently dead biological material, most commonly plants.
There are a lot of nonliving factors that affect our use of renewable resources. The factors are often called “abiotic” and are what we find naturally in the environment, such as the air, water and sunlight. These three factors are the major sources of our issue. By utilizing these natural resources, we open up worlds of energy that are yet completely untapped. According to the Annual Energy Review of 1999 provided by the EIA, 0. 076 quadrillion BTU’s of energy were produced by solar power. This is about 0. 1% of the overall 72. 23 quadrillion BTU’s produced in the U. S. This percentage is dwarfed by the 57. 673 quadrillion BTU’s, or 80% of the total, produced using fossil fuels (2004). The biotic, or living factors that affect our use in renewable power sources are the hardest part to overcome. Humanity’s dependence upon fossil fuels and other nonrenewable resources is the biggest threat to the expansion of the use of renewable energy resources. By using renewable resources, we can make drastic changes to our environment, which will benefit not only humans, but the whole planet.
Based on current strategies and implementations of renewable energy, I would definitely put our utilization at the stage of being extremely poor. We are only using small amounts of the massive, unlimited supply of renewable energy. The Renewable Energy Policy Project reports that the National Governors Association adopted a comprehensive national energy policy in 2001, noting that Iowa Governor Thomas J. Vilsack stated “The policy sends a clear message that solving our nation’s energy problems demand more conservation, especially utilizing renewable fuels… ” (2001).
However, despite the push towards our dissipated use of nonrenewable energy, there is a fear that we are doing too little too late. This is why I elect a stronger push, with severe penalties for noncompliance. I would push the prices of oil to sky high, and lower the cost of producing and using alternative, renewable fuel sources. I would have the governments of the world tax and penalize any business that did not offer alternative fuel options to their consumer base. The change would need to be widespread and drastic, and take very little time to implement.
Just remember all those promises you had as a child about flying cars in 2001. Then realize it’s 2008 and we don’t have anything near a flying a car. My plan is dramatic, if not overwhelming in scope. Financially, it will ruin many companies, or put them near the brink of extinction. The citizenry would also suffer, but the long-term benefits would definitely outweigh the short-term losses. The only bad thing to come of my plan is the eventual monopolization of renewable energy by Big Business. Its inevitable, just like how oil is monopolized.
And we can’t place all the weight of this plan upon the shoulders of the people. The governments of the world must unshackle themselves from the pockets of Big Oil and come to realize that at the rate we consuming nonrenewable energy, it will not be long before there is no more nonrenewable energy. I think when it comes to either ruling a nation for another 1000 years, or having our planet implode due to resource exhaustion, most rulers would choose option 1. Everyone everywhere must carry this burden, because it is our own. We’re not doomed, at least not right now.
However, if we continue on our planet-destroying race for the superior nation, nothing will save us from ourselves. Renewable energy is cheap, efficient, and it will never go away. And we need to adopt more standards of use before we run out. Works Cited: Hemberger, P (2004, October 18). Solar. Retrieved May 17, 2008, from REPP-CREST Web site: http://www. crest. org/articles/static/1/995469913_2. html Renewable Energy Policy Project (2001, August 17). National Governors Association Adopts Energy Policy at Annual Meeting. Retrieved June 1, 2008, from REPP-CREST Web site: http://www. crest. org/articles/static/1/998060792_982762890. html