By Arjun Chandrasekar.
Renewable energy can come in many different forms and methods of energy manufacturing. Some of the most common include Solar, energy from the sun; Wind, utilizing turbines to channel wind; and Geothermal energy, energy from hot water and Earth. Some benefits of these types of energies is that they don’t release any harmful pollutants into the environment and they give many job opportunities. Let’s review each one in-depth!
Primarily, solar energy may seem like a very good option for many people before you look at all the disadvantages of solar energy. Solar panels can be very expensive and they have to be replaced after about 25 years. For some people, the expensive price of solar is not worth the cost because over time their electricity bill is cheaper than the cost of solar. According to sunbadger.com, “Since 2013, Solar has ranked in the top two in capacity added to the electric total in the U.S.” When solar panels end up in landfills after they are used and are no longer resourceful, they can release toxic metals(mercury and lead) into the environment.
Next, there is wind energy. This is one of the most common clean energies in use today. It’s also one of the fastest growing energy sources in the world. It can be built on ranches, farms, and anywhere in the sea. Another advantage to wind energy is that it can create a lot of jobs boosting the economy. According to GWEC.net, “Wind can power 3.3 million new jobs worldwide over the next five years”. Some of the disadvantages is that they can be extremely noisy: the air whooshing by them is loud and if the wind picks up to a high enough rate, the tips can reach incredible speeds and sometimes create sonic booms. However, sonic booms are rare in wind turbines. Turbines, being massive structures, can also lead to noise pollution and aesthetic pollution.
Lastly, we have geothermal energy, another popular renewable source, especially in the U.S. This type of energy needs little to no maintenance and is highly efficient. For example: “Geothermal power plants are compact; using less land per GWh (404 m2) than coal (3642 m2) wind (1335 m2) or solar PV with center station (3237 m2).” The main disadvantage to geothermal energy is that it can release greenhouse gasses like methane into the environment, warming up the planet. Global warming is when greenhouse gasses (Carbon Dioxide, Methane, etc.) get released into the atmosphere and make the planet warmer. This is dangerous because it can melt the ice caps at the poles which can raise sea levels, thus leading to the loss of land. But, the cost of geothermal energy is worth the downfalls because it is a lot cleaner than fossil fuels.
Overall, there are many different kinds of renewable energies that have their advantages and disadvantages. Some types of energies are agreeably promising, including wind and geothermal, but others not so much, such as solar. Nonetheless, when these renewable energies become more dominant over fossil fuels, our carbon emissions will be reduced greatly and improve our near future!