Biomass, hydroelectric, and solar and wind power are the renewable energy sources that being increasingly used all around the world. The reasons for their use are many: they have significant advantages for health, economy, stable energy supply, and climate.
The amount of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere is increasing and they represent extreme dangers for the planet. While natural volumes of carbon dioxide are essential to keeping the Earth teeming with life, the volumes produced by human activity can turn Earth into Venus, where escaping greenhouse effect has turned it into a pressure cooker with temperatures above 864 degrees Fahrenheit. If we continue to use fossil fuels, a similar future could wait for us as well.
Renewable energy protects us from increasing the number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere because it emits significantly less carbon. For example, wind emits between 0.02 to 0.04 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour (CO2E/kWh) while natural gas and coal emit up to 2 pounds and 3.5 pounds respectively. As the result, using renewable energy offers a huge advantage over fossil fuels because it significantly reduces the volumes of emitted greenhouse gases.
For example, a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory discovered that if U.S. electricity was generated by renewable sources, the carbon emissions would be reduced by up to 80 percent.
There are some differences between fossil fuel and renewable energy industry in terms of economy. For example, the fossil fuel industry requires significant capital and does not create many jobs while the renewable power industry is highly labor-intensive. It is because it needs to be developed, so more jobs will be created to support the economy.
According to this Renewable Energy World piece, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) reported that the solar industry was the top performer in 2013 in terms of creating clean energy jobs with 143,000 solar jobs. 54,000 more jobs were created by the wind power industry the same year and more than 200,000 jobs are supported by hydropower branch in over 2,500 companies. Lastly, the geothermal industry currently supports 35,000 jobs. That’s only in the U.S., the global number of jobs created by green energy companies have already exceeded 8 million, says International Renewable Energy Agency.
The agency has also reported that with the introduction of the new technologies renewable energy sector will continue to create jobs at an increased pace. As the result, thousands of new jobs will be created in different areas, including operations and maintenance, financial, legal, and consulting services, project development, construction, manufacturing, and many others.
Mark Powell, says that academic interest for exploring economic advantages of renewable sources is on the rise and supported by governments. One of the latest comprehensive scholar investigations is conducted by scientists from Tufts University, which also aims to educate the average reader about the subject.
Better Public Health and Environment
Without a doubt, renewable sources are much safer for the public because they do not cause pollution that is known to lead to a wide variety of health issues. These issues include breathing problems, heart attacks, neurological damage, and even cancer. Plus, renewable energy plants and facilities are better for the environment because they use resources that do not pollute.
For example, solar panel facilities are operating without known air pollution emissions at all, which means that the surrounding environment will not suffer. Moreover, these panels can be installed on the roof of the house because they do not pose threats to human health. On the other hand, living near a plant that uses fossil substances like Nitrogen Oxide, Sulfur Oxide, Carbon Dioxide, and many others can be very harmful to both environment and human health.
For example, a recent study by the Colorado School of Public Health showed that people living near oil wells had higher cancer risks because of benzene. Moreover, it was discovered that hydraulic fracturing and fracking may contribute to acute and chronic health issues.
Stable Energy Supply
Oil cannot be found in all countries around the world because its resources are limited but the wind blows everywhere. The same can be said about the Sun and water. The diversity and availability of renewable energy resources make them incredibly useful because they can provide a stable and inexhaustible energy supply. On the other hand, oil reserves are limited plus time is needed to discover new reservoirs, which ultimately leads to volatile prices for utilities and gas.
In his article on Grist, an environmental journalist Bill White wrote that “wind power could reduce wholesale market prices by more than 25 percent in a short-term”, which translates into millions of saved dollars. These saving could be turned into billions given that renewable energy is indeed inexhaustible regardless of the location of the energy-generating facilities.
The advantages of using renewable energy over fossil fuels are apparent and undeniable. Today, biomass, hydroelectric, and solar and wind power plants and facilities have already created more than 8 million jobs and prevented thousands of tons of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere. As the world continues to acknowledge the negative impacts of fossil fuels on health and the environment, it turns toward renewable energy, which means that the future will be green.