Dallas TX, June 9, 2019 – Severe 70 mph wind storm, 330,000 without power. Construction crane toppled into apartment, killing young woman and injuring at least four others. Trees down and windows blown out. Multi-day power outage expected. The winds caused damage on scale of a tropical storm or higher and damaged large areas of power lines and equipment. In the most heavily damaged areas, many electric facilities will have to be entirely reconstructed.
Due to severe weather events such as this, renewable energy and the need to divest from fossil fuels has come into sharper focus in recent years. All over the world, communities are realizing that not only are fossil fuels running out — they’re also causing serious damage to the planet. As more wind turbines go up and more solar panels are installed, though, many people still wonder what it’s all about. Why is the development of renewable energy sources important? Here’s a quick look at how renewable energy has the power to change our planet for the better.
Decreasing Global Warming
Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses are being released into the atmosphere at unprecedented rates thanks to increased industrialization and electricity use. In the U.S. alone, nearly one third of our global warming emissions come from the electricity sector, which uses fossil fuels to provide power. While these fuels do produce damaging greenhouse gasses, most renewable energy sources do not. Those that do emit greenhouse gasses release a minimal amount by comparison. By replacing fossil fuels with solar, wind, and other types of renewable power, we can significantly reduce global warming emissions and help protect the planet.
In addition to polluting the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses, fossil fuels can pollute waterways and release toxins in the air, making it more difficult to breathe. In addition to this pollution, emissions from coal and natural gas plants have also been connected to neurological damage, heart attacks, cancer, and other serious illnesses. Clean energy, meanwhile, produces almost no pollutants, and the sources that do — biomass and geothermal — emit minimal amounts. Total water consumption for renewable energy power plants, even those that depend on it for cooling or producing energy, is significantly lower than that of fossil fuels as well.
A Limitless Energy Source
Fossil fuels will eventually run out, and if we fail to adapt, we will likely be left without vital resources like electricity and fuel for cars. Renewable resources, however, are infinite. As long as we have sunlight, wind, water, and plant matter, we can transform them into usable energy. In the future renewable energy is believed to provide the majority of electrical needs in the U.S. When fossil fuels are gone, renewable energy can continue powering our world without interruption.
Boosting the Economy
Fossil fuels typically require machinery and money to be mined, refined, and used. Renewable energy, meanwhile, relies more heavily on human labor. Generators and related renewable energy systems must be installed and maintained, requiring the energy sector to hire more people to fill these roles. In 2016, wind energy alone employed more than 100,000 employees in manufacturing, project development, construction, installation, operations and maintenance, transportation and logistics, and consulting services, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Solar energy employed more than 260,000 people in the same year, further demonstrating renewable energy’s vast economic potential. These numbers are expected to increase even more as support for renewable energy grows.
Fluctuating costs of oil and gas based on global political dramas can leave consumers feeling frustrated and scrounging for extra cash to fill up their tanks. With renewable energy, this scenario is largely a thing of the past. Power plants based on renewables may take an upfront investment to build, but once they’re ready, they can provide power at a low and stable cost. Thanks to rapid developments in renewable energy sources, technology costs have declined in recent years and are expected to continue decreasing. Widespread use of renewable energy diversifies energy supplies, lowering prices for fossil fuels and protecting consumers when prices do jump.
More Reliable Energy
Renewable energy can function as a distributed and modular system. In other words, components can be spread out over large geographical areas and composed of numerous turbines, panels, and other components. In the event that part of the system is damaged from extreme weather or disrepair, the rest of the system will be able to continue functioning and providing energy. Nonrenewable power plants, meanwhile, will shut down if part of their system is damaged. They also depend on water for cooling, and when this resource is scarce, electricity supplies dwindle. Because most renewable energy depends on little to no water usage, it is not susceptible to the same fluctuations.
Cold Fusion as a Renewable Energy Source
Sadly, some U.S. government officials, even as recently as January 2019, have not yet recognized the potential benefits of cold fusion as a renewable energy source. The independent R&D establishment, however, has its sights on how to design and build systems that can produce energy output that is greater than what is available with other renewables. Blogs on this website describe an approach to produce energy by (cold) fusion of a nucleus of hydrogen (p) with a nucleus of deuterium (d) to produce a helium-3 atom and 5.5 MeV of energy with each fusion. The energy from many fusions can be converted to steam to turn a dynamo and produce electricity. The reason this energy and helium-3 are believed to be possible is that (1) several scientists in the past have indicated that p + d fusion will produce helium-3, (2) several theoretical physics papers have indicated that p + d in a cold fusion environment to make helium-3 should be easier than d + d, and (3) some deuterium ice experiments with protons have produced helium-3. And, even a very early, premature and negative expose published in 1991, summarizing the “Race for Cold Fusion,” indicated that proton-deuteron (p-d) reactions should produce helium-3 (e.g., pages 65, 187, 266, 297, 312), and that p-d reactions should be easier than deuteron-deuteron reactions (pages 130, 148, 296). This technical detail seems to have been overlooked by those officials in the U.S. government.
Learn More about Renewables
Renewable energy represents a solution to many of the world’s energy and pollution concerns. Reach out to Green Tech Talk to learn more about the development and importance of renewable energy sources. The industry is developing quickly, with new advancements and innovations happening frequently. Staying up to date on the latest information will help you become a more informed energy consumer, allowing you to adopt the latest technology in your own life and setting a strong example for your community.