There is now a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States, with at least 85 people contracting the virus so far. As a result of this pandemic, people are now reconsidering their stance on renewable energy and its role in maintaining a clean environment. While the need for clean air and water continues to be vital, many are also questioning whether or not renewable energy is still a viable economic choice in today’s world.
What Is Renewable Energy?
Renewable energy sources are energy forms that are replenished naturally and can be used indefinitely. Examples of these include solar energy and wind energy. The US government’s support programs, such as the Energy Department’s (DOE) solar energy bank and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), aim to provide financial backing to businesses that want to promote renewable energy. Through these initiatives, the federal government is essentially subsidizing the development of renewable energy technology. This is a positive step, as it ensures that innovative companies can continue to pursue this important sector of the economy.
Why Are People Questioning Renewable Energy?
Although renewable energy is an important component of a sustainable energy portfolio, it is not without its flaws. One of the primary concerns is that renewable energy sources may not be available to meet demand, or at least not for some time. It is well known that the sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow. This is why many energy companies have incorporated alternative energy sources, such as nuclear power, into their product offering.
Is Nuclear Energy A Sustainable Alternative?
Just as with other types of energy sources, not all forms of nuclear energy are created equal. For instance, advanced reactors that generate electricity from nuclear fusion can be highly effective in providing a clean energy source. These types of reactors are completely energy-dense and allow for the creation of unlimited amounts of electricity. The downside is that they are also extremely dangerous and have a significant impact on the environment. In fact, a single meltdown could potentially cause catastrophic levels of damage, leading some to question whether or not they are truly sustainable. Additionally, there is always the risk of a major accident occurring, which could lead to health problems or even death for those who live near the facilities.
The Role of Government In All Of This
It is important to remember that government support for renewable energy does not mean that all is well. On the contrary, the pandemic has laid bare many of the flaws that this industry continues to face. In a time when people are more aware than ever of the need to reduce their carbon footprint and protect the environment, federal support for renewable energy is more important than ever. It is also vital that this support continues after the pandemic, as the renewable energy industry is still struggling to gain traction in today’s marketplace. The federal government cannot continue to prop up this important segment of the economy, as there are other areas where it is needed.
The Importance Of A Backup Energy Source
One issue that renewable energy has always faced is how to effectively store energy. The wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. This is why many companies have turned to installing large solar panels that can generate electricity when the sun shines and can store this energy in batteries when the wind doesn’t blow. Similarly, some forms of renewable energy, such as hydropower, can only be used when the water flows. In both these cases, having a backup power source is essential for providing clean, reliable electricity. Otherwise, people will be left with no energy – and no lights, either.
Is Nuclear Energy Always The Best Choice?
Although nuclear energy provides a clean energy source, it is not without disadvantages. As mentioned above, some forms of nuclear energy are extremely dangerous and have significant environmental ramifications. Additionally, there are safety concerns regarding this type of energy, as some have pointed out that some plants are more prone to accidents than others. If you live within a 10-mile radius of a nuclear power plant, for example, you are at a significant risk of exposure to radiation. Last but not least, there is the cost factor. The cost of constructing a nuclear power plant is substantial and can reach $15,000 per kilowatt. Compare this to the $0.10-$0.50 per kilowatt that most people are now paying for solar energy.
Is Wind Energy Always The Next Best Choice?
Another popular alternative to fossil fuels is wind energy. Just like solar energy, wind energy is another renewable source that can be used to generate electricity. The difference is that wind energy is most effective in areas with “high wind” cycles, such as the Great Plains and the Midwestern United States. Unfortunately, this type of energy is not available in all parts of the country. Additionally, it is costly to install and maintain. Wind turbines can cost up to $30,000 per kilometer, not including the cost of the land. This makes it impractical for some people to install this type of energy system.
What About Hydroelectricity?
Hydroelectricity generates electricity by harnessing the power of water. This is an important form of renewable energy that can be generated in areas where large amounts of rain or snow are deposited. The most common type of hydroelectric installation is the dam, which stores water at a higher elevation and then releases it, generating electricity as it descends – much like a waterfall. In order to generate large amounts of electricity, a series of dams may be built, increasing the power generated exponentially. The downside to this type of energy is that it is not available everywhere and can be damaging to the environment, as large dam projects have been known to alter the local ecosystem and disrupt natural habitats. Additionally, there is the cost factor, as the cost of building a dam is substantial and can run up to $25,000 per kilowatt.
How Much Does It Cost To Generate Energy?
One of the issues that people have with renewable energy is how expensive it is to generate. While it is great that alternative energy sources are renewable and can be used indefinitely, this doesn’t mean that everyone can afford to use them. It would be great to have all the power in the world, but it would be even better if you didn’t have to pay for it. This is why many people are looking at the possibility of generating their own power using methods such as solar power. There are companies such as uSolar that provide installation services for customers so that they can generate their own power without having to go through a traditional electricity provider. This provides a way for people to have access to renewable energy without having to break the bank. This also allows them to become more energy-efficient and lower their carbon footprint. Ultimately, the less we rely on energy companies for power, the better. As more people become aware of this fact, we can expect to see a big shift in the way we generate and consume energy.