Renewable energy,or alternative energy, is simplely a kind of energy or a source of energy thatcan recover after human’s consumption, like its name “renewable”. According to HarperCollins said in Collins English Dictionary(2014), renewable energy is energy from various sources which are derivedfrom nature, such as sun, water, wind, or other natural processes, and they arealways available. As reported by Andrea Aust (citied in “Nonrenewable andrenewable energy sources”, 2014), since the beginning of human society, mankindhas utilized renewable resources to stay alive; for instance, they used woodfor cooking and heating, wind and water for milling grain, and sun for creatingfires.
To be more precise, renewable energy is definitely in contrast withenergy that comes from fossil, or nuclear fuel, or we can call “nonrenewable”.They includes coal, oil, natural gas, and are available in limited supplies;meanwhile, alternative energy is replenished naturally and in a very shortperiod of time, so that it will never run out. In theworld today, there are five major types of renewable energy resources. Firstly,solar energy, energy generated by sun’s heat of light, is one of the most popularpower in the world. Secondly, wind energy created by converting wind currentsinto a form of energy is one of the most widespread used.
Thirdly, hydropower(hydroelectricity, or water power) is the oldest power in the world thateveryone all know. Finally, the last two resources are geothermal power, energystored as heat in the planet, and bioenergy, which is derived from biomass togenerate electricity. In the article “What is renewable energy?” (n.
d.),Australian Renewable Energy Agency, also known as ARENA, has claimed that justas there are many natural sources of energy, there are many renewable energytechnologies and applications. 2.2. What are the benefitswhen using renewable energy sources? In our modern life nowadays, governments of manycountries have made more and more effort to promote five main alternativesources of energy above to improve people’s life.
Indeed, taking advantage ofrenewable energy actually can affects positively to human’s daily life. Jacobson(n.d.
) used to said each dollarspent on nuclear or less money spent on renewable energy can turn the worldbecome more and more unsuitable for the settlements, because of the risks ofnuclear power and nuclear weapons. There also is an imminent demand to stop paying asubsidy to the fossil fuel industry, dramatically reduce wastes and pollutants,and significantly replace our power supplies from fossil fuel to otherrenewable energy sources (Bill McKibben, n.d.). The trend of using renewableenergy has gradually become the worldwide trend not only because of theinexhaustibility of this kind of energy resource but also for great benefits ithas brought to people. The first benefit, also the clearest benefit,that renewable energy use give us is the decrease in global warming. Globalwarming, also referred to climate change, is considered as the most complexconcern of many countries around the world. This problem is contributed mainlyby greenhousegas emission, which is created by human’s activities.
Those activities such asburning fossil fuel to provide energy for manufactories, or vehicles like carsare overburdening our fresh air with carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), andother greenhouse gases. Renewable energy sources, however, show a little oreven no connection with the global warming emissions. Wind and other clean, renewable energy will help end ourreliance on fossil fuels and combat the severe threat that climate change posesto humans and wildlife alike (Frances Beinecke, n.d.). That is absolutely true.Wind power and solar power get electricity from the sun and the wind, whichtheoretically are inexhaustible sources of energy and show no contributions tothe climate change.
Hydroelectricity also works effectively by using endlesssource, water. Other clean resources produce zero emissions as well. Therefore,the more people use renewable energy, the more environment pollution problemsare solved.The second benefit ofusing alternative resources is the greatly improved public health. Lots ofdiseases, including cancers, heart attacks, are likely to associated to airpollution and water contamination caused by greenhouse gases and chemicals fromindustry, so if renewable sources of energy can reduce the emissions ofgreenhouse gases, they can bring major health benefits to people. The CleanEnergy and Climate Change Office of the U.
S. Environmental Protection Agencyhas made a study on people’s health. According to the study, Americans spend anestimated $361.7 to $886.5 billion each year on their health conditions relatedto the use of fossil fuel.
In a new study published in 2015 in NatureClimate Change, renewableelectricity projects and energy efficiency methods could have health benefitsworth millions of dollars a year. Moreover, most of clean energy technologiesdo not produce anything that negatively affect to air and water environment.Solar, wind systems generate power without links with air pollution and watercontamination. In addition, as reported in ” Six Benefits of Renewable EnergyWe Need to Consider” (2016) in The Alternative Daily, biomass can support in eliminating fossil fuel emissions whilecutting down on the wastes going to landfills.
To sum up, making use ofrenewable sources of energy not only solve environment pollution problems butalso help people avoid many diseases caused by the pollution. 2.3. What are drawbacks when using renewableenergy sources? Althought clean sources of energy have reallygreat benefits, we cannot deny that they also get some clear drawbacks to ourlife. There is a rapidly increasing need for renewable energy in the whole planet.However, people rushed into renewable energy without any thought, and the consequencesare largely hopelessly not only inefficient but also uncomfortable (JamesLovelock, n.d.
). One of the biggest drawbacks ofalternative resources use is the high development cost. This is also the hugeobstacle for the development of renewable energy in the future (The EditorialBroad, cited in “A Renewable Energy Boom”, 2016). According to the article, Despite increased private investment in renewables, theUnited States and other automated countries have not beenwilling to make their promise at the Copenhagen conference in 2009to support $100 billion a year to underwrite climate projects in developingcountries. Building a renewable system actually needs a giant number of moneyto complete, so that this is a very hard issue for developing countries, andspending a vast amount of investment in them is little risk for developedcountries like China, and U.
S. For example, solar energy need a lot of moneyfor manufacture and implementation of solar panels, or wind power needs windfarms and wind turbines, or geothermal energy wants people to set up a costlyworkplace in areas of volcanic activities, and dams for hydroelectricity areextremely expensive. As the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)reported (cited in Renewable Power Generation Cost in 2017, 2017), all renewable energy technologies should becompetitive on price with fossil fuels by 2020. However, the present price ofrenewable technology is far bigger than that of traditional fossil fuel. Another clear disadvantage ofalternative energy sources is the shortage and unreliability of energysupplies.
In the article “Renewable Energy Pros and Cons” (n.d.), unlike fossilfuel-powered plants that producenumberous supply of power, renewable sources, hoever, can not produce that muchof energy in a short time. This meansthat we should use less energy, or establish more energy plants. The lack ofcapacity to make energy to meet people’s demands results from the problem onthe supply. Unpredictable weather conditions can cause disruptions in servicewhen using renewable energy sources, as alternative energy often relies heavilyon the weather for its source of power.
According to Ashraf Mahmoud’s article “The Advantages and Disadvantages of Renewable Energy” (2016), hydro generators needrain to fill dams to supply flowing water; wind turbines need wind to move theblades, and solar panels need sunshine to collect heat and generateelectricity. This totally dependence on weather has made the development ofrenewable energy technology still challenging nowadays