The Use of Renewable Energy

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Introduction

Renewable energy comes from natural resources (Aitken, 2010, p. 6). Some of these natural resources include rain, sunlight, wind, geothermal heat, and tides. In addition, they are considered to be natural resources that can be naturally replenished. Most of the renewable energy in the world currently comes from electricity generation. It, therefore, implies that global electricity comes from hydroelectricity (Aitken, 2010, p. 8).

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It is estimated that wind power is growing by 30% annually (Aitken, 2010, p. 8). This type of energy has mostly been used in Asia, Europe, and the United States. Spain and USA are known to operate solar thermal power stations. Brazil is one of those countries in the world that has consistently embraced renewable energy. This is because it has a good renewable energy program that enables it to effectively implement its projects. One of the ways through which this has been attained is by producing ethanol fuel from sugarcane (Pernick & Wilder, 2007, p. 11).

Renewable energy is a viable alternative to coal and nuclear in the generation of electricity. The world is moving away from nonrenewable sources of energy to renewable sources of energy.

This has been necessitated by various concerns which have been raised about energy sources. For example, there are climate changes concerns that have arisen as a result of using nonrenewable sources of energy.

The use of coal as alternative energy has been faced with various challenges that reinforce the need to use renewable sources such as wind power. This can also be said on the use of nuclear energy in the generation of electricity. Renewable energy is an alternative because it is mostly derived from natural sources that can be constantly replenished.

Discussion

It is undeniable that the use of renewable energy is a viable alternative to coal and nuclear in the generation of electricity. Nuclear power accounts for the world’s 13-14% electricity (Cravens, 2007, p. 4). Although the power is produced by uncontrolled explosions, there are cases where it cannot be advocated. As much as renewable energy sources are freely provided by nature, nuclear energy requires huge investments in building plants. These costs range from $6 to $10 billion which cannot be easily attained by most developing countries (Cravens, 2007, p. 7).

Nuclear energy generation has encountered many accidents in recent years that have ended up being costly to the tune of $ 300 million (Aitken, 20101, p. 17). It also poses many threats to the environment and human beings. One of these threats relates to the storage of radioactive nuclear wastes. There have also been environmental damage as a result of mining uranium that is used in nuclear energy generation.

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Many countries have tried to advance in nuclear energy production but there have been controversies. There is a high risk of nuclear weapons proliferation which is directly linked to terrorism. An example is the case of Iraq where its nuclear programs have been suspected to support terrorism (Aitken, 20101, p. 22). Although the county has argued that its activities are purely for energy purposes, this has not been agreeable to other countries who have suspiciously argued that it is producing nuclear weapons.

Such cases have not been witnessed about renewable energy. It cannot be assumed that there are no challenges associated with renewable energy. However; these challenges are not as diverse as in the case of nuclear energy. This, therefore, argues well that renewable energy should be used as an alternative to nuclear energy in the generation of electricity.

The use of coal in the generation of electricity cannot be compared with other renewable sources (Falk, 1982, p. 9). Coal is not renewable and it is depleting at a fast rate. Therefore, it should not be relied on as the main source of energy. Most of the global warming that the world is currently experiencing has been a result of burning coal. In the process, there have been emissions of carbon dioxide which is a powerful greenhouse gas (Cravens, 2007, p. 17). This has not been witnessed in the utilization of renewable energy sources such as environmentally friendly wind power.

Due to the increased utilization of coal by many countries in the production of energy, there has been an increment in the degree of environmental pollution (Falk, 1982, p. 10). This is well explained by the fact that coal results in harmful byproducts after combustion. Most renewable sources of energy do not have any combustion processes and as result, there are no incidences of pollution. There have also been health issues associated with the use of coal. For example, coal is a major cause of lung problems as a result of acidic rains which fall in areas where there are activities associated with coal mining (Pernick &Wilder, 2007, p. 13).

It can therefore be argued that the use of renewable energy is a viable alternative to coal and nuclear in the generation of electricity. Most of the countries in the world are considered to be developing and therefore need more secure and reliable sources of energy. In addition, these countries do not have enough capital to invest in nonrenewable energy. On the contrary, the cost of investing in renewable energy is cheap and affordable. This is much possible for countries that do not have these resources. For instance, installing a nuclear plant can cost up to $6 to $10 billion while wind power can even cost less than $ 1 billion (Aitken, 2010, p. 25).

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The costs associated with renewable energy are relatively low, especially about much easier storage. This arises from the fact that the energy source is not bulk like in the case of coal. Other costs may be incurred in renewable energy-related to labor (Cravens, 2007, p. 27). In addition, it is not regular like in nonrenewable energy. Technology has evolved to favor the use of renewable energy.

Various renewable energy sources have been powered by technology thus becoming more effective. As much as technology has been used in nonrenewable sources, it has not been to a large extent (Aitken, 20101, p. 20). The future of energy generation will be inclined towards technological effectiveness. This is one of the reasons why countries need to consider investing in renewable energy as an alternative source of energy. This is evidenced by renewable energy sources such as solar power which is purely reliant on technology. However, the source is cost-effective and efficient.

By investing in renewable energy technology, it will be evident that energy is being bought at the current prices to be used in the future. This is a long-term initiative that needs to be embraced by all stakeholders. There have also been some opinions against renewable energy. For instance, dams are considered to be expensive to build and they disrupt human settlement (Pernick & Wilder, 2007, p. 33). About geothermal energy, it is expensive to drill into the earth’s crust. This might be out of reach for most developing countries which require energy for growth (Cravens, 2007, p. 21). The use of renewable energy such as wind should be a long-term investment because it is not guaranteed.

Conclusion

Renewable energy is a viable alternative source of energy to coal and nuclear in the generation of electricity. This is because most of the nonrenewable energy sources are undergoing a fast depletion. As a result, alternative sources of energy need to be considered.

Reference List

Aitken, D, W. 2010. Transitioning to a Renewable Energy Future. USA: New York.

Cravens, G. 2007. Power to Save the World: the Truth about Nuclear Energy. New York: Knopf.

Falk, J. 1982. Global Fission: The Battle over Nuclear Power. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pernick, R. & Wilder, C. 2007. The Clean Tech Revolution. New York: Prentice Hall.

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