Fossil fuels still remain the energy source of more than half of the world’s population. Commercial oil drilling has been used since the 1850s, and at present, we have already depleted 135 billion tonnes of crude oil and this number rises every day. As our renewable energy sources become less and less, how will the world generate a sustainable supply of electricity?
On the brighter side, renewable energy sources are being now being utilized. In fact, one-fifth of the world’s primary energy is now coming from wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro, all of which are renewable sources. Their users are foreseen to grow by 2.6% every year until 2040.
Solar power systems are now being supplied in Salt Lake City and other areas. Many residential areas have solar panels installed now, so maybe this is a sign that you should shift to this renewable source as well.
The Danger of Fossil Fuels
It is becoming a common knowledge that fossil fuels contribute to global warming. Fossil fuels are burned so that they can generate power. They’re used in the electricity and transportation industries as an energy source and are the world’s leading source of global warming because of their high carbon content.
Underground mining is used to extract fossil fuels from deep within the earth, and this practice poses a hazard to miners. Every year, a large number of miners become injured and even die from their jobs. Their respiratory health is also at risk, with black lung disease or pneumoconiosis still prevalent among coal miners up to this day.
Surface mining is another method used to mine coal, but this destroys the environment. Trees and vegetation are stripped off mountains, and the mountaintop itself is also blasted away for coal. The blasted rocks and soil are thrown into the nearby valleys and streams, altering the ecosystem and disrupting the natural flow of water. In the long run, the blasted mountains can only harbor exotic grasses due to their now poor soil, and the valleys that get buried will recover very slowly.
Furthermore, the health and safety of nearby communities will also be affected. Their drinking water might get contaminated by toxic chemicals, their area might become more vulnerable to landslides, mudslides, and flash floods.
Oil and gas drilling can also affect the ecosystem. Wildlife is especially at stake because their habitats are being used as oil and gas drilling facilities. There’s also the risk of oil spills happening, which can be fatal to animals.
Benefits of Renewable Energy
Renewable energy produces no greenhouse gases, which is why they’re more environmentally friendly. Using more renewable energy can eliminate the need for carbon-intensive energy sources, like fossil fuels. This would stop the aggravation of global warming. The US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory made a study which revealed that if the country generates 80% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050 , approximately 81% of the electricity sector’s emissions can be reduced.
Public health will also improve because renewable sources don’t emit air pollutants that cause a number of diseases. Although geothermal and biomass systems still emit a few air pollutants, their total air emissions are notably lower compared to the emissions of coal and natural gas.
Energy bills can also be reduced with renewable sources. Prices of renewable energy are currently at a steady decline and are expected to continue doing so. Between 2010 and 2017, the costs of solar installation dropped by over 70%. As the market for renewable energy grows, its prices will more likely plunge further.
Harsh weather conditions wouldn’t have large-scale impacts as well. If one area is experiencing a hurricane, the entire region wouldn’t be affected. And if one solar or wind equipment malfunctions, the rest of the equipment will still function normally.
Making the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy is definitely worth it, considering everything stated. Rid yourself of high energy bills and have solar panels installed in your home.