|Petroleum-Zuid Antwerp (Photo credit: LHOON)|
When will crude oil run out?The costs of energy have been increasing since they were first explored and exploited to fulfill daily needs. Speaking specifically about crude oil, the use of this limited resource has been increasing in use and cost in the last several decades, and even quite dramatically in the last fifteen years or so. People are driving larger, less gas efficient vehicles, more technology is being produced and need additional electricity, more people travel via airplane, take cruises, sail boats, and drive for sport. Not only is the fundamental source of fuel, crude oil, a limited resource, but it is also very costly to refine it into a usable substance. The discovery process for crude oil can be a hit or miss journey. Once a source has been located, then the drilling begins. The equipment is expensive and so is the labor. And, as we have seen in recent weeks, the costs of any and all “accidents” are also financially, and environmentally, costly.
So now it has been established that the main source of fuel in the current world is limited and costly, it is imperative to understand why the search for an alternative renewable source of energy is imminent and much needed. Many different sources of renewable energy have been explored, but none have fully taken root in the United States. Other countries, such as China, have taken an interest in some of the technologies discovered and harnessed here in the US. According to one American business owner “many of these technologies were invented in the U.S., but they have since migrated overseas because there has never been much of a market in the U.S.” (Heim). This could very well be what separates the “thinkers” and the “doers” in regards to implementing a mainstream renewable energy source. According to the recent Shanghai Expo, China is displaying a very competitive edge in regards to a clean energy source. “Environmental disasters and China’s reputation as a prime polluter have driven some of that urgency” (Heim). China has become the world’s largest consumer of energy as well as the largest carbon emissions location in the world.
|Petroleum-Zuid Antwerp (Photo credit: LHOON)|
The new main source of energy must also be eco-friendly. The main reason why a new source of energy is being searched for is because the source of energy currently used, crude oil, is harmful to the environment. Looking for a replacement must have improvements, including being environmentally friendly. This also means that there must be minimal or zero pollutants as a result. If the renewable energy creates byproducts that are harmful to the environment, then it is pointless and counter productive to utilize that source. The new energy source must also be effective and reliable. If the new source cannot be relied upon to be consistent and effective in its delivery, it is not a viable substitute to what is already being used. And last, but not least, the replacement source of energy must be cost efficient. Part of the problem with crude oil is that it is far too costly to continue to maintain. Not only is it finite in its availability, but it is also very costly environmentally and financially. The byproducts created by processing crude oil causes harm to the environment and the cost of manufacturing the oil and transporting it harms the pocketbook.
|Renewable Energy (Photo credit: SEDACMaps)|
Wind power utilizes kinetic energy that is then converted into electrical energy, which can be used as a replacement to nonrenewable sources of energy. The use of wind power is dramatically increasing across the world. Germany, the United States, and Spain account for more than half of the world’s wind energy usage. Denmark is the leader in wind power output with 20% of power supplies coming directly from wind turbines. (Withgott & Brennan). Within the US, both California and Texas produce the majority of wind energy. This could be because both Texas and California are amongst the top five largest states as well as financial ability and space to place turbines. As wind speeds are significantly greater over water than land, there are prospects of building wind turbines in the ocean to help maximize the amount of energy that can be produced and harnessed. Turbulence is also lessened over water. However, the cost to build and maintain a turbine in water is much greater than if they were built on land. At the current time, “offshore wind farms are limited to shallow water, where towers are sunk into sediments singly or with a tripod to stabilize them” Withgott & Brennan, p. 368. As with many sources of energy, wind power comes with pros and cons. In order to make an educated decision on whether or not this type of energy source can provide value and help protect the environment or not requires people to understand the benefits and detriments. The people of Atlanta, Georgia, for example, were informed of the pros and cons regarding wind energy as a viable source and made their decision based off of the information provided to them. Given the location of the city, the industrialization of the area, and the lack of spare fields, Georgians are not yet convinced that wind energy is a viable solution for them (Keefe).
|Renewable Energy For The Earth ? Abstract Art (Photo credit: bterrycompton)|
|English: a collage about renewable energy. see at the source images' descriptions for details. Euskara: Energia berriztagarriak (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Understanding Environmental Issues for more visit our main blog @SecWh Directory Blog