The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 opened the door for the United States to gain energy independence and to increase production of clean renewable fuels. (Goverment, 2007) The bill included everything from vehicle to household appliance to be more energy efficient. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included provisions for energy efficiency and renewable energy research and investment. (Wikipedia, 2009) This paved the way for companies to develop more efficient systems to collect renewable energy through grants.
The thought was to make the United States become less dependent on foreign oil that we use to power everything. Renewable energy is the key to help the United States become less dependent and perhaps one day independent from foreign oil. Renewables appear to be a promising solution; however they are not without problems. Renewable energy costs more. As the years have gone past from the energy crisis of the 1970’s, technologies are more advanced and have dropped in price. Renewables are still costly. The cost per kilowatt compared from natural gas to wind turbines is still in favor to natural gas.
Some renewables are only available in certain regions such as geothermal energy. Other renewables are intermittent such as solar and wind. Photovoltaic power (solar) only works when the sun is out. Wind turbines can only work if there is wind. Renewables also have an environmental impact. Wind turbines create an unappealing view of the landscape to some. Wind turbines are also loud when turning. Biomass plants spill lots of pollutants into the air. Photovoltaic and wind farms require large amounts of land. Transmission lines need to be built to carry the energy to needed places around the country.
Photovoltaic cells are still very expensive to produce. Dams built for hydroelectric power change the ecosystem of the area. These also prove to be a strain on our current energy distribution system. (Komor, 2004, pp. 4-10) Electric cars proved to be a nuisance due to energy storage and available infrastructure for electric refill stations. (Doeden, 2010, pp. 132-134) Despite these problems renewable energy policy seems to outweigh the challenges it provides. This gives the opportunity to update our current infrastructure of distribution of energy, which many claim are outdated and falling apart.
(Energy, 2008) Renewable is just that, renewable. We do not need to drill or tear open a mountain for our energy needs. Between all different types of renewable sources, we could combine each technology to help offset the weakness of one another. For example, batteries could be installed to store power during night hours. Technology is also advancing for electric vehicles. Subsidize the U. S. government fleet of vehicles to run on renewable energy. Current laws in place also protect environmental impacts of emissions from vehicles. That opened the door to hybrid type cars and trucks.
Government buildings with installed solar panels and/or wind turbines will help with less consumption of energy through traditional means becoming less of a burden on the local power grid. Solar is also portable. A small cell can charge a flashlight or cell phone, which means getting power to remote areas more feasible. During crisis situations in natural disasters, first responders can deploy triage tents with solar, wind, and battery power within minutes. Solar will also help those with loss of power to help run their homes during an outage.
The cost ratio of fossil fuels compared to renewable energy still favors fossil fuels. The costs to implement these changes are still being debated in Congress. But ask yourself, does the future of our country outweigh the cheaper foreign oil we constantly fight for? A self-sustainable nation would be more at ease over rising tensions with other that are more dependent on foreign help. Current policy on renewable energy is a great start. However, I do not believe it is enough. More policy needs to be implemented on the federal and state level to boost renewable incentives and mandates.
Mandates that state any new development of commercial and residential property energy be supplemented with solar or wind power. With projected increase in energy consumption by 50% in the next 20 years (Doeden, 2010) renewables seem to be our only viable option. With the increase in consumption our fossil fuels will dwindle, which will lead to a rise in cost as well as demand. The United States should take the lead and set an example for the rest of the world, that renewable energy can be a viable alternative in helping one’s nation to become energy independent.
Doeden, M. (2010). Green Energy: Crucial Gains or Economic Strains? . Minneapolis : Lerner Publishing. Energy, U. D. (2008). 20% Wind Energy by 2030. Oak Ridge: U. S. Department of Energy. Goverment, U. (2007, December 19). www. gpo. gov. Retrieved from http://www. gpo. gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-110publ140/pdf/PLAW-110publ140. pdf Komor, P. (2004). Renewable Energy Policy. Lincoln: iUniverse, Inc. Wikipedia. (2009). Wikipedia. Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/American_Recovery_and_Reinvestment_Act_of_2009#Energy_efficiency_and_renewable_energy_research_and_investment.