One factual thing about the universe is that everything has consequences. For some actions, their consequences become apparent immediately. Others take longer to become obvious. We have heard a lot of great things about renewable energy. We know that it has the potential to solve the global energy crisis and also save our environment. While this is true, it is also true that renewable energy is not totally harmless. Every form of renewable energy production has its own drawbacks as well.
When compared to non-renewable energy, renewable energy is the clear winner. It has a far smaller impact on the environment. It is also cheaper and sustainable. But it still has certain problems. Let’s take a look at some renewable energy production methods and talk about their side effects.
Using hydropower to harvest energy is an old method. We can find dams of all shapes and sizes spread across the planet. Hydro-power plants store large amounts of water collected from the water cycle. They then release this water in order to produce electricity.
While hydro-power is renewable, it is really harmful to the environment. A hydro-power plant requires a massive amount of space. In order to make one, a huge amount of land needs to be reclaimed. Meaning that a substantial amount of natural habitat has to be destroyed. Given their size and nature, they have a lasting impact on the environment. They even have the potential of permanently changing the course of an entire river.
Apart from their ability to upset eco-systems, they are also really expensive. Their power transmission requires the installation of long transmission lines as well. Hydro-power plants can only be beneficial if they are designed and built responsibly.
Solar power has taken the world by storm and it is currently lauded as the best answer to the energy problem. Solar power plants harness the sun’s energy. They are really low maintenance and they have zero impact on the environment. Currently, solar power plants are being used to harness heat and electric energy from the sun.
Solar power production is environmentally friendly. However, the manufacturing of solar panels is another story. Solar panels are the key component of solar power production. Despite the fact that their manufacturing methods have been improved, hazardous waste is still produced. This waste can be dangerous for the environment if it is not disposed of correctly.
Solar power isn’t completely environmentally friendly. However, as long as its waste is disposed of correctly, its environmental impact can be mitigated. Also, a good solar panel has a long lifespan (15-20 years), meaning that solar panels don’t need to be replaced frequently.
Wind-powered turbines are another way of producing energy. This technology involves installing massive windmills that harness the wind’s energy in order to produce electricity. The problem with wind power plants is that they are impractical. They need to be installed in remote areas in order to work efficiently. And getting them to these remote areas can be really tough. This is due to the fact that these wind mills have huge parts.
Apart from being impractical, they are also noisy. Their noise pollution upsets the surrounding ecosystem. It has been observed that birds and other animals tend to move away from areas where wind power plants have been installed.
Bio-mass is another form of renewable technology that has been scrutinized for quite some time. Bio-mass is basically biological material of any kind. Biomass can be utilized to make biofuel, which can then be used to produce energy.
Bio-mass energy production is great because it produces energy from waste materials. Any kind of organic waste can be used to produce energy. Power plants can run on food waste, dead vegetation, and any other sort of organic matter that you can think of. Its ability to turn useless waste into valuable energy is quite appealing. But the downside of biomass energy is that it produces CO2 as a by-product.
Bio-mass contributes to gas emissions. However, when compared to non-renewable energy sources, its contribution is very low.
Anyone who has read the basics of geography would know that the earth has a very high internal temperature. There is a lot of energy constantly moving around beneath the ground. Geothermal energy production harnesses the heat energy from the earth’s interior.
If we compare geothermal energy to other sources of energy production, its energy production is as clean as solar energy. However, setting up a geothermal power-plant can be messy. In order to tap into the earth’s internal energy, a lot of drilling needs to take place. Not only is this drilling expensive, but it can also damage the surrounding area. This can upset the ecosystem and destroy natural habitats.
If we compare renewable energy sources to non-renewable ones, it becomes clear that the former is far less damaging. Renewable energy sources do have their drawbacks and they aren’t perfect alternatives. But their overall impact on the environment is less severe.
Also, since renewable energy relies on fuel sources that aren’t limited, its long-term production is cost effective. This means that energy produced through renewable means will cost less.
If renewable energy is properly adopted, people in the future can enjoy a healthier planet and more affordable energy.