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Renewables, The Energy Source For America's Future

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551 words
Science & Nature

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When many people thing of the United States, they envision a land of freedom, prosperity, and wealth. However, environmentalists see a different land, one containing six percent of the world's population, and yet producing twenty-five percent of the world's pollution. This is because much of our prosperity is direct result of our exploitation of fossil fuels. They provide us with about ninety-three percent of the energy we consume. For this reason, our environment is becoming increasingly polluted, natural habitats are being destroyed, and health problems resulting from pollution are increasing steadily. If our current trends continue, our nation and planet will eventually become uninhabitable. In order to prevent this, we need a new primary energy source that is environmentally benign. This source is renewable energy and is already readily available. The increased use of renewable energy, mainly wind and solar energy, and reduction of dependence on oil is the best way to solve our current energy dilemma.
For the past fifty years, fossil fuels have been the main source of energy in the U.S. They are a great source of power, but unfortunately they also have many setbacks. The finite reserves of fossil fuels are being depleted at a rate one hundred thousand times faster than they are being formed. As supplies decrease we become more and more dependent on the Middle Eastern countries for our supplies of oil, recently, fifty-two percent of imported oil came from such countries. The most significant drawback is the amount of pollution produced by fossil fuels.(5)
These negative impacts can be lessened and even eradicated through the use of renewable energy. There are several forms of renewable energy, with wind and solar power being the most effective.
Wind power is produced by numerous large structures known as wind turbines. Wind turbines consist of rotor blades, a power shaft and a generator. As wind passes through the rotor, aerodynamic lift is created and the rotor spins. This spinning in turn drives the generator and produces electricity. A suitable site for wind power must have at least an annual average wind speed of twelve miles per hour, and in order to fully take advantage of wind, the turbines are built on large towers.(3)
Solar power is the most abundant form of energy on earth. Each day, more solar energy falls to earth than the total amount of energy used by the world's population in twenty-seven years. The fastest growing solar technology is photovoltaic cells. These cells use semiconductor material to directly convert sunlight into electric current. Other technologies include concentrating solar collectors and flat-plane solar collectors. A concentrating solar collector consists of mirrors and lenses that focus light on a receiver. The receiver converts the light to heat and the heat is used to power electricity producing generators or engines. Flat-plate solar collectors are flat boxes containing dark colored metal inside to absorb heat, and glass on top to prevent the heat from escaping. Running pipes underneath these provides hot water, space heating, and several other useful applications. Keep in mind though, solar and wind power is not the only forms of renewable energy.(3)
The other forms that have potential are geothermal power, small-hydro power, and the use of hydrogen gas for fuel. Small-scale hydro development has been recently revived. Although ...

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Keywords: renewable energy sources of the future, renewables are the future, renewable energy sources 2021

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