Environment Technology

Environment Technology

Advantages and Disadvantages of Renewable Energy

Posted by admin on September 28, 2012 in Clean Energy with 7 Comments

There are many energy sources today that are extremely limited in supply. Some of these sources include oil, natural gas, and coal. It is a matter of time before they will be exhausted.

Estimates are that they can only meet our energy demands for another fifty to seventy years. So in an effort to find alternative forms of energy, the world has turned to Renewable Energy sources as the solution. There are many advantages and disadvantages to this.

Renewable energy sources consist of solar, hydro, wind, geothermal, ocean and biomass. The most common advantage of each is that they are renewable and cannot be depleted. They are a Clean Energy, as they don’t pollute the air, and they don’t contribute to Global Warming or greenhouse effects. Since their sources are natural the cost of operations is reduced and they also require less maintenance on their plants. A common disadvantage to all is that it is difficult to produce the large quantities of electricity their counterpart the fossil fuels are able to. Since they are also new technologies, the cost of initiating them is high.

Solar energy makes use of the sun’s energy. It is advantageous because the systems can fit into existing buildings and it does not affect land use. But since the area of the collectors is large, more materials are required. Solar radiation is also controlled by geography. And it is limited to daytime hours and non-cloudy days.

Wind energy uses the power of the wind to produce electricity. Although it is the largest job producer, it is reliant on strong winds. Wind turbines are large and, although you can use the area under them for farming, many consider them unattractive looking. They are also very noisy to operate. In addition, they threaten the wild bird population.

Hydroelectric energy uses water to produce power. This is the most reliable of all the renewable energy sources. On the down side, it affects ecology and causes downstream problems. The decay of vegetation along the riverbed can cause the buildup of methane. Methane is a contributing gas to greenhouse effect. Dams can also alter the natural river flow and affect wildlife. Colder, oxygen poor water can be released into the river, killing fish. And the release of water from the dam can cause flooding.

Geothermal energy uses steam from the Earth’s ground to generate power. It uses smaller land areas than other power plants. They can run 24 hours per day, every day of the year. Disadvantages are that it is very site specific and, along with the heat from the Earth, it can also bring up toxic chemicals when obtaining the steam. Drilling geothermal reservoirs and finding them can be an expensive task.

Biomass electricity is produced through the energies from wood, agricultural and municipal waste. It helps save on landfill waste but transportation can be expensive and ecological diversity of land may be affected. In addition, its process needs to be made simpler.

Ocean energy is a clean and abundant energy form. It does, however, have high costs. Ocean thermal energy also requires close to a forty degree Fahrenheit difference in water temperature year round. In addition, construction and laying pipes can cause damage to the ecosystem.

There are many advantages to the use of renewable energy sources. There are also some disadvantages. The fact is energy demands will continue to increase. Through research and development, as well as, new technologies, the hope is many of the disadvantages of renewable sources of energy can be eliminated and we can successfully incorporate it into our power supplies.

Matthew Hick

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  1. JamieSeptember 28, 2012 - 7:09 am #1

    renewable energy advantages and disadvantages?
    What are the advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy today?

  2. daroooooooooolSeptember 28, 2012 - 12:11 pm #2

    Most renewable energy is infinite (sun, wind, etc) the initial cost and maintenance is the overall con.
    References :

  3. BobSeptember 28, 2012 - 12:13 pm #3

    The source doesn’t run out (although the wind does stop and solar doesn’t work at night)
    It much more expensive than normal energy sources.
    References :

  4. JoshSeptember 28, 2012 - 12:15 pm #4

    renewable energy has Little to no disadvantages, however the process through which we obtain it does. technically there is no such thing as renewable energy, as energy cannot be "used up" it can only be converted into different forms. the way in which we use energy at the moment is harmful to our planet, by burning fossil fuels (fossilised remains of prehistoric animals e.g. oil which consists of various hydro-carbons) we are releasing harmful gasses into the atmosphere which protects us from dangerous ultra-violet and gamma radiation. by destroying our shield the planet is rapidly heating up and more cases of sun radiation poisoning are occurring e.g. increased rate of skin cancer; pollution can also damage our health directly as it can increase respiratory disease.
    by using renewable energy we don’t pollute the atmosphere or do alot of harm to the earths environment or inhabitants. the ways in which we gain energy are usually either infinite or sustainable as they meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future. disadvantages are that the way we harvest this energy is slow and clumsy. turbines are increasingly popular over here in the UK but they are expensive and require wind which isn’t constant. the windiest places are out at sea but to build on top of a seabed is also expensive. the turbines break down easily and are constantly needing maintenance, plus they lose potential energy as they can only gain a maximum amount (basically if they are getting max energy from a certain wind speed, even if the wind picks up they cant gain any more), plus the energy isn’t nearly as much as when we burn fossil fuels. solar panels are popular as they can be fitted to roof tops, but these are also expensive and aren’t effective at night or if it is cloudy.
    basically fossil fuels are easy to obtain, they are cheap and produce a lot of energy but are harmful to the environment and are not sustainable.
    renewable energy is sustainable but is slow and expensive.
    we can make compromise though, nuclear energy is a frowned upon but still considered energy production method. it is not pollutant free but is a lot less harmful then fossil fuels. plus a lot of energy can be created from just a small amount of uranium.
    bio-fuels and hybrids are more efficient types of of car (fuel), vegetable oil is being used in parts of america, by crushing sugar cane and adding a few things here and there we get ethanol which is perfectly capable of powering an automobile. it is fairly clean but is not sustainable as even though we can grow it at an effective rate, it couldn’t meet earths demand. hybrids combine electricity with petrol. while you may think wait isn’t electricity made from fossil fuels? well a lot of the time it can be made from sustainable energy, and it is cleaner to use. when the car tops 40mph the car will switch to petrol, usually the rotation of wheels when the car is using petrol can be used to recharge the unused battery partially.
    References :
    damn i hope this helps i got a geography exam on thursday

  5. P BELLAMYSeptember 28, 2012 - 12:17 pm #5

    Less fossil fuel used (greenhouse gases)
    Less need for nuclear (disposal of radioactive waste , diversion to weapons)
    Less need for imports ,more national control

    Wind, Unreliable the wind can stop blowing
    Solar, clouds, not so efficient in northern countries (uk)
    Bio fuels. Shortage of land for food?
    Tidal barrage, a lot of energy needed to build say the Severn Barrage
    References :

  6. ?September 28, 2012 - 12:19 pm #6

    Advantages to renewable energies, such as wind energy and solar energy, are that you can run all your electricity from it and won’t have to pay electric bills. And most importantly, you are using a natural energy that doesn’t damage the environment. There are very few disadvantages to using renewable energies. The initial cost of products may be expensive, but you will soon make up for that in the money saved from free energy. OrganicMechanic.com is a good place for products, such as the Micro Wind Turbine http://www.organicmechanic.com/product/micro-wind-turbine and the Oil Filtration Centrifuge http://www.organicmechanic.com/product/oil-centrifuge and
    References :

  7. I.C.September 28, 2012 - 12:21 pm #7

    The main problem here in UK in re renewable energy is that the focus has been on wind power, which is very inefficient and costly. The most effective renewable energy comes from water power.

    Here in London, right into the 19thC there were dozens of tidal mills operating. The oldest known was a Roman tide mill, somewhere near Greenwich.

    The River Thames has a tidal race of about 8 knots in each direction. This could easily be used to generate power and it’s everlasting and if the wind drops, no problem.

    Tide mill at Woodbridge

    More re tide mills

    If a tide mill can grind flour, it can also make electricity.

    Hydro Power
    References :

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