Renewable and NonRenewable Energy Sources – Which Is The Better Option?
Nations need to compare renewable and nonrenewable resources. Though energy is essentially vital to society, so is our climate. Traditional energy sources are depleting with every use of a light-bulb, yet nations still depend on traditional power stations for light and warmth. Solar energy is popular as is wind energy, but what else?
From the impractical, to the established, to the downright dangerous, there are seemingly limitless options when it comes to energy sources. Coal, gas, and oil power stations are still the main source of energy across the globe; they’re relatively cost effective, though the cost is climbing, and their fuel sources are slowly diminishing.
Add to this a supposed effect of carbon emissions on our climate and excessive pollution issues, and non-renewable energy seems destined to die out. There is a fourth non-renewable energy source, however.
In September, the German Government announced that it will still be using nuclear power stations in 2036 . Nuclear energy does not burn any fossil-fuels and so does not release any carbon emissions. It also has a high energy output; 1,000 units of coal are required to produce the same volume of energy as 1 unit of uranium.
Regardless, it has often been claimed that nuclear power stations are extremely dangerous. The first ‘we-told-you-so’ moment came in the form of the Chernobyl disaster on 26th April 1986. After a series of avoidable mishaps, reactor 4 caught fire and released a befouling mass of radioactive fallout over Europe and Russia. Scientists predict that the disaster is still to cause fatalities, with the estimated final death-toll being around 4,000 .
Renewable Energy Sources
The three most attractive renewable energy sources are hydroelectricity, wind, and solar. Hydroelectricity is generally seen as a cleaner, more sustainable energy source than traditional power stations. Still, its success is dependent on the constant elevation of vast amounts of water in order to produce power. It has also been argued that hydroelectricity can flood large areas of land, causing environmental damage and ruining ecosystems .
Using the wind to directly drive turbines is another source of renewable energy. However, this will never provide the necessary amount of energy to be the main power source of the future . Despite this, the Danish Government’s climate commission have recently claimed that their country will be entirely wind-powered by 2050 . They suppose that soaring gas and oil prices, along with developing wind-turbine technology, will make the proposal economically viable.
Likewise, it is supposed that solar energy will become economically competitive with non-renewable sources within 20 years. Until such a time arises, though, non-renewable energy is the cheapest and most efficient solution. For these reasons, the Western World, in general, shows few signs of weaning itself off these sources. Both renewable and nonrenewable resources are available, but cost is a factor. However, health should outweigh the cost, maybe?