The Environmental Impact Of Renewable Energy

840 words - 3 pages

The amazing thing about renewable energy resources is that they do not deplete. These energy resources include energies such as hydroelectric energy, solar energy, wind energy, and geothermal energy. The major advantage of using these resources is that the environmental impact is extremely low when compared to the use of fossil fuels and other energy processes.

One of the most used renewable energy sources is hydroelectric power. When you look at all the environmental impacts of dams, etc., they seem to be a lot less devastating than those effects due to the use of coal and oil for producing energy. Some of the environmental impacts include major flooding due to the gigantic reservoirs that are formed by dams, which in turn makes certain areas of useful land worthless (Baird). Another impact is that the flow and quality of the water may be affected in ways that the dissolved oxygen content of the water will decrease, but this problem can be minimized with proper flow control (US Dept. of Energy). On the other hand, hydroelectric plants do not release any emissions such as carbon dioxide or sulfur dioxide, both of which increase to global warming and climate change. This is a tremendous advantage over fossil fuel use. Also, there isn't any need to worry about nuclear disasters like there is with the use of nuclear energy.

Another renewable energy resource that has a lower amount of environmental impact is solar energy. Solar energy is created and used through the use of photovoltaic cells that collect the suns energy and then convert that energy into a useful form like electricity. As one would think when first asked about solar energy and photovoltaic cells, there aren't many environmental impacts associated with it. The only main concerns involved with solar energy include the production of potentially toxic substances when photovoltaic cells, particularly gallium arsenide cells, are being manufactured (Baird). Also, there is a minor concern associated with the land use required to collect a substantial amount of energy, but one theory is that there is enough area on the roofs of every house and building in the world to supply an unfathomable amount of electricity (Baird). These environmental problems seem to be better than any other resource out there; no emissions, air pollution, water pollution, etc. When solar energy, a renewable energy resource, is compared to other forms of electricity production (based on environmental impacts), it is by far at the top of the list.

The next renewable energy resource to be discussed is wind energy. Wind energy is very efficient and has a very minute amount of environmental impact. One of the major impacts due to wind energy is the noise that it generates. The turbines are very loud when...

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