In the debate of traditional energy vs. renewable energy the clear winner is renewable energy. Renewable energy is vastly superior over traditional energy because it decreases dependence on foreign resources, produces no emissions, and is not limited in quantity. Opponents of renewable energy are likely to argue that this is not the case and that instead, traditional energy is better because it creates job growth, is reliable during all hours and climates, and comes with a lower cost. These advantages however are either misconstrued or hardly outweigh the long-term positive benefits of renewable energy.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, over half of the oil used in the USA is imported. Most of this imported oil is located in the middle east and is controlled by OPEC members. Subsequent oil price shocks and price manipulation by OPEC have cost our economy dearly—about $1.9 trillion from 2004 to 2008—and each major shock was followed by a recession (Reduce). We may never be able to fully eliminate our need to import oil, but we can reduce cartel market control and the economic impact of price shocks by reducing our demand (Reduce). One way we can reduce our reliance on oil is through investing in renewable energy. Solar power, wind power, and hydro power are all forms of energy which come from renewable resources. Unlike oil, solar, wind and hydro electric power is abundant and can be obtained locally.
In addition to the fact that solar, wind, and hydro power are local resources, they are also emission free resources. Emissions and pollution are a key concern with traditional power sources. The coal-fired plants that dominate U.S. energy production also produce more emissions than any other energy source. “Emissions are measured in pounds of emissions per megawatt hour of energy produced. Coal generates 2,249 pounds of carbon dioxide, 13 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 6 pounds of nitrogen oxides for every megawatt hour of energy generated” (Walls). Solar, wind and geothermal power sources produce no emissions for every megawatt hour of energy generated.
Most importantly, renewable energy is not limited in quantity. Renewable energy is generated from natural sources that are not set in quantity. For example, energy from the sun, wind, rain, and tides are regenerated through a cycle. Unlike non-renewable energy which can not be regenerated over short periods of time, renewable energies quantities aren’t limited in quantity as traditional energy such as oil or coal are. Subsequently, renewable energy is a practical long term solution to our growing energy needs.
Opponents of renewable energy are likely to argue that traditional energy creates jobs by citing statistics such as this one, “the biggest growth by far since the great recession has taken place in the mining, oil and natural gas industries, where jobs expanded by 60%, creating a total of 500,000 new jobs” (Kotkin). Facts like these are construed in that they do not...