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Using Renewable Energy In Our Daily Lives Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 3284 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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We all are concerned about our future with regard to the way we generate energy and power. Renewable energy is the process by which we use the radiant energy from the sun, wind, and hydropower etc. Unfortunately we are not using renewable energy in most cases and the methods by which we currently getting our raw materials for power and energy are simultaneously destroying our planet and depleting supplies of natural resources. The damages we have caused might take generations to reverse. Many of us who care wants to do something by raising their voice as we are on a threshold of change.

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Renewable energy resources are not only our way out of an environmental disaster; they could solve some of our economic woes. Many countries are embracing renewable energy and it has benefited n several ways. These benefits include saving consumers money and reducing unemployment. This is not a luxury that we pursue when the cost of gasoline goes up. Now is the time to convert our mode of transportation to clean electricity that we get from renewable sources. This is a necessity that is going to save the lives of future generations. We can survive the problems which we have created in order to power our world. The climate is changing and we have entire species of animals that are now extinct due to pollution. Let’s look at the maximum possibilities as we are in the midst of a crisis therefore we must act according to what will benefit our generations.


Finding the main reasons for not using renewable energy in our daily lives.


Literature Review

Brief History

Prior to the development of coal in the mid 19th century, all energy used was renewable, with the primary sources being human labor, animal power in the form of oxen, mules, and horses, water power for mill power, wind for grinding grain, and firewood. A graph of energy use in the United States up until 1900 shows oil and natural gas with about the same importance in 1900 as wind and solar played in 2010.

By 1873, concerns of running out of coal prompted experiments with using solar energy. Development of solar engines continued until the outbreak of World War I. The eventual importance of solar energy, though, was recognized in a 1911 Scientific American article: “in the far distant future, natural fuels having been exhausted [solar power] will remain as the only means of existence of the human race”.

In the 1970s environmentalists promoted the development of alternative energy both as a replacement for the eventual depletion of oil, as well as for an escape from dependence on oil, and the first wind turbines appeared. Solar had always been used for heating and cooling, but solar panels were too costly to build solar farms until 1980. The theory of peak oil was published in 1956.

By 2008 renewable energy had ceased being an alternative, and more capacity of renewable energy was added than other sources in both the United States and in Europe.

Renewable energy is becoming more and more prevalent around the world, but it is still not the dominant energy resource. Renewable energy is derived from natural processes that are replenished constantly. In its various forms, it derives directly from the sun, or from heat generated deep within the earth. Included in the definition is electricity and heat generated from solar, wind, ocean, hydropower, biomass, geothermal resources, and biofuels and hydrogen derived from renewable resources.

Renewable Energy – as a replacement for Conventional Fuel

Renewable energy replaces conventional fuels in four distinct areas: electricity generation, hot water/space heating, motor fuels, and rural (off-grid) energy services:

Power generation. Renewable energy provides 19% of electricity generation worldwide. Renewable power generators are spread across many countries, and wind power alone already provides a significant share of electricity in some areas: for example, 14% in the U.S. state of Iowa, 40% in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, and 20% in Denmark. Some countries get most of their power from renewables, including Iceland (100%), Norway (98%), Brazil (86%), Austria (62%), New Zealand (65%), and Sweden (54%).

Heating. Solar hot water makes an important contribution to renewable heat in many countries, most notably in China, which now has 70% of the global total (180 GWth). Most of these systems are installed on multi-family apartment buildings and meet a portion of the hot water needs of an estimated 50-60 million households in China. Worldwide, total installed solar water heating systems meet a portion of the water heating needs of over 70 million households. The use of biomass for heating continues to grow as well. In Sweden, national use of biomass energy has surpassed that of oil. Direct geothermal for heating is also growing rapidly.

Transport fuels. Renewable biofuels have contributed to a significant decline in oil consumption in the United States since 2006. The 93 billion liters of biofuels produced worldwide in 2009 displaced the equivalent of an estimated 68 billion liters of gasoline, equal to about 5% of world gasoline production

In international public opinion surveys there is strong support for promoting renewable sources such as solar power and wind power, requiring utilities to use more renewable energy (even if this increases the cost), and providing tax incentives to encourage the development and use of such technologies. There is substantial optimism that renewable energy investments will pay off economically in the long term.

Primary Source of Renewable Energy

With so much dependency placed upon our natural resources to produce our much needed energy, scientists have been evaluating and producing renewable energy as an alternative to traditional energy sources.  Renewable energy is energy that can be reproduced in a short period of time.  The most prevalent forms of renewable energy are solar, wind, biomass, hydro power, geothermal and biofuels.



An abundant source of renewable energy, wind power is used as a means of generating electricity. Wind turbines are capable of harnessing the power derived from the wind, converting kinetic energy into mechanical energy. A source of clean, green renewable energy, favourable climate conditions in Europe means wind energy is a highly viable method for electricity generation. And none more so than in the UK, with 40% of all wind energy in Europe blowing over the country.


In one form or another, solar power has been around for thousands of years. As a renewable source of free, green energy, technology has found a way of harnessing the sun’s energy via solar panels which are used either to generate electricity (solar photovoltaics) or to produce heat to warm water (solar thermal). A popular choice in a growing renewable energy market, solar technology doesn’t generate greenhouse cases and is environmentally friendly.


Biomass energy is produced from organic materials such as plants and animals, but the energy that is produced in this fashion is originally provided by the sun.  For example, plants absorb the sun’s energy through a process called photosynthesizes.  This energy is then passed on through the organism that eats the plant, creating biomass energy.  The most common forms used to generate biomass energy are wood, crops, manure and some rubbish.

When these substances are burned, they give off energy as heat.  For example, if you have a wood fuelled heating, you are generating renewable biomass energy.  This is not the only method of generating biomass energy; you can also create biomass energy by converting these substances into methane gases, ethanol and biodiesel fuels which can be translated more easily into our current methods of energy use.


Geothermal energy comes from the original Greek word “Geo” which means sun. Geothermal energy is derived from the heat that is given off by the Earth.  For example, steam energy or hot water that is generated by the Earth can be used to generate energy.  It is considered to be a renewable source of energy as the water in the Earth is replenished by regular rainfall and the heat used is regularly produced by the planet.

Hydro Power

Hydro energy is derived from the movement of water.  One form of hydro power is generated through the movement of water through turbines, such as water running through turbines in a Dam.  Hydro power is considered a renewable energy source as the water is continuously cycled back through the plant or into nature.


Biofuels are a form of renewable energy derived from burning plant or animal substances, otherwise called combustion. One of the challenges to biofuels has been that it is not easily transferred into a liquid form which is the primary method used to fuel most cars and homes. Two of the most common strategies that are seed to produce biofuels includes: growing crops to produce ethanol and growing plants that produce biofuel oils. While these methods are effective sources of renewable energy, they are challenging to produce and maintain on a large scale.

The basic feature of renewable energy is that it has the capacity to be regenerated and, as such, is virtually inexhaustible, besides being environmentally friendly. These are the two major properties that distinguish it from traditional energy sources.

In recent years, these two features have pushed renewable energies to the forefront since, if current fossil fuel consumption rates are maintained, they would only be able to meet our energy needs for a few more decades before running out. The damage to the environment, on the other hand, caused by the burning of fossil fuels and the resulting climate changes, force us to consider alternative energy sources if we want to preserve the planet and guarantee the well-being of future generations.


The advantages of renewable energy over traditional energy sources are many and are receiving ever greater recognition. Technological progress in recent years has contributed to making renewable energy ever cheaper and efficient in generating electricity.

The main advantages of renewable energies are:

They are inexhaustible, whereas fossil fuels are limited.

They have less of an environmental impact than fossil fuel energy sources (coal, oil and gas), since they do not produce carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. They are less of a risk than nuclear energy.

They provide energy independence to a country, given that their use does not depend on the import of fossil fuels (which only exist in certain regions of the world).

They allow a country to develop certain areas within its borders.


It is easy to recognise the environmental advantages of utilising the alternative and renewable forms of energy but we must also be aware of the disadvantages.

One disadvantage with renewable energy is that it is difficult to generate the quantities of electricity that are as large as those produced by traditional fossil fuel generators. This may mean that we need to reduce the amount of energy we use or simply build more energy facilities. It also indicates that the best solution to our energy problems may be to have a balance of many different power sources.

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Another disadvantage of renewable energy sources is the reliability of supply. Renewable energy often relies on the weather for its source of power. Hydro generators need rain to fill dams to supply flowing water. Wind turbines need wind to turn the blades, and solar collectors need clear skies and sunshine to collect heat and make electricity. When these resources are unavailable so is the capacity to make energy from them. This can be unpredictable and inconsistent. The current cost of renewable energy technology is also far in excess of traditional fossil fuel generation. This is because it is a new technology and as such has extremely large capital cost.

Research Methodology

Findings and Results

Reasons of not Using Renewable energy in Daily Lives

 Time and time again, we have to explain to them why their reasoning is unfounded but still we find the same excuses wherever we go.  So we thought we’d take a little time to dispel the four most common excuses for not utilizing solar power.

It’s Too Expensive

Everyone seems to know that federal and state governments have significant financial incentives in place to help promote the adoption of solar power.   Even after these incentives, the average residential solar system costs between $10,000 and $30,000 and for most people, this represents a major capital investment.  As a result, most people stop there and say, “I can’t afford it.”  

What they don’t know is that there are a number of financing options available to help ease the cost of solar.  For example, a number of solar installers offer financing programs , similar to small loan or mortgage, where there is little to no up front cost and finance the balance of the purchase price through a loan.  As a result, the homeowner does not have to come up with cash upfront but can amortize the cost of the solar system over time.  What’s great is that when you factor in a your reduced utility bill from solar and the amortization cost of the panels, this amount is most likely still less than your electric bill without solar power.  So you save immediately and that savings grows over time as electricity rates increase.

There are also programs where you can lease the panels  for little to no up front costs and you pay a small, manageable monthly fee over the term of the lease.  Again, the savings on your electric bill from the solar panels plus this leasing fee is still likely to be less than your current electric bill without solar.  There is also a mechanism called a power purchase agreement , which is a great option for larger projects, where the solar installer installs and owns the panels on the roof of your home/building but provides you electricity and simply charges you a flat fee for that electricity over the life of the agreement (typically 15-20 years).  That way you are guaranteed a set rate of electricity over a long period of time (protecting you from annual rises in electricity rates) and there is no up front cost to you.

The moral of the story is that there are a lot of options for people to pay for solar panels. Gone are the days where you have to come up with all the money for solar panels up front. There are simply more ways than ever to finance and make the cost of solar work out beneficially for residential and commercial consumers alike.

Solar Won’t Work in cold climate

Another really bad excuse. The average temperature in a climate region does not have an effect on solar panels.  In fact, solar panels are actually slightly more efficient at producing electricity in cold temperatures.

The critical factor for solar panels is a concept called solar isolation which is the amount of sunlight that the solar cells receive. Obviously, the more the better so even if you live in a colder climate that is further north and receive ample amounts of sunlight, solar should work just fine for you. (If you want to learn more about how solar panels work, you can click here .) Remember, Germany, is which is farther north than just about any state in the U.S., is the world leader in solar photovoltaic energy with over 9,000 Megawatts.  That’s almost enough to cover the roofs of 2 million U.S. houses!   So don’t worry if you live in a cold climate, just make sure that you receive plenty of sunshine.

No Power – if its cloudy

A reasonable concern, but again, not a good reason to avoid solar power.  As stated above, it’s not temperature that affects the performance of solar panels, rather it is the amount sunlight received.  And even in the sunniest of locations, there are going to be days where there is cloud cover or rain (not to mentioned nightfall) and your solar panels’ performance may be compromised.  Not to worry…you will not be left in the dark.

Residential and commercial solar panels these days are almost always connected to the utility grid…it is called a grid-tie.  So, while your solar panels are exposed to the sun, the electricity they produce powers your house or building.  But when it is cloudy or nightfall, you will still be able to draw power for your home or building because you remain connected to the electrical grid.

Another cool concept is what is called net metering.  In states that allow net metering, if your solar panels produce more electricity in a day than you are consuming, that extra electricity is fed back into the electric grid and can actually spin your electric meter backward.  As a result, at the end of the month, the electric company will take into account the electricity that you fed back in to the grid through your solar power system and you will only pay for the net amount of electricity that you consume.

People do not know Where to Start Getting Solar

The worst excuse of them all!  First of all, there is a tons of information on the Internet related to solar, so for starters you can get educated that way. However, we understand that there may be so much information that you are overwhelmed. Never fear, sites likeMyEnergySolution.com  take the mystery out of the solar process. MyEnergySolution.com contains all the information you need to know about how solar works, what to expect and even ideas to help finance your solar power system. With sites like MyEnergySolution.com , there is no excuse not to understand the key elements of going solar.

“But what about getting a solar installer?  How do I know who to pick?”  Another great question.  You can obviously talk to friends who have installed solar power systems in their homes and ask for a reference.  But if you don’t have references, solar energy matching services can also take much of the guess work out of selecting a solar installer.  There are several free matching services that connect you with pre-selected and highly reputable solar installers based.  The process is simple: you provide basic information on your location and project type and within minutes or up to 1-2 business days the qualified solar installers will contact you to bid on your project.  These services have saved homeowners time and the headache of dealing with poor quality installers.  For example, see www.solar-energy-installers.com .

Critical Evaluation

Conclusion and Recommendation

We know that people have other reasons for not going solar and that is fine.  Choosing solar is a personal/business decision that can only be made by you. However too often, we have seen a number of friends and business associates avoid solar power based on the excuses above yet solar power could have been so value-added to their home or commercial project.  Our goal here is to hopefully de-bunk the biggest excuses that we have seen and help show that there are answers and solutions out there for your concerns. 


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