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The importance of renewable energy: forward thinking for the future

The idea of renewable energy is still relatively new; let alone the implementation of it. It is often thought of as the next great technology that will one day replace mankind’s dependency on fossil fuels. Although the current problem remains to be cost, one can be optimistic to believe the cost to install renewable resources will decrease over time. A consistent dilemma continues to be focused on where country funding should be spent: should it be used to build sequestration sites to eliminate carbon dioxide or to install renewable energy systems?

It seems that in every era exists a perceived fossil fuel shortage that leads to panic and an urge to develop renewable resources. The United States alone accounts for about 50% of the world’s energy consumption, and as such requires 25,921 km² to be covered in solar photovoltaic panels to generate enough energy for a single year. This number is reduced when alternate renewable energy types are considered, such as wind or geothermal renewable energy systems. The amount of land required to power the United States could be greatly minimized by determining the location of large-scale arrays in desert regions of lesser importance ecologically. California in the United States and Ontario in Canada have been the two largest contributors of rooftop solar arrays in North America, which also use land that was already accounted for.

The process to reduce and potentially eliminate carbon dioxide involves building pipelines to transfer carbon dioxide to sequestration sites, which are extremely costly at one to two million dollars per kilometer. In addition to cost, the process also takes a great deal of energy to complete. The sequestration process is also very dangerous: if a reservoir happens to break and lead to carbon dioxide reaching the surface, it would displace oxygen.

It is merely a matter of time before fossil fuels do run out permanently. Now is the time to start thinking toward the future and implementing renewable energy resources across the globe. The combination of solar panel arrays, wind turbines, and geothermal energy systems will help the future population live on a cleaner planet.

A Realizable Renewable Energy Future (John A. Turner, 1999)
Organic-Based Photovoltaics: Toward Low-Cost Power Generation (Sean E. Shaheen, David S. Ginley, and Ghassan E. Jabbour, 2005)

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