What source of energy is best?
There are multiple ways of powering our appliances, heating and cooling our houses and illuminating our lives. Coal has been around for years and is currently one of the cheapest methods of generating power because it is plentiful. Coal is burned to produce heat which is then converted to power. Coal is not very efficient, it is not renewable and it pollutes the environment.
Natural gas is also used to create electricity, although it has its drawbacks as well. A major limitation to natural gas is the storage and transportation of natural gas. Natural gas must be stored until the incinerator is ready to burn it, however the gas takes up a massive amount of space. Large tanks are used, or in many cases the gas is stored in a underground cavern where some gas had been trapped in the past. Natural is cleaner than coal, but it still emits pollution.
Nuclear power generation has been out of favor for some time now. Following a few high profile nuclear disasters, it has been difficult to get a nuclear project approved. Nuclear is relatively efficient and clean if you do not consider the radioactive waste that must be stored for a thousand years. Unfortunately, you can not ignore the waste and health hazards that nuclear power presents.
Hydro-electric has been billed as the cleanest, most efficient and best method of generating power. Without addressing the merits of that statement, you have to have a river to harness and an area large enough to store a massive amount of water in. Then there are factors such as the amount of rainfall and snow each year and transmission of power over long distances. Electricity must be pushed through transmission lines. When the distance traveled is far, a considerable amount of electricity is lost.
Although renewable energy sources have their drawbacks, none of them pollute the environment. Additionally, once renewal energy plants are built, it takes very little effort and labor to keep them running. By definition, we will never run out of sunlight or winds.
Renewable energy sources may be the answer to the problems described above and will have the added benefit of bringing jobs. Construction workers, electricians, people who do electrician and energy trades training, administrators and managers must be hired to develop these projects. Many large scale solar and wind projects have been proposed in recent years. After these projects are done, as long as the electrician and energy trades schools keep training people, energy will be flowing without polluting at a cheaper rate.
*Infographic from Good.
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