Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy
Energy can be explained as having the ability to do work. There are many forms of energy potential, electrical, chemical and magnetic just to name a few. Energy is used for everything an individual must do from preparing a meal to launching a rocket. There are two general categories of energy: potential energy and kinetic energy. Potential energy is energy that has been saved waiting to be discharged including chemical, electrical and magnetic.
Kinetic energy is energy that is related to moving items. These energy categories can be classified as renewable or nonrenewable (Trefil & Hazen, 2010). Energy is used in every aspect of daily life. From the moment a person opens their eyes, energy is being used. Energy is used to get work done. The lights to illuminate the house, a stove for cooking, dishwasher to clean dishes, clothes washer for laundry and various electronics are powered by electricity. Electricity is supplied to customers by power that is created at plants then transferred to high voltage power lines known as the “grid” (EIA, 2012).
The tankless water heater used for all water heating needs, the furnace to heat a home in the winter and cool in the summer, and clothes dryer all receive energy from natural gas. Customers receive service for natural gas to their homes from lines that run from a main (AGA, 2013). Petroleum, a fossil fuel, powers the vehicle used to drive to work. Petroleum is derived from oil and gas exhumed from rocks deep within the earth. Once processed, the petroleum can be sold to customers to run their vehicles (Petroleum – Oil and Natural Gas, 2013).
Solar panels help supplement power to the travel trailer used for family fun and propane is used for BBQ cooking. Solar panels use the power of the sun to convert the light into energy. Propane is removed from crude oil during the refining process and made available to customers through portable cylinders (DeFilippo, 2011). During the summer months San Diegans have learned to make necessary adjustments to their energy usage because the “grid” can become overloaded. This has caused temporary rolling black outs in many cities through out the county.
This household is using natural gas and fossil fuels, which are nonrenewable sources of energy. Nonrewable sources are expensive long term and cannot be replenished after they have been used. Electricity, which is a secondary source, is neither nonrenewable nor renewable. Renewable energy is sources that are continuously being replaced (Trefil & Hazen, 2010). The only source of renewable energy this household is using is solar. Renewable energy sources assist in the preservation of natural resources individuals presently consume.
There are several types of renewable energy sources for example solar, hydropower and wind power. Solar power involves transferring the sun’s rays into solar cells, and then sunlight is converted into electricity. Solar energy is can be used for preparing food, heating and has been used for desalination of saltwater. Hydroelectric power originates from the potential energy of restricted water driving a water turbine and generator. This is similar to the water wheels that would drive mills. Wind energy is the use of the wind to generate power to move blades on a turbine.
The turning of the blades is changed into electrical flow by a generator. Wind towers constructed on farms can capture the electrical flow and distribute the current to grids providing electricity on a national level, isolated locations or individual homes (Orloff, 2013). Renewable energy sources are good for the environment, economy and overall health however they may not always be available or appropriate for consumers. Solar and wind energy are not appropriate at this specific location.
The roof on the house is not oriented for south facing solar panels and the lot size is not sufficient to build a wind tower. Our family’s dream is to buy a property large enough to support the renewable energies of solar panels and a wind turbine. Electricity and natural gas are the only viable options due to lot location and consumer cost. At this time it would seem the nonrenewable energy is our best choice. There are several advantages and disadvantages for each type of energy previously discussed. One advantage of solar power is the Sun.
As long as it survives, Earth will benefit from it. Solar power production discharges no water or air pollution. Solar energy can be used cost-effectively for heating and lighting. Another benefit of solar power is to heat pools and spas. The disadvantages of solar power it does not produce energy if the sun is not shining during the day or at nighttime and there is limited power on cloudy days. Solar power stations are pricey to construct. Some of the advantages for hydroelectric power are power stations can quickly raise to filled capacity.
Electricity can be produced continuously. Hydroelectric power creates no pollution and water used can be recycled. The disadvantages to hydroelectric power are Dams can be very high-priced to construct. It is a necessity for an adequate, and powerful source of water to generate energy in the area. An advantage to wind energy it will make no pollution. Wind generation is a renewable source of energy, and it will never run out. Wind farms can be manufactured offshore. A disadvantage to wind power wind is sporadic. Reliable wind is necessary for uninterrupted power production.
If wind speed declines, the turbine idles and less electricity is produced. Wind farms can have an undesirable effect on the landscape (Orloff, 2013). Several advantages to natural gas are it is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, generally accessible, and made detectable by adding synthetic scent. Some disadvantages to natural gas are emissions despite burning cleanly, high transportation costs, and lack of alternatives due to shortage of infrastructure. Advantages of petroleum are, they are cost-effective, easy to transport and the basis for many prescription drugs.
Disadvantages of petroleum are environmental issues from drilling, extreme emission levels and availability is limited due to location (Energy Source Comparison, 2013). Finally, advantages for electricity are non-toxic as a vehicle power source, powers many appliances and electronics and they are cheap to produce. Disadvantages of electricity, are pollution, electric shock, it is often created from crude oil, which is nonrenewable (Brachmann, 2013). Alternative sources of energy in most cases are still too expensive for the average consumer.
In an effort to reduce toxins and conserve energy, our household does a small part by turning off lights when leaving a room, installed solar lighting, use of a thermostat to recommended gas and electric settings and combine errands to save fuel. Additional ways energy could be conserved are the future purchase of an alternative fuel vehicle, replacement of the home insulation, and installation of solar paneling when pricing is more consumer friendly. Energy is the ability to work. There are two categories of energy, renewable and nonrenewable. Renewable energy can be replaced and used again. Once a nonrenewable source of energy has been depleted it is gone forever. Individuals must conserve and find alternative sources of energy in order to have the energy they will need for the future.