Renewable (green) energy is gaining traction in the United States. The early energy users in the United States switched from wood to coal, petroleum, and natural gas to generate power. Today, as the usage of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and biofuel increases, the use of non-renewable energy sources such as coal, oil, and gas is progressively dropping.
Around 15% of total energy consumption in the United States came from renewable sources in 2016—a approximately 33% increase over the 10% renewable energy use of the preceding decade. Thus, everything are progressing in the correct direction. Surprisingly, almost 55% of renewable energy utilized in the United States in 2016 was consumed by the power generation business itself, to create electricity for its consumers. In 2016, around 15% of all power generated in the nation came from renewable sources.
Non-renewable Vs. Renewable Energy
Renewable energy sources that are not biomass-based, such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal, are desired since they do not directly generate greenhouse gases, whereas fossil fuels do. Renewable resources are likewise limitless and infinitely available (solar and wind, in particular). They contribute to the improvement of local air quality and, therefore, public health. The majority of renewable energy generation does not degrade the soil in the same way that fossil fuel extraction does. Renewable energy generation needs little to no water in many circumstances (particularly solar and wind).
Additionally, the higher initial expenses associated with converting to renewable energy are countered by reduced expenditures in subsequent years. Additionally, the renewable energy business generates far more jobs than the fossil fuels industry. Additionally, renewables strengthen the grid’s resilience by diversifying its electricity sources.
Renewable energy remains more expensive to develop and use than energy derived from fossil fuels for the time being. State and federal regulations and incentives have aided in the promotion of expanded renewable energy generation, and the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts continued growth in renewable energy consumption in the United States until 2040.
The increased costs connected with renewable energy are frequently the result of basic geographical concerns. Many of the most ideal locations for renewable energy generation are located in relatively remote areas (for example, wind turbines in the Texas and California deserts), making it relatively expensive to build transmission lines connecting rural sources to the areas where the majority of people live. Additionally, renewable energy sources are not available on a constant basis. Clouds diminish solar energy electrical power plant output, wind is stronger at certain times of the day than at others, reducing wind farm output during peak consumption, and protracted drought periods lower hydroelectric output.
As a result, each of our current energy sources, including renewables, has a number of distinct advantages and disadvantages. Current goals place a premium on integrating diverse sources in order to transition energy users to a sustainable future—an energy business model dubbed energy mix.
Sources Of Energy
Sources of Renewable Energy
Among the known renewable energy sources are the following:
- Landfill gas and biogas
- Solid waste from municipalities
- Biomass (wood and wood debris)
- Marine (harnessed tidal and wave power)
In 2016, the overall energy consumption in the United States was 97.4 quadrillion BTU, with petroleum accounting for 37%, natural gas accounting for 29%, coal accounting for 15%, and nuclear accounting for 9%. Renewable energy sources accounted for 10% of the total, including hydropower at 24%, biofuels at 22%, wind at 21%, wood at 19%, solar at 6%, biomass waste at 5%, and geothermal at 2%. NOTE: Due to the rounding of individual percentages, the aggregate of these may not equal 100 percent. (Source: EIA, Monthly Energy Review, April 2018.)
Sources of Non-Renewable Energy
The bulk of electrical energy in the United States continues to be generated by petroleum (37%) natural gas (29%) and coal (4%) for a combined total of 80 percent, with all renewables accounting for only approximately 20%. Nonetheless, 20% is a significant increase over the 0% of not long ago. Having a complete 20% of our energy come from renewable sources represents significant progress and speaks very well about the direction in which we are moving as a country. However, others believe we are progressing too slowly.
Investing in additional energy generation capacity ensures a secure energy supply in the future. Plans to ensuring the United States has a secure energy future include increasing residential energy efficiency, expanding development of sustainable resources, and reducing reliance on non-renewable resources.
The huge and extremely complicated difficulties associated with energy provision include the following:
- Sustainability of Resource Quantity and Supply
- Climate Change’s Impact on Energy Security Cost-Efficiency Analysis
- Finding long-term solutions to these critical concerns will need a concerted effort on the part of all stakeholders. Governments, communities, and energy suppliers must all cooperate together to achieve the shared aim of energy stability.
The Advantages of Green Energy
Green energy resources enable everyone to achieve energy independence, both individually and nationally.
Enterprises and families that invest in distributed energy generation, so becoming their own electrical power suppliers, can significantly lower their energy expenses over time and assure the energy security of their homes and businesses. Additionally, they contribute to a greener environment in which they live.
For The Country
As the United States expands its reliance on domestic solar and other renewable energy sources, our reliance on foreign supplies of fossil fuels decreases. The United States and any other country aiming to achieve energy independence benefit from increased economic and environmental stability as a result of the transition. Additionally, it enables a country to have greater flexibility in its international political dealings.
For The World
Renewable energy weaned the world’s people from their dependency on greenhouse-gas-emitting fossil fuels, therefore improving economic conditions and overall quality of life.
Energy Generation Mix in Comparison to the United States
Nonrenewable energy sources continue to provide more energy than renewable energy sources in Texas, as they do in the majority of other states (excluding Oregon and Washington). However, great things are occurring in Texas. According to Scientific American, wind energy accounted for over 23% of all energy produced in Texas in early 2017. This amount is 230 percent more than the 2010 figure of only 10%, and represents a dramatic improvement from a meager 3% renewable source in 2006. Thus, throughout the last two decades, Texas’ electricity generation has shifted significantly toward renewables.
Where traditional energy production methods are utilized, rapid economic expansion often results in lower air quality. However, utilizing renewable energy spurs economic growth while also improving air quality. This relationship between a healthy, functioning economy and local air quality (which is significantly influenced by energy generating sources such as coal, natural gas, nuclear, wind, and solar) becomes increasingly obvious in the information sections that follow. According to present, historical, and predicted future trends, Texas’ growing energy generating mix is on a favorable trajectory when compared to the rest of the United States.
The Future Of Renewable Energy
Although some of the United States’ federal government’s policies have reverted to promoting the use of fossil fuels, Texas and other states are accelerating their efforts to generate renewable energy on their own. And they’re making strides. Oklahoma, Iowa, Kansas, and North and South Dakota produce and use the highest percentages of electricity from renewable sources. However, Texas generates the most renewable energy.
Texas has considerably exceeded both its 1999 renewable energy output objectives and its 2005 reset goals. Indeed, the state presently generates more electricity from wind than the majority of countries. Georgetown, TX, a community located outside of Austin, TX, with a population of 50,000 and is currently totally powered by renewable energy. The community made the switch in 2012, citing long-term economic reasons, including the fact that wind energy has a higher price stability over time than oil and gas.
Georgetown may serve as a model for the future of renewable energy utilization in municipalities throughout Texas. And, while the town converted entirely to wind energy, it stands as an extraordinary example of what is feasible in terms of a more varied profile of renewable energy use across the United States and the world.
Other indicators of progress included in the 2016 report are the following:
- Wind energy generated 50% of the electricity consumed in various Great Plains states in the United States, a record high. Their high percentage of renewable energy use in these leading states is a result of their clear awareness of the environmental and economic benefits of renewable energy.
- Iowa, another pioneer in wind and solar energy, has large resources that it sells to its Wisconsin and Illinois neighbors. Both of the latter states have regulations that prioritize the use of renewable energy, which has resulted in a robust regional clean energy market.
- Renewable energy’s unmatched scalability reduces energy costs over time, even after the original capital investment is made. Over 90% of the cost of renewable energy generation is spent on the construction and startup of renewable energy operations. Fuel is completely free once the engine is started.