Green Energy: The Good and The Bad

Countries, like the United States, have been taking steps in recent years to use more renewable energy in hopes of curbing the effects of climate change and helping our rapidly deteriorating planet. Renewable energy, however, is a controversial topic with supporters arguing that green energy will create more career opportunities in the energy sector and critics pointing out that it is costly and wasteful of the resources we have already. The truth is, there are both upsides and downsides to renewable energy. There are problems that haven’t been worked out yet, and situations that haven’t been fathomable until now, and due to the relative novelty of this system of energy, many people only have a surface-level understanding of it.


There are several considerable problems that people find with renewable energy. The main one being the amount of time and money it takes to install certain forms of renewable systems such as wind turbines and solar panels. Critiques claim that “setting up renewable energy generation facilities requires a huge financial outlay. The installation of wind turbines, solar panels, and hydroelectricity plants are relatively expensive. These plants require upfront investments to build, have high maintenance expenses, and require careful planning and implementation” (Thoubboron). They also mention that the amount of time it would take to set up new power lines so that everyone can have electricity would be much shorter.


Another very popular argument against green energy is the growing problem of green waste. Green waste is the term used to describe green energy machines that are no longer used. The problem here is finding a safe and economically-favorable way to dispose of them. These machines contain “environmental hazards like toxic metals, oil, fiberglass, and other materials” that can be incredibly toxic if they are not disposed of properly" (CEE), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency predicts that unless we find environmentally and economically friendly ways of disposing of green waste, countries will gradually accumulate large sums of green waste, with as much as 10 million tons of solar waste in the U.S. and 20 million tons in China. There are also smaller problems to combat such as the geography of a given area, how long each device will operate, whether the certain form of green energy will even be able to supply enough power, and storage capacity.


Even with all of the problems presented, renewable energy isn’t such a bad idea. Renewable energy is something you can profit off of and it will create many new jobs in a brand new field. Using renewable energy also saves everyone involved hundreds of thousands of dollars because “you’re using a technology that generates power from the sun, wind, steam, or natural processes, you don’t have to pay to refuel” (Thoubboron). Our overall carbon footprint will be lighter as we wouldn’t be using non-replenishable materials that emit deadly amounts of pollutants into the air, and this would also lead to an upward trend in global public health due to the decrease in pollutants that are usually generated by orthodox energy sources. The best part about using renewable energy is that we don’t have to worry about running out of energy sources. Wind, rain, and sunlight are consistently there, and we aren’t going to run out of them any time soon. Even though we have some problems to work out, renewable energy is the way to go, especially given the fact that most of the counterarguments brought up against renewable energy are composed of issues that can be easily be solved once we start mass production and usage of renewable sources. Renewable energy is by no means perfect, but the benefits of this type of energy are overwhelming compared to the downsides.


Sources

  1. “Advantages and Disadvantages of Renewable Energy.” Conserve Energy Future, 3 Aug. 2020, www.conserve-energy-future.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-renewable-energy.php

  2. O'Donoghue, Amy Joi. “The Dark Side of 'Green Energy' and Its Threat to the Nation's Environment.” Deseret News, Deseret News, 31 Jan. 2021, www.deseret.com/utah/2021/1/30/22249311/why-green-energy-isnt-so-green-and-poses-harm-to-the-environment-hazardous-waste-utah-china-solar

  3. Thoubboron, Kerry. “Advantages and Disadvantages of Renewable Energy: EnergySage.” Solar News, EnergySage, 25 Sept. 2020, news.energysage.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-renewable-energy/

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