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Environmental Impacts of Renewable Energy Technologies - Essay Example

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Environmental Impacts of Renewable Energy Technologies Name: Instructor: Date: Table of Contents Table of Figures Figure 1 3 Figure 2 5 Abstract This paper examines the environmental impacts of renewable energy sources, which have been largely ignored retrospectively since the new energy was seen as a panacea to the problems occasioned by fossil fuels…
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Environmental Impacts of Renewable Energy Technologies
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Download file to see previous pages Biomass combustion and geothermal plants release greenhouse gases in qualities that are comparable to coals was well as sulfur and nitrogen dioxides which pollute the air and cause acid rain. Finally, there is nuclear power, which poses catastrophic threats in case of accidents and the release of radioactive water and gases into the atmosphere in addition to the production of GHG from emergency diesel engines. Figure 1 Fig 1.1 World primary energy consumption and CO2 emissions. (Hung 2010) Introduction In most of the world’s countries, the primary sources of energy are carbon based fossil fuels, this are however finite considering the fact that it takes millions of years for them to form although they are depleted in substantially less time. They are gradually becoming harder to extract as well as more expensive and this has in retrospect resulted into political conflict as nation’s battle each other in competition for these resources (Asif and Muneer, 2007). In addition, the environmental impacts of fossil fuels have proved dire owing to the inevitable production of GHGs, which follows their combustion. The corollary has been a myriad of negative environmental effects such as a marked increase in the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere that is threating to drastically change the global climate. In addition, the CLC that are also byproducts of burning carbon fuels have depleted the ozone layer and this exposes the world to dangerous infrared shortwave radiation, which poses a plethora of health danger for life on earth (Drabyk, 2001). More direct and short term impacts of fossil fuel include massive pollution of air and water the former resulting in acid rain, health problems such as Asthma and the latter mainly merging in oil seepages and leakages in water bodies. The innumerable problems attributed to fossil fuels and their apparent finiteness has necessitated a shift to renewable energy that many tout as the only feasible source of energy. While conceding that renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and hydroelectric power portend clean and efficient energy, they are not a silver bullet and just like the non-renewable sources, they come with their share of environmental impacts (Letcher, 2008). This is in view of the fact that the new energy sources require significant investment in terms of resources and infrastructure to harvest them and this ultimately results in certain ramification for the environment that are however not very widely researched owing to the popular opinion that they are the embodiment of eco- friendly power Figure 2 Fig 2: Shares of energy sources used in electricity production, 2007. (Lenzen 2010) Solar power The sun is a source of a considerable amount of clean renewable energy that is arrested through solar panels and used to power machinery and generally provide energy both for industrial and domestic use. Notwithstanding, solar power plants have the potential to significantly impact the environment through; land use habitat loss and environmentally hazardous materials that are used in the manufacturing of the hardware. Large scale solar power plants have raised concerns about the land degradation and power loss, typically the amount of land that wil be require often depends on the topography or an area and the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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