Could renewable energy be the answer to our energy problems?

In recent years, the U.S. has increasingly been using renewable energy instead of nonrenewable sources, such as methane and petroleum. Yet, renewable energy sources still only make up less than 15 percent of the nation’s energy use, the rest being either nuclear or nonrenewable energy.

The renewable energy sources that the world currently exploits the most include geothermal, wind, solar, biomass waste, biofuels, wood and hydroelectricity. Biomass waste, biofuels and wood emit greenhouse gases in low amounts relative to fossil fuels. The others do not directly release greenhouse gases.

At the current rate of consumption, the world has about 40 years of nonrenewable natural resources left. In a few generations, there won’t be any resources left to exploit. Coal and oil, the most valuable and most consumed resources, are set to run out in 40 years, but current rates are predicted to increase, so the time estimate could be even less. Aluminum is set to run out in the next 70 years, since the resources used to make it will be depleted. However, aluminum can be quickly and easily recycled, which would help to lengthen the life of our resources by a significant period.

Even freshwater is running low. Only two percent of the world’s water is freshwater, of which most is in ice or snow form. Water can also be recycled safely and quickly to lengthen the lifetime of our water resources.

Overall, renewable energy sources are much better for the environment than nonrenewable sources. Even so, with current technologies, these sources aren’t efficient. Enough energy hits Earth from the sun to power every home on the planet. The only problem is that we don’t know how to harness all that energy. Most of our renewable energy comes from wind, biomass, and hydroelectricity, but they are still less efficient than fossil fuels and natural gas. If more money was invested into renewable energy, technologies would improve, improving efficiency and eventually fixing the world’s energy problems.

The main problem with renewable energy is its inconsistency and unreliability. It has proven difficult to produce the same amount of energy from nonrenewable and renewable sources. Most sources rely on the weather or the environment, which cannot be controlled. Nonrenewable energy sources, on the other hand, can be easily controlled,implemented and aren’t affected by environmental factors. So, nonrenewable sources are the safe bet. However, if technologies improve and make renewable energy more efficient and cost effective, it would surely be a much better alternative to nonrenewable energy that also doesn’t harm the environment.

For now, the world should continue to use nonrenewable resources. It is the only viable and reliable source of energy that can meet our demands. Renewable energy is a better alternative that doesn’t harm the environment, but in its current state and with current technologies, it isn’t a viable alternative. Renewable energy will not be able to meet the world’s energy demands if we immediately shifted over from nonrenewable energy. The world needs a gradual shift for people to get used to the new source of energy and for energy sources to improve.

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