How can switching to renewable fuel build sustainability?
Currently, around 60% of the United States energy comes from fossil fuels. If we are going to reach a more sustainable future – switching to renewable fuel we use will be central to our success. This category is important to us because it involves changing our energy infrastructure so that we stop adding to the climate problem.
It’s also a great way to rebuild communities, build affordable energy, and provide new jobs.
Another way of thinking about renewable solutions is “fuel switching,” and it’s a critical component to us moving towards a cleaner and less carbon intensive future.
Currently, we focus on four types of renewable energies:
Hydropower: Hydropower is the world’s largest source of renewable energy. Furthermore, it is cost-effective; Oregon, Idaho, and Washington get the majority of their power from hydroelectricity and have lower energy bills compared to other states. While replenishing from rain and snow makes hydropower infinite, there are some drawbacks. Large dams can destroy ecosystems and displace populations. Additionally, silt buildup and droughts can hurt equipment that is expensive and difficult to fix. But, there is hope for a less damaging form of hydroelectricity. Scientists are currently capturing energy from ocean waves, a process that does not hurt the surrounding ecosystem. These projects are still in their early stages but could lead to a more sustainable future with hydropower.
Wind: The first documented reports of wind being used as a power source originated over 7,000 years ago. Now, wind turbines can be seen in almost every state, and as their price keeps dropping more will pop up. There have been complaints from residents near wind turbines, with some saying they are an eyesore that makes awful noises. While some people may not find the turbines aesthetically pleasing, their potential benefits are too great to ignore. In 2020, wind turbines created 337.5 billion kilowatts of power in the United States, the country that produces the most wind energy. In a 16 year period, the world has seen wind energy increase 22 fold, and the industry is continuously improving. New projects have focused on offshore turbines, removing the complaints that occur when they are close to human populations. Additionally, engineers are working to make the turbine less dangerous for bats and birds, meaning the future turbines could become even better for the environment.
Solar: Solar Power is often talked about as the future of renewable energy despite the mere 11% of total renewable energy it produces. Despite this, many researchers believe that solar energy is the future of renewables, and they have the research to back it up. In the ten-year period from 2007-2017, the energy capacity of solar panels increased a staggering 4,300 percent. The only issue currently is the cost. Places that receive abundant sunlight have realistic prices, but locations such as Massachusetts or Alaska, which receive less total sunlight per year in comparison to other states, have to pay almost 20 cents per kWh, 7 cents more per kWh compared to fossil fuels. However, Once solar panels become cheaper to produce, their increased capacity makes it feasible for them to replace fossil fuels as the main source of energy. Investments in this sector are more important than ever, as it will help lower costs per hour.
Geothermal: As the name suggests, geothermal energy is derived from the natural heat the interior of the earth produces. In large-scale applications, geothermal energy can be taken from underground reservoirs of steam and hot water by tapping it through wells. On a smaller scale, individual office buildings can have geothermal wells that use the differences in underground temperatures to fuel their business.
While renewables have come a long way, there is still more work to be done before we can move to a clean energy future. Our goal is to help invest in these projects to bring the technology to a point where it can be a reliable, consistent and clean form of fuel to power our world.