Is Renewable Energy Bad for the Environment?

  • By: Preetam
  • Date: August 8, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Everything comes down to cost in the global economy we all live in. 

I want to introduce the idea that we incorporate monetary loss when contemplating over cost as well as environmental and health loss. 

We need to stop primarily focusing on the direct costs such as money paid out of pocket. 

We need to also focus on the future cost of what we are buying and how we can choose to buy sustainably to promote the environment and health.

Don’t get me wrong, all energy sources have some type of impact on the environment, even renewable ones. 

The goal is to have the most minor effect on the environment, though. 

Renewable energy sources by far have a less negative impact on the environment and human health than fossil fuels or other energy sources that are primarily used today.  

Is renewable energy bad for the environment?

It seems as though anywhere humans touch the environment, it turns out bad for it. 

I would have to agree with the statement that renewable energy sources are bad for the environment, but they are undoubtedly the lesser of two evils. 

When it comes down to the comparison between renewable energy sources:

  • Wind
  • Solar
  • Hydro
  • Tidal
  • Geothermal
  • Biomass

and nonrenewable energy sources:

  • Oil
  • natural gas
  • Coal
  • Nuclear

Nonrenewable energy sources far outweigh renewable resources in terms of their detrimental effect on the environment. 

What are the negatives of renewable energy?

  1. It requires a considerable upfront cost – the installation of solar panels, wind turbines, and hydroelectricity plants cost a pretty penny, to say the least. All of these require a heft upfront investment to build and have high maintenance costs to keep running. This is because they require careful planning and implementation that cannot be overlooked, rushed, or looked over. Not only that, cities need to obtain the electricity generated by these so power lines must be installed to transport it. 
  1. It takes up a lot of space to install – this statement is pretty self-explanatory. Solar panels, wind turbines, and hydroelectric plants are large. They take up space. 
  1. It is expensive to store – One factor that people often overlook when considering renewable energy as an option is the cost it takes to store the produced energy. If the energy is not stored, it is lost, and all the work done by renewable energy sources is for nothing. To store the energy created, you must invest in a battery, which can be expensive. Many batteries also wear out quickly, which can become a problem.
  1. There are low-efficiency levels – There is somewhat a lack of knowledge given how new renewable energy sources are to the market. The lack of sufficient knowledge from trial and error on efficiently and effectively harnessing renewable energy sources implements more renewable resources less viable. There is constant research on efficiently harnessing different renewable resources, but we are not quite there yet.
  1. It can be unreliable – some renewable resources are entirely reliant on the weather, such as solar and wind. That being said, not all renewable energy sources are. It depends on the renewable resource in question. 
  1. The electricity generation capacity is still not large enough – It is still challenging for large amounts of electricity to be generated by renewable resources. This means that a balance of renewable resources and fossil fuels will still be used for years to come unless we innovate and implement more renewable plants and generators. 

Yes, renewable energy does have disadvantages, but they are far less detrimental than continuing to use fossil fuels at the rate we do. 

According to altenergymag, “renewables are making a notable difference in the world as they are helping to curb carbon emissions. 

What scientists, engineers, companies, and nations expanding their power capacities need to focus on is implementing solutions that keep negative impacts of renewables in check.”

Why is renewable energy sometimes unreliable?

The only two renewable resources that are somewhat unreliable are solar power and wind power. 

These are unreliable because they are variable. 

The sun does not always shine, and the wind does not always blow, but that does not make renewable energy as a whole unreliable. 

To get down to it, saying renewable energy is unreliable is a fallacy. 

Think about it; renewable energy is not just one source. No, it is roughly six sources:

  • Solar
  • Wind
  • Biomass
  • Geothermal
  • Hydro
  • Ocean

Of these six, only two are truly unreliable. 

The other four are capable of being manipulated and dialed up or down as needed. 

Now I will add that renewable energy is highly unreliable on a local scale because renewable energy is heavily dependent on location. 

Some places have more sun or wind than others. 

On a local scale, this can be detrimental. 

To fix this, we need to develop a better network of renewable energy plants. 

We need to build up our infrastructure to make it more interconnected to benefit the system and its efficiency.

If we can find a way to connect all six primary renewable resource sources, the whole system will be more efficient and better for the environment than fossil fuels ever were. 

This is because renewable energy will always be available for as long as humans live. Realistically, humans will have died off before renewable resources will. 

Fossil fuels will not always be available, making them even more unreliable. 

Conclusion 

It is universally accepted that we cannot continue the way we have been living by guzzling down fossil fuels at the rate we have. 

If we do, it will have a detrimental impact on the environment and our health that cannot be reversed. 

This is why renewable energy has become a popular idea to replace it. 

Even though there are negatives to renewable energy sources, there is substantial evidence that it far outweighs nonrenewable energy sources such as fossil fuels.

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