Nonfiction in response to Affordable and Clean Energy
July 2018

The Cleanest Energy

By Grace Muresan
CC Image Courtesy of Duke Energy 

Everybody needs electricity. It turns on lights, keeps the fridge cool, runs central heating for warmth, runs the stove and oven, and lots of other things we all need. But before you plug in your computer, where does all that energy come from? Is it cheap? Clean? Safe? Sustainable? What is the ideal type of energy to use? In the following article I will try to answer these questions.

These are the 9 main energy sources. They are not in any particular order.

1. Coal – Burning coal is a major source of CO2 emissions, but coal energy is cheap.

2. Solar – Solar cells and hot water pipes are the most expensive, but they are clean and sustainable.

3. Nuclear – Nuclear energy is the most used type of energy that doesn’t emit CO2, but it can be dangerous to workers.

4. Wind – Wind energy is clean, sustainable, renewable, and relatively cheap, so it’s a good choice.

5. Geothermal – Geothermal energy is the cheapest clean, sustainable, and renewable energy source there is.

6. Water – Clean and renewable, but water turbines, dams, and other water energy harvesting contraptions may affect wildlife.

7. Biomass – Biomass energy is considered legally renewable by the UN, because plant material can be regrown, but burning bio material emits CO2.

8. Oil – Oil energy is nonrenewable, not sustainable, and not clean, but it is cheaper than cleaner alternatives.

9. Gas – Although gas is a fossil fuel, natural gas energy is considered to be renewable and clean.

America is currently in a political argument about coal energy.

Our current president, Donald Trump, claims that “clean coal” is better than natural gas. Burning coal is not a clean way to generate energy, but due to the fact that this industry is less regulated recently, coal energy is a lot cheaper. Which side is correct?

This is the bad side: Coal is a fossil fuel made billions of years ago, and if we continue to use it tirelessly, the coal will run out. Burning coal releases CO2, which is bad for the atmosphere and causes global warming. Coal miners may inhale coal dust, which can lead to many health problems including cancer.

This is the good side: coal energy is cheaper than other fuel sources, and it provides a stable source of energy. It provides jobs for people such as transporting the coal.

 

In my opinion, energy sources that are cleaner and more sustainable should be used instead of coal, or at least more regulations should be put on coal harvesting companies, for the health of workers and the atmosphere.

 

Energy is very important for people to live, so even if you are using a sustainable and renewable energy source, you should still save energy to keep your utility bills to a minimum.

Here are a few ways to conserve energy:

  • Use low energy consuming lightbulbs

  • Turn off all electronics when you leave a room

  • Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth

  • Double check all electronic appliances and turn them off when leaving a room

Electricity nowadays is considered a basic household tool used for everything, but many people do not have electricity every day. Be careful about how you use energy.

 

Now I will try to answer the question from the introduction: what is the ideal type of energy to use?

 

Some people will simply pick the cheapest type of energy possible from their local provider, but if you are picking an energy source for your home, please think about the environment. Buying solar panels may save you money overtime, and they are good for the environment, but they are expensive. Coal is usually the cheapest energy, although it leaves a large carbon footprint.

 

I personally recommend geothermal energy due to the fact that it is clean, renewable, sustainable, and relatively cheap.

Please think carefully about the type of energy that you will use in your home, because energy is important, and never, ever waste energy because you won’t get it back.

 

Sources:

 

http://renewable-solarenergy.com/oil-energy-uses-types.html

https://www.energy.gov/

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