How Does Clean Energy Work? - Accent Energy, New York
Talk of clean energy is everywhere you look these days. From TV commercials and blogs to posters and mailings, everyone seems to be talking about it. And as one of the core areas of his budget, President Obama is making his case for its importance as well. But what is clean energy? And how can it help you? Are there downsides to it? These questions and more are answered below.
Clean, or renewable energy, is energy that comes from natural resources and is thus "refilled" naturally. Examples include solar power, wind power, and hydropower. This technology takes the energy that is all around us and puts it into a form of energy that we can use. Solar energy, for example, harnesses the light and heat that comes from the sun and converts it into energy that can be used to light and heat homes and businesses. Similarly, wind power captures wind energy and converts it into a form that we can use, like electricity.
Fossil fuels (like coal, oil, and natural gas) are generally considered "dirty" energy. They are considered dirty because of the carbon emissions they produce, carbon dioxide being one of the greenhouse gases that depletes the ozone layer. They also are not renewable, as they take millions of years to form. Relying heavily on them thus depletes some of our natural resources, resources that we won't get back in our lifetime.
So what can clean energy do for you? For one, President Obama argues that it can help us become less dependent on oil-rich countries. This would mean relying less on other countries and their workers and relying more on our own. Clean energy can also help us fight global warming. Less carbon emissions mean less greenhouse gases and less ozone depletion. But perhaps most importantly right now, clean energy can help boost our failing economy by creating jobs. Reports have shown that investing in a "clean economy" could create over three million jobs�very promising when our recent economic crisis has already claimed 4.4 million of them. Developing clean energy will require scientists and technicians. It will depend on people in marketing and in administration. We will need people to install and maintain things like wind turbines and solar panels. But these jobs can spread even further: traditional industries will have a new frontier to supply to. Those that manufacture nuts and bolts will find new customers in the wind power industry, as these important pieces are needed for wind turbines. The effects would be far reaching and felt nationwide.
So what's the catch? Some of the main criticisms of opponents of clean energy are other environmental threats that new clean energy may pose. There are arguments that waterpower destroys river habitats and that solar power causes overdevelopment in the desert. There are arguments that wind power kills too many birds (who can get caught up in the turbines). Other arguments also come into play. Some people argue that wind power is ugly and noisy. Very few people are in favor of a wind farm being built near their home.
Many of the concerns about clean energy are valid. An energy source isn't really "clean" if it causes major disruptions in other areas. But this doesn't mean we should stop working towards clean energy or thinking up ways to improve the technologies we already have. Clean energy is incredibly important to our future. Instead of trying to stop its advancement, opponents on the issue should work together to find new ways to make it work.