Following the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines
Mercer County Community College
Renewable energy resources are long-term solutions, essential to our survival. Their research and development must be at the forefront of our minds and further, must have a substantial influence on our actions. The world’s dependency and addiction to non-renewable energy, the very energy that we have thrived on for so long, is not sustainable. In our success, we have become complacent in our ways and in our thinking. Ostensibly trapped in a system dependent on infinite growth, we are on a collision course with the reality that there are a finite amount of these energy sources available on our planet. We are beyond the peak in terms of discovery and refinement of these non-renewable resources. We must now find our next energy consumption paradigm, but we must first have a revolution in our ways of thought. If we are to preserve the very freedoms and liberties that we hold so dear, we must continue the research and development of renewable energy resources in a thoughtful and responsible manner.
Key words: sustainable, finite energy, consumption paradigm
It would be impossible to write a fair paper summarizing and advocating the development and use of renewable energy without acknowledging the seemingly divine providence that has delivered to us in this country the non-renewable energy that has brought us wealth and success, let this serve as the tip of the hat. Let us remember as well, that just because power source is renewable doesn’t automatically make it better than a conventional source. We are addicted to oil, and oil is just about everything from the plastic in our reusable coffee cups to the tires on our cars. In his dark documentary, Collapse, Michael Ruppert suggests that there is nothing, or any combination of things that will replace the edifice built by fossil fuels. We must try however, for the sake of our liberty, freedom and that of our children and grandchildren, to find sustainable alternatives to our current energy sources. There have been many discovered and practiced renewable energy resources, but there are three that are largely available, sustainable and could be used to supplement some of our conventional practices. These are solar, wind and geothermal energies.
Solar energy is likely the most visible and widely embraced renewable energy source. In fact, for the past fifteen years solar energy development and usage has grown 20% annually (“Solar energy information”). The photovoltaic cells in the solar panels separate the electrons from the atoms provided by sunlight. The electrons then move through the cells, generating electricity. These cells are found in things as small as calculators and as large as orbiting space equipment or industrial plants created explicitly to harness them. Every hour of sunlight upon the Earth is enough energy to satisfy our needs for an entire year. Solar energy is virtually noise and pollution free. It is versatile; as long as sunlight is present, it is deliverable almost instantaneously requiring no lines or pipes to transport it to the collection source. There are of course drawbacks to this energy source as the sun is not always available whether it is because of nighttime or interference from clouds. The latter especially can make the energy unreliable during expected hours of operation. Also, the technology requires a lot of land area to collect the amount of energy that we need. There is perhaps no better example than our own area, here in central New Jersey, where there just isn’t a whole lot of land available to place these panels. ‘The fundamental law with electricity,’ Michael Ruppert reminds us, ‘is that it is drawn off right where it is used.’ He suggests that although it is possible to transmit energy over long distances,