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Solving the Energy Crisis: Solving the Problem of our Energy Problems by Finding the Best Form of Solution of Which Form of Producing Power is the Best Choice Brennan Hietpas ENC 1102 Professor Guenzel April 7, 2014

ENERGY CRISIS Abstract The rising carbon dioxide levels and the global warming crisis have led many to worry about how we should power our future. Present methods such as natural gas combustion and nuclear reactors have powered the world for many decades by now, but can cause many environmental problems. The types of sources of both renewable and non-renewable energy must be put into

comparison in order to see which form of energy our society should make the transition towards. This paper takes a look and compares different forms of energy from different perspectives, which include the effects on our jobs and quality of life, the practicality of the source, the economy, and the environment. The examination and comparison of these different perspectives led to the conclusion that we have enough renewable resources (mainly by means of wind turbines) to power our world. The only limiting factor to our future is the people that are in control of our sources of energy.

ENERGY CRISIS Solving the Energy Crisis: Solving the Problem of our Energy Problems by Finding the Best Form of Solution The world today is growing and experiencing more changes than ever including more people, industries, and technologies. The fast pace of the world today has not gone without any negative effects on itself. Our massive consumption and need for energy has led to a growing problem for producing enough energy and trying to not destroy our ecosystem and atmosphere. For many years scientists and engineers have been working and researching new ways for our world to create energy for its people. The creation of alternative forms of power producing through renewable resources means that the sources of energy can replenish themselves in a relatively short amount of time. Renewable resources also give off zero emissions of harmful

gases into our atmosphere which has led to a new outlook on how we can power our world into a new future. However, the process of change is often slow and costly, which has led to a look on which forms of producing energy should be rigorously researched to be the best producer from aspects of the economy and the people, its production value, and the environment. Effects of Energy Sources on Jobs and Practicality One of the aspects to look at when comparing the many forms of producing energy would be the impact that the forms have on people and their way of life and how the economy and state of the environment affect this. The most effective form of energy production that will most greatly benefit the society and the way of life should be able to create a high number of jobs. The power industry is a large industry that supplies a large amount of jobs throughout the world. Currently it is estimated that about 9.8 million jobs are directly linked to location, production and transportation services in the oil industry (Energy Tomorrow). The jobs coming from the oil and gas industry has also risen in the past few years due to more demand from the growing

ENERGY CRISIS population, most of them being from countries in the Middle East. A look at the jobs related to oil industry are included in a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows this increase in the past years.

The Worldwatch Institute, an organization that tries to promote the transition of sustainable energy through research shows in their data that the numbers of jobs that are created from the renewable are about 2.3 million across the world. However, efforts towards the industry for renewable industries is continuously rising and research done by the American Solar Energy Society estimated that by the year 2030, there will be 37 million green collar jobs (Bezdek). The practicality of the source of energy also provides an impact on the human way of life. Sources such as hydroelectric power have to be built in certain areas where there is running water. Natural gas and nuclear reactors built on smaller land masses and can be built on a wider range of landscapes than other forms. Wind and Solar energy can be applied in many different places around the world since they can be built around civilizations and in large open areas of land which is abundant throughout the world. Almost everywhere on Earth has wind and sun which can be used to provide energy. Everything that is being done needs to be looked at in a manner of a future investment for the benefit of a country and the other countries that involve cooperation businesses and resources.


Comparing Practicality of Energy Sources The amount of energy produced in a time period is important for producing energy for a large population due to the amount of energy being consistently high. Having a source of energy that can only be produced when the conditions are ample is a problem, due to the fact that the demand for energy doesnt fluctuate with the natural conditions. Nuclear reactors dont emit a high amount of carbon dioxide, they are relatively cheap, and they can produce huge amounts of energy for massive manufacturing as opposed to local sources of energy such as solar power. Although, they are very expensive to build and require ores to be mined (Buzz). Natural gas and other fuels can be produced at all times as long as there is the gas to be burned, which can be done with efficiency. Wind turbines are affected negatively by the way the wind blows on certain days. The wind may blow in the wrong direction and can be too strong or too weak (Combs). However, many countries have made a step forward and have almost completely changed their way of producing energy, such as Denmark. In January of 2014, Patrick Smith of Wind Power Monthly announced that Denmarks production of energy from wind fluctuated between 68.5% and 136%, marking the first time that a country has produced over half of its power from wind sources. This is further proof of the potential of wind turbines and other forms of renewable energy can be powerful enough to use on their own. The Economies Role in the Type of Energy Source A look into the economic factors that the role of energy plays in our society is huge considering that almost everything we do since the power production industry since every other industry depends on it. The power industry affects every other business and citizens due to the high cost of the production. If the price of oil rises, almost every industry raises the price of the

ENERGY CRISIS goods that it is producing, since the cost of production and shipping will increase. Oil and gas that is used for burning at power plants and our cars is constantly rising, while the price of renewables have been decreasing due to more innovations in efficiency of production, such as solar power, which has decreased its price 6-14% in the past few years (Lohan). However, the switch to different forms of energy need to be a smooth and slow transition due to the economic instability that could result from switching too abruptly to a different source. The economy often is affected by a large chain of events that can have a large impact on the entire world, improving countries and the qualities of life of people that reside in them. The amount of energy and the price it takes to produce that energy largely impacts the state of the economy. In current standings, the cost of producing energy from natural gas and fossil fuels is more inexpensive per kilowatt an hour produced than any of the renewable resources. Looking

forward, changes and innovations are causing many of the forms of renewable energy to become cheaper to produce. Here, a table from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows the estimated costs of the production of energy compared to other forms of energy is shown by the price of producing 1 kilowatt per hour in U.S.D. ($/kW-hr) for 2018.
U.S. average levelized costs (2011 $/megawatthour) for plants entering service in 2018 Plant type Capacity Levelized Fixed Variable O&M factor (%) capital cost O&M (including fuel) Dispatchable Technologies Conventional Coal 85 65.7 4.1 29.2 Advanced Coal 85 84.4 6.8 30.7 Advanced Coal with 85 88.4 8.8 37.2 CCS Natural Gas-fired Conventional 87 15.8 1.7 48.4 Combined Cycle Advanced 87 17.4 2.0 45.0 Combined Cycle Advanced CC with 87 34.0 4.1 54.1 CCS Conventional 30 44.2 2.7 80.0 Combustion Turbine Advanced 30 30.4 2.6 68.2 Combustion Turbine Advanced Nuclear 90 83.4 11.6 12.3

Transmission investment 1.2 1.2 1.2

Total system levelized cost 100.1 123.0 135.5

1.2 1.2 1.2 3.4 3.4 1.1

67.1 65.6 93.4 130.3 104.6 108.4

Geothermal 92 Biomass 83 Non-Dispatchable Technologies Wind 34 Wind-Offshore 37 Solar PV1 25 Solar Thermal 20 Hydro2 52 76.2 53.2 70.3 193.4 130.4 214.2 78.1 12.0 14.3 13.1 22.4 9.9 41.4 4.1 0.0 42.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 6.1 1.4 1.2 3.2 5.7 4.0 5.9 2.0 89.6 111.0 86.6 221.5 144.3 261.5 9

The data from this table shows how currently the cost of power produced by hydroelectric methods is the cheapest method with burning natural gas as the second cheapest option. The only con by having hydroelectric power is the very limited areas for building a plant. The most expensive method, solar panels, does show some major potential in the future especially with newly discovered material that is cheaper to produce and absorbs more energy than the previously used material (Kunz). Wind, being the second most inefficient form of renewable energy, proves how this form of energy could have more potential in the future with more innovations. Shown through the research done at a wind turbine plant by Thompson and Yealdhall in 2010 proclaims that through the successive implementation of an information system technology infrastructure, central utility plant modifications, and end-use upgrades, significant energy savings were achieved as the reduction in overall electrical consumption reduced by 75%. Environmental Effects from Energy Sources The biggest role in deciding what method of energy production is the best form in todays times is the effect that it has on the environment. The current majority use of natural gas and other fuels such as coal, biomass, and nuclear are all non-renewable sources that have a finite amount that require more labor to excavate those materials. The massively efficient and productive form of nuclear reactors of energy does have many benefits; however they arent the best form of energy in the long run. Nuclear reactors dont emit a high level of carbon dioxide, but they require uranium which is difficult and expensive to mine. Also, nuclear reactors create

ENERGY CRISIS waste that lasts for 200-500 thousand years and there are no long-term waste storage sites in the United States (Buzz). Using fuel sources such as biomass uses recycled wastes and transforms them into energy, is a great method to use up some of the wastes from other sources, but they still produce a high level carbon dioxide and methane. Currently the cleanest and most environmentally friendly form of energy production would be solar power, which doesnt create

any form of gas or use any water in the production and can be put on any surface in a way that it doesnt affect the ecosystem around them (NRDC). Another environmentally friendly form would be wind turbines, which produce zero carbon emissions and does not use any water in the process. The main concern with wind turbines is its use of land, which needs to be a large open area. Offshore methods are becoming more occurring and the same land used for wind turbines can also be turned into agricultural lands. The only effect that wind turbines have on the outside ecosystem is that they can be deadly to bats and birds that fall victim to the giant blades of the wind turbines (Environmental Impacts of Wind Energy). Which Source of Energy is Best for Our Society? We the people as a whole are running the natural world into turmoil through extensive use of its limited resources. The worlds population can increase infinitesimally, but in a world with finite resources, we have to look towards different methods for powering our civilization. Looking to the future and seeing how our actions will affect that outcome will help our civilization choose different plans. Change is necessary for us to switch from using natural gas and other finite sources for energy to using renewable resources, using the natural forces of the earth for the advancement of our society. Through the known facts and predictions through other research done, the method of producing electrical power from wind turbines has the best output. It proves to be the most efficient, environmentally friendly, economically beneficial, and the

ENERGY CRISIS most practical form of energy production due to its cost of production, innovations being done, and areas to establish the wind turbines. The choice to switch to these current forms of renewable energy relies on the people that are in charge of what we do with our energy sources. Those need to step up and realize the effects of using non-renewable and harmful gas producing methods are more catastrophic in the long run than the money earned from the current oilindustry.

ENERGY CRISIS Works Cited Buzz, P. (2009, February 23). Nuclear Energy: Pros and Cons. Triple Pundit RSS. Retrieved


April 8, 2014, from http://www.triplepundit.com/2009/02/nuclear-energy-pros-and-cons/ Combs, S. (n.d.). Window on State Government. Wind Energy. Retrieved April 2, 2014, from http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/energy/renewable/wind.php Diep, Francie. (2013). The Amazing Potential of Wave Energy. Retrieved from: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-05/latest-wave-energynumbers?dom=PSC&loc=photogalleries&lnk=2&con=the-amazing-potential-of-waveenergy-in-numbers Environmental Impacts of Wind Power. (2013, March 5). Union of Concerned Scientists. Retrieved March 30, 2014, from http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energychoices/renewable-energy/environmental-impacts-wind-power.html Hassett, T. M., & Borgerson, K. L., (2009). Harnessing Natures Power. Retrieved from: http://pdf.wri.org/harnessing_natures_power.pdf Jeffs, E. Generating power at high efficiency. (2008). Cambridge, England: Woodhead Publishing Limited Lohan, T. (2013, November 8). Do We Have All the Renewable Energy We Need to Power the World?. Alternet. Retrieved April 2, 2014, from http://www.alternet.org/environment/areyou-ready-100-percent-renewable-energy Kunz, T. (2013, December 11). Argonne National Laboratory. A new material for solar panels could make them cheaper, more efficient. Retrieved from: http://www.anl.gov/articles/new-material-solar-panels-could-make-them-cheaper-moreefficient#sthash.iI0Vsj5y.dpuf



National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, National Research Council. (2010). Electricity from Renewable Resources. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Qi Zhang; Tezuka, T.; Esteban, M.; Ishihara, K.N., "A Study of renewable power for a zerocarbon electricity system in Japan using a proposed integrated analysis model," Computer and Automation Engineering (ICCAE), 2010 The 2nd International Conference on , vol.5, no., pp.166,170, 26-28 Feb. 2010. doi: 10.1109/ICCAE.2010.5451491 Renewable Energy For America: Harvesting the Benefits of Clean, Local, Renewable Energy. (n.d.). What is Renewable Energy, Types of Renewable Energy Sources. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from http://www.nrdc.org/energy/renewables/ Smith, Patrick. Wind provides more than half of Denmark's power for first time. (2014). Retrieved from: http://www.windpowermonthly.com/article/1227379/wind-provideshalf-denmarks-power-first-time Thompson, P. C., & Yealdhall, V. E. (2010). Buying Down the Cost of Renewable Energy with Efficiency: Making Money by Saving Energy and the Environment. Cogeneration & Distributed Generation Journal, 25(3), 44-49. doi:10.1080/15453669.2010.10121742 Trutnevyte, E. (2013). EXPANSE methodology for evaluating the economic potential of renewable energy from an energy mix perspective. Applied Energy, 111593-601. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.04.083 U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis. (2013, August 13). Oil and gas industry employment growing much faster than total private sector employment. Retrieved April 2, 2014, from http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=12451

ENERGY CRISIS Works Cited Worldwide electricity production from renewable resources. (2012) Retrieved April 2, 2014, from: http://www.energies-renouvelables.org/observer/html/inventaire/Eng/introduction.asp