Alternative Energy Versus Fossil Fuels: Comparative Essay
Everyone uses energy every day of their lives, whether it be oil for cars, natural gas for stoves, and even electricity to light up homes. While people use up all this energy, how is it being replenished? Spoiler, it’s not. The planet has only a limited amount of resources for people to use as energy, and it’s depleting rapidly. One solution to the limited amount of resources we have left is to start using renewable energy, also known as alternative energy. Alternative energy is energy sources that generate energy in ways that do not deplete natural resources or harm the environment, especially by avoiding the use of fossil fuels, like oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear power. Some examples of alternative energy would be wind power, solar power, and hydropower.
Alternative energy can effectively replace fossil fuels because it’s less expensive, cleaner, and inexhaustible. Alternative energy is much less expensive than fossil fuels are in the long run. At the moment, fossil fuels are cheaper, but over time the costs add up. Alternative energy costs more at the moment to build the machinery needed, but the long term is much cheaper. In ‘Clean Energy Sources..’ Orlando Milesi states, ‘Globally, solar and wind energy are much more competitive than even fossil fuels.
Today solar energy is being produced at a lower cost than even coal.” The market for renewable energy is growing much faster than fossil fuels, all they need is support from governments to start up and from there they’ll flourish. Without funding, there’s no way to build wind turbines or solar panels. It’s just like any other business, without money you can’t start one. “A 75 percent drop in electricity rates, thanks to a quadrupled clean generation capacity, is one of the legacies to be left in Chile by the administration of Michelle Bachelet, who steps down on Mar. 11.” In Chile, they are making strides in the alternative energy market because of the support of the president’s administration. With that support, Chile’s energy market is made up 50% of renewable sources. While it’s cheaper in the long run, it’s also better for the planet. Earth, along with its plants and animals, can only survive for so long. It especially doesn’t help that we’re speeding up that process by damaging the earth by using up and abusing fossil fuels. In ‘The Reckoning’ by Rolling Stone they reported, “Meteorologists reported that this spring was the warmest ever recorded for our nation… it represented the ‘largest temperature departure from average of any season on record.’’ These are record-breaking numbers, which prove how endangered Earth is.
Climate change is happening rapidly and with the help of fossil fuels, the earth will be nothing in such little time. A great start to slowing that down is switching to more earth-friendly energy sources, that can only help improve the earth, not destroy it. Humans will be on the planet for centuries to come, we can’t exist without it. We need to protect it not only for us, but for future generations. Plus, all the plants and animals we share it with will thank us. Another point as to why we need to switch over to alternative energies is that it’s inexhaustible while being environmentally friendly. We only have so many fossil fuels in the ground of the earth, but we can’t ever run out of sunlight, wind, or water. In ‘Tough Love for Renewable…’ by Jeffrey Ball “Wind and sunshine are clean, emitting neither the pollutants that cause smog nor the carbon dioxide that contributes to climate change. They are ubiquitous, providing a domestic energy source even in places with no indigenous fossil fuels. And they are essentially never-ending.” Wind and sunshine energy sources will be here on the Earth forever, it’s been on the Earth before humans and will be after. Even those in support of fossil fuels can’t deny that renewable energy can’t disappear.
Renewable energy sources seem like the obvious choice to switch over to, so why haven’t we? Although alternative energy sources are cheaper in the long run, they can be more expensive to start up. While on the flip side, fossil fuels are cheaper to start up, but they’re more expensive in the long run. The reason why they’re cheaper to start up is because of how much support they have from the government, and big companies funneling millions into the business. Without all that support they don’t have an easier time starting up, and it’s why alternative sources only make up a small percentage of energy sources compared to the majority dominated by fossil fuels. Though in places with more support for alternative energy, they flourish. For example, in Justin Gillis and Harvey Hal’s article, “Clean Power Becomes Cheap…” they state that “Xcel, Colorado’s biggest power company, has pitched a plan to regulators that will involve replacing two large coal-burning units with renewable energy and possibly some natural gas. The company expects to save tens of millions of dollars as a result.” With the help of a wealthy company like Xcel, renewable energy sources will flourish in Colorado and will lower power bills since it’ll cheaper to create energy for homes. More big-name companies like Xcel need to step up and help fund these projects, as the government currently is focused on other environmental policies that don’t support the environment and alternative energy sources. They are instead focused on trying to buy more supply in fossil fuels. In Amory Lovin’s ‘A Farewell to Fossil Fuels: Answering the Energy Challenge.’ Lovin shows the costs of relying on fossil fuels, “The United States spends about $2 billion buying oil and loses another $4 billion indirectly to the macroeconomic costs of oil dependence..” (Lovin, **) With oil the United States is mostly dependent on other countries to get it. It costs much more in the long run if you can’t make something yourself then if you can.
Sadly, making oil for the U.S. is a resource that isn’t available anymore. Some things the U.S. can do themselves without relying on other countries are switching over to Solar, Wind, or Hydropower. They have an infinite supply of all three, so might as well use it and save money in the long run. Just like starting up a company, all you need is money and support to take off. While fossil fuels currently dominate the energy industry, by doing so it’s killing the planet with costly effects, along with being very expensive in the long run. Alternative energy needs to replace fossil fuels because it’s cheaper in the long run, doesn’t damage the planet, and there’s no way we’ll be running out of any of alternative energy sources anytime soon. Some countries are already taking the leap to focus on alternative/renewable energy sources and are being rewarded in doing so by lowering electricity costs, helping the planet, and not having to worry about running out of sources for energy in the country. Although the steps may seem small, we are moving towards a brighter and beneficial future for not just us, but also the planet.