Renewable energy is a popular topic currently. Environmentalists and Washington politicians like to use the phrase to describe energy resources, such as solar and wind power. One reason renewable energy is a hot topic now is due to trends in global warming and the carbon footprint several scientific experts are studying. Many of these environmental specialists believe it is imperative to move away from energy resources like fossil fuels and coal for the survival of the planet. There might be some truth to the claim. However, using the term “renewable” for several green energy sources is not exactly accurate.
Proponents of renewable energy are frequently implying it will come from things that won’t run out like wind, water, sunlight, and plants. Moreover, they claim these new clean energy sources will not only be easily replenished but will also be better for the environment. The problem with the claim is many supposedly renewable energy resources are not renewable and they are also not exactly environmentally friendly.
Politicians in Washington use renewable energy claims to move America away from fossil fuels. Furthermore, there are claims of not being reliant on other countries for energy resources as a reason to build the infrastructure for renewable energy resources. The issue with this claim is even with green energy resources in the U.S. it doesn’t mean the country would not still be vulnerable to energy shortages. The reason for this is there isn’t anything exactly renewable with most energy resources although government representatives would like most of America to believe there is.
What exactly is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is a term being used for all forms of energy that can be naturally replenished. This includes resources like sunlight, wind, or waves from the ocean. The idea is the supply of these things never runs out and they are in constant supply. The idea of renewable energy is that it does not run out like sources of coal, oil, and natural gas eventually would.
Renewable energy is represented as the answer to reducing the carbon footprint people put on the planet. Yet, the truth is it isn’t exactly renewable with an infinite amount available.
Why is the term “renewable energy” not exactly accurate?
Although politicians and environmentalists suggest renewable energy is everlasting, this can only be further from the truth. The reason for this is raw materials are often required for even the so-called renewable energy sources. This can include things such as real estate and minerals that need to be drilled or manufactured to use for clean energy sources. The reality is most green energy sources currently also require several non-renewable resources to produce their power. For example, wind turbines are built from thousands of different parts including steel and iron. Wind turbines also use magnets made up of neodymium and dysprosium. This material requires it to be mined from the earth.
The use of solar panels is another good example of an energy resource that is not going to last forever and keep being replenished with only clean sources. Although sunlight might last for another billion years, many of the components that make up a solar panel are required from resources that are not exactly renewable. This can include the use of rare earth metals like indium and tellurium regularly used in thin-film solar panels.
Renewable energy is not always green and clean.
The renewable energy claim for it never being depleted is not the only falsehood associated with the term. Frequently supporters also make claims for green energy sources as environmentally friendly. Although in some instances the supposedly renewable energy sources might be better for the environment, they don’t necessarily have no impact on the environment at all. A good example of this is power from wind turbines that the American Bird Conservancy estimates kill approximately 681,000 birds each year in the United States. This statistic would prove that wind power is not exactly environmentally friendly.
Loss of habitat for animals is also an impact of building solar and wind farms. Not only is this practice not environmentally green but neither is the manufacturing for the construction materials used to make these sources of energy.
It is not just solar and wind power that has problems when it comes to declaring them green and renewable. Additional supposedly renewable green energy resources, such as hydropower and biomass, also have their downfalls by making an impact on wildlife. The land cleared for biomass projects has a negative impact and so does the construction of large hydropower stations to utilize the power of water.
Politicians and their renewable energy claims are not exactly honest.
One of the largest issues with the renewable energy term is probably how Washington politicians make claims about it that are neither truthful nor entirely accurate. The claims of solar and wind power being renewable and entirely green can easily be proven inaccurate. However, one of the worst deceits so many government representatives are using with the plans for renewable energy is that these sources will make America less dependent on other countries around the world for energy resources. Furthermore, they make claims of fossil fuels no longer being needed due to the renewable nature of the green power sources.
Let’s just get obvious out of the way. There is no way to completely phase out fossil fuels anytime soon. Even if all sources of power ran on things like solar and wind, there would still need to be a reserve of some kind for traditional fuel at least for the foreseeable future. The reason for this is most of the allegedly renewable energy sources are dependent on things like the wind and sun. If for some reason these sources are in short supply due to climate change, there would need to be some type of fuel.
The real flaw in the political fight for renewable energy making America less dependent on other countries for its energy is the fact that many of the components for this energy are made in different parts of the world and particularly in China. The technology also originates from all over the world. Although the U.S. does play a role in advancing the supposedly green renewable energy sources, it is not the only one working on building the infrastructure. Take for example wind turbines. These are estimated to be 60%-75% domestically sourced. Yet, several of the internal parts and controllers are imported.
The big push for electric cars is another example of a good inconsistency in these types of vehicles making America more energy independent. The reason for this is many of the batteries and parts used in them come from China and other parts of the world.
Truly renewable energy independence in America is not likely.
Even though many politicians are pushing for renewable energy independence, it is important to understand the reality. The likelihood of this truly happening is next to impossible. The true reasons for politicians pushing renewable green energy are probably not their concern over the environment. Most of them almost certainly have another agenda whether it be for political or monetary gain.
Renewable energy resources are not infinite in the sense of them lasting forever. Most of these energy sources rely on non-renewable resources for their construction and maintenance. Moreover, the parts and manufacturing for them are dependent on other countries around the world. This puts America in the position of being dependent on other parts of the world even for the allegedly renewable energy resources.
If the U.S does not source all the materials and manufacture all the components for the renewable energy it uses, then the country will never truly be energy independent by using green energy sources.
The idea of clean renewable energy is likely a good one. There is some evidence of the planet’s warming. It just might be due to fossil fuels and less than clean energy sources. However, the stories many politicians and environmental advocates are telling about clean renewable energy independence is not entirely accurate.
Environmental advocates pushing supposedly renewable energy often leave out the details of habitat destruction when building solar and wind farms. They push the narrative of how fossil fuels are not good for the environment but forget to mention the replacement is not exactly environmentally friendly either.
Politicians push their agendas for clean renewable energy claiming independence from other parts of the world for energy. Yet, the truth is relying on manufacturing, parts, and resources for constructing things like solar power from other parts of the world puts America probably in more danger than drilling for our own oil.
True energy independence in the U.S. with somewhat renewable greener resources will require all the manufacturing and gathering of resources at home for that energy. Until this happens, renewable environmentally friendly energy independence claims will not be entirely true or attainable.