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Sustained Renewability?

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So what’s the word on the sustainability of renewable energy?

The New York Times ran an article earlier this year discussing some of the perks and costs associated with solar and wind.

  • While they are renewable, solar and wind alone do not produce enough energy alone because it is not always windy or sunny.
  • Instead of waiting on better solar and wind technology, in Florida they are trying to hybridize solar with coal to make up for this deficiency.

An article In the Washington Post reported on the perks of geothermal

  • For every kilowatt used to run the geothermal pump 5 kilowatts are yielded
  • Because of federal and stat tax credits, the system is not very expensive (~$10,000) and will pay for itself back in about 4 years.
  • Unfortunately, lots of drilling and piping leaves a footprint on the soil and the surrounding environment.

Despite the mostly positive long-term sustainability of renewable energy sources, their implementation have been and continue to be sacrificed for the short-term comforts of consumers and businesses alike. In an April 5th article, the Wall Street Journal reported on a current example of this in Los Angeles:

  • L.A. city council wants to increase dependence on renewables to 40% by 2020.
  • Energy utilities claim that they need to increase that rate charged per kW hour in order to compensate for the costlier nature of solar, wind, and geothermal.
  • The city and local businesses aren’t budging, saying that increased rates will turn away business and new “green” jobs.

The answers for renewable energy are obviously unclear. Maybe less government subsidies should be given to the consumer so that more money can be available to encourage the power companies to switch over. Whatever the case, clearly big newspaper outlets and other mass media have a role to play in the political controversy.

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