Why Should You Choose Green Energy to Power Your Home?
Because most of it is generated by fossil fuel sources, like coal, and other non-renewable power plants (nuclear), electricity is the leading cause of industrial air pollution. So, how does choosing a green/renewable energy option for your home help? Quite simply, renewable energy sources produce electricity leaving a smaller negative impact on the environment. Not only that, when people like you make the switch to renewable energy, you're doing your part to influence other factors, such as economic benefits, health risks, and oil dependence.
Environmental BenefitsGenerating electricity through fossil fuel sources (coal, oil, natural gas) is the leading cause of air pollution in the U.S., leading to smog, acid rain, and greenhouse gases among others. The burning of fossil fuels results in a higher level of carbon dioxide, among other pollutants that, in turn, lead to the trapping of heat in the earth's atmosphere causing global warming. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, if steps aren't taken to reduce the levels of carbon dioxide, they could double in the next 50-100 years causing higher global temperatures, expansion of ocean's volume as glaciers melt from warm surface water, and an increase in extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and droughts.
Typical electricity production also has a tremendous impact on land and water with damage occurring throughout the entire process through mining, drilling, refining, shipping and disposal. More obvious and direct implications arise from oil spills and coal mining.
Health RisksAs an essential part of health and survival, the dirtying of clean air may be the cause of numerous health risks ranging from cancer to extreme asthma. As an example, in 1996, studies by the American Cancer Society and Harvard Medical School (analyzed by The Natural Resources Defense Council) suggested that air pollution may be the cause of as many as 64,000 deaths per year due to heart and lung disease.
Economic BenefitsWhat kind of economic impact would renewable energy usage have on the U.S.? According to a few studies done by the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration and Union of Concerned Scientists, if the U.S. could supply 10% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, the following would occur:
- $23 to $38 Billion in lower electricity and natural gas bills for consumers
- Estimated creation of 91,000 jobs, twice as many employed by companies who use fossil fuel generating processes
- $41.5 Billion in new capital investment
- $5.7 Billion in annual income to ranchers, rural landowners and farmers
- $2.8 billion in local tax revenues.
Energy Diversification and DependenceReducing the need for imported fossil fuel products, such as oil, is also a bi-product of increased renewable energy usage. As the U.S. continues to rely heavily upon its current resources, we will continue to be subject to price volatility, supply interruptions and no economically stable source of energy.
National security is perhaps the most important implication to oil dependence. Every year, citizens are asked to pay taxes in support of U.S. military efforts to protect foreign sources of oil.
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