Comment: A Renewable Energy Boom

This post is a comment to this NY Times article published in 2016: I wrote this comment in school and got a mark equal to A in the UK for it.

We not only face the problem of acceptance and cost, while deploying more and more power plants for renewable energy, but also the problem that the wind isn’t blowing at a constant rate every day. It is not even blowing every day. A similar problem can be encountered when looking at solar power plants, though it would certainly seem nice to have sunny weather all the time. Many people want to solve this problem by using batteries to store energy for when it is needed. The problem with batteries is that they are not really efficient, as you only get around half energy (note: I know that this number isn’t correct, but the focus was more on grammar than on the number. I just had to use something and I know modern Li-ion batteries have an efficiency that is a lot higher. Our English teacher even said we should just use some numbers we like, but the rest had to make sense.) that had been used to charge them back. This might change as new types of batteries are being developed. A solution to the problem that not all types of renewable energy are always working would be the combination of different types of sources of renewable energy. Maybe the sun isn’t shining, but the wind is blowing. Therefore, I conclude that renewable energy solves more problems than it creates, as saving the world from climate change is a much greater problem than using the right energy source.

As stated in the text, there seems to be a boom in renewable energies. But is this boom big enough to save us from a devastating future? I’m not sure about that, as we can’t reach the goal many countries agreed upon in climate conferences. This is mainly because because some of the bigger countries like China and the USA don’t do all they can to stop global warming or to at least reduce its impact. China still has a lot of industry that pollutes the air in a way we in Europe struggle to imagine. In addition, US president Trump recently decided to leave the climate contract of Paris because he believes climate change isn’t real. If we finally navigate mankind around all these obstacles, we face the problem of angry people protesting against wind turbines that are to be built, because they don’t like to see them in front of their gardens. Even when being told that these wind turbines help save our planet, as less coal needs to be burned, these people often are still against it. That is why I think the slowly spreading use of renewable energies is more a social problem than a technological problem, as the technology advances fast enough. As an example, solar plants now have more than double the efficiency they had just some years ago. The problem of the sun not always shining or the wind not always blowing can be solved by combining a lot of power plants of a different type. This could be a combination of solar energy, wind energy, tidal power plants and turbines in rivers. Such a combination ensures that there is always energy when needed. In addition, unused energy could be sold into the river countries that are our direct neighbours, like the Netherlands. We could also import energy when needed.

I would like to conclude by telling you that there are no big technological obstacles, but social problems which keep us from making the decision to start using renewable energies.

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