Growth of Renewable Energy

By Kaeley Sterkel

Our world is always changing and people every day are pushing the limits to what is possible. This has led to environmental issues that seem to be too overwhelming to deal with. The rising of greenhouse gasses has perfectly mirrored our growth of technology and advancement. Carbon dioxide has nearly doubled from 280ppm in the late 1700s to 410ppm in 2019, this is a 46% increase and almost all of it is due to human activity. Something that is even more frightening is that methane in recent years has more than doubled to over 1800ppb from pre industrial time. Today almost every company is producing more greenhouse gasses compared to 10 years ago.

The impact of greenhouse gasses

Greenhouse gasses have always been in our atmosphere but before the amount of gas in the atmosphere was able to be removed by chemical reactions or emission sinks such as the ocean and vegetation. Now that we have severally increased the rate of gasses being put into the atmosphere it has become too overwhelming for these emission sinks and it is having a negative effect. Because the ocean is absorbing too much at a time the shells and coral are becoming weaker, and the calcium carbonate is deteriorating.

What is being done?

Advancement in human life has caused an abundance of trauma for the environment but in recent years we have made advancements to counteract our actions and come up with new methods. Renewable energy is becoming more abundant to the population and accessible every day. When driving through Palm Springs you will see fields of wind turbines powering neighborhoods and within dams there is a production of hydropower that can create electricity. The renewable energy outlets are new to us and are only going to grow from here. The growth of green technology energy, especially wind, solar and hydropower, is what is going to help the world meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

New sources of TCE: The biggest threat to creating renewable energy is finding sources of TCE (trichloroethylene) that protect global supply chains against socioeconomic and political disruption. These sources can be found in less-industrialized nations and help those nations grow with green tech industries. The ocean is also showing positive signs of critical elements due to it being covered by polymetallic nodules, but this is in areas that are still not fully understood by scientists. A more common and abatable option is to reuse batteries that are made of sodium-ion rather than lithium-ion because they are more abundant and easier to extract.

Tidal energy: This form of power naturally occurs with the movement of the ocean such as waves and tidal changes. When water is pushed through a small passage it is forced to move faster and produces forms of power such as electricity. There are specific spots in the ocean for capturing this energy such as tidal channels and waterways that become smaller making tidal currents stronger. It is estimated that energy produced by waves, tides, and currents can generate enough electricity to power millions of homes.

Biomass: This form of energy is called bioenergy. This comes from organic matter (biomass) from recently living plants and organisms. When biomass is burned it creates methane gas that is then turned into electricity instead of escaping into the atmosphere and contributing to the greenhouse effect. We can also do this by taking the methane that is produced by landfills to limit the negative effect they have to the environment. The benefit to this is that the amount of carbon dioxide we are putting into the air is the same amount that is needed for plants to grow so the production is not overwhelming.

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