Energy heats your home, fuels your car, and lights your night. It is all around you and touches every aspect of your life in the modern world. While you might consider its source when you are paying your bills or filling your gas tank, you most likely take it for granted much of the time. There are a variety of ways to create energy and each has its pros and cons. Some of our chief energy sources are oil, coal, nuclear, natural gas, wind and solar.
Burning oil to make electricity causes a lot of pollution. There is also an environmental risk in the drilling and transporting of oil. We have all seen the impact of spills on wildlife and waterways, though oil is easier to extract than coal. Coal is cheap but also causes a great deal of pollution. Accessing the coal also damages the landscape. Cleaner than coal and oil, natural gas can be a reasonable alternative to the dirtier fossil fuels. However, drilling for natural gas can negatively impact wildlife and the landscape too. Another cleaner alternative is nuclear energy. Emissions are lower with nuclear energy but great care must be taken to minimize the risk of accidents which can have a devastating impact on humans and the environment. Since uranium, a finite resource, is required to run a nuclear plant, nuclear energy is not renewable.
Nonrenewable Energy Sources
All the fossil fuels mentioned above are finite. They will run out one day. We will need to find a way to make them last longer by using them conservatively or find other ways to create the energy needed to maintain our contemporary lifestyle.
Renewable Energy Sources
Some energy sources are renewable and finding ways to harness them effectively is one focus of the energy industry. Energy from wind is renewable and low cost, but there is some risk to wildlife as birds may get caught in the turbines. There is also some noise pollution associated with wind energy production. Solar energy is also renewable and has very little environmental impact, other than the space required to place the panels used to convert solar energy to electricity.
This article by McGinley Support Services indicates the energy industry is in for some changes in 2016.. Though renewable resources have had a lot of growth in recent years, the article predicts less growth in 2016. They expect an increase in natural gas and nuclear demand. The predicted growth in nuclear energy could mean the need for more highly skilled workers. As nuclear energy production grows, so will the need for employees trained in the safe operation of nuclear plants, which could mean more jobs in the energy sector.
The future of the energy industry will influence the way you live and work. It can determine what’s in your wallet and whether or not you take a vacation in 2016. Even if you’re not paying attention to it, the energy industry is both figuratively and literally, changing your world every day.