Energy Sources Pros and Cons List
Fossil fuels or thermal power are the most widely used energy source even today. When we talk about energy sources pros and cons today, we tend to focus on renewable energy sources. We conveniently omit the fact that many nations in the world are nowhere near generating enough hydro power or wind power, solar power is lacking miserably and they do not have the technology to produce nuclear power. Let us quickly check out the pros and cons of nonrenewable energy sources before we move onto renewable sources.
List of Pros of Nonrenewable Energy Sources
1. The biggest advantage of fossil fuel is availability of material. There is no dearth of coal, oil and natural gas. They are all poised to be depleted but for now they are the instant solution for the rising power needs, especially among developing and underdeveloped countries.
2. Most industrial nations have built their infrastructure using thermal power or nonrenewable fossil fuels. The reason for that is simple. It is much easier to produce energy from fossil fuels, exploring them and obtaining them is also relatively easy, the turnaround time for most such projects is not as much as even a humble solar farm and the entire power source is highly reliable.
List of Cons of Nonrenewable Energy Sources
1. Fossil fuels would go extinct. It is only a matter of time. Every expert knows that the earth’s nonrenewable energy sources has depleted to an unprecedented level. The only way out is to switch to renewable energy sources.
2. The damage caused by nonrenewable energy sources is paramount. The heat generated and the wind or air pollution, contaminants in water and the sheer infrastructure meant to run the operations take a toll on an entire ecology, not just a city or town.
For sustainable, safe and reliable power, the world has to move to renewable energy sources and do so yesterday.
List of Pros of Renewable Energy Sources
1. The power of the sun, the phenomenon of the wind, the force of water as it flows down from a high altitude to lower altitudes and geothermal energy are not in finite supplies such as gasoline, oil, diesel fuel, propane, natural gas or coal. There is infinite supply of renewable energy sources, which is why it is called so. However, renewable energy sources do not come without their fair share of limitations or challenges. That is why many countries are still unwilling to switch.
List of Cons of Renewable Energy Sources
1. According to most estimates, more than 90% of our total energy need and more than 70% of global power need is met by fossil fuels, including transportation, heating, electricity and other basic needs. If one were to replace the whole energy industry around the world with wind, solar or hydropower, then the cost would be simply too staggering to bear. No economy in the world can switch to renewable energy sources overnight and the primary reason is the initial cost.
2. There is a certain degree of unreliability with renewable energy sources. With fossil fuels and coal, one can predict the exact supply and plan for years. The same is not always possible with solar power, wind power or hydro power. It is also difficult with geothermal power. It is possible the sky is overcast for weeks and the sun doesn’t shine bright enough to help the solar panel or photovoltaic panel to generate enough electricity as it is supposed to.
3. It is possible that wind changes direction at one place or simply dies down, thus rendering the windmill or wind powered operations stalled.
4. The same applies to hydropower. There can be changes in the course of water from high altitude to sea level. There can be issues with dams. Perennial rivers face the problem of melting glaciers and seasonal rivers rarely receive predictable rain. If the volume of water channeled through the river source is not predictable, then it is difficult for anyone to gauge the quantum of electricity produced.
5. Geothermal power is no different either. The temperatures at the ground may vary or fluctuate, leading to an unusable discrepancy in a setup. Climate change and various environmental factors have already changed the surface temperature of the planet and there is no guarantee there would be no significant change, positive or negative, in years to come.
Sustainability is the big concern with renewable energy sources. It is not unique to any country but the whole world. There is also a degree of unreliability as to how nature would transform in next centuries. If all our reliability was bestowed on renewable energy sources and the most important source was to become unavailable, then the world would stand still. The viability of various renewable energy sources is also being studied as many have high costs of installment and generation with low yields.