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Fossil Energy Versus Renewable Energy in the USA by City Tech Blogger Alexey Kononenko

Every year we see on the news more wildfires, floods, droughts, heat waves, tornados, and storms. Last year, it cost our country $306 billion in damages and this number rises. “Many believe climate change is one of the most important challenges to humanity in this century” is a quote in the article “Renewable Energy Subsidies – yes or no? – in Forbes Magazine. Environmental friendly technologies are very important for our future. Solar power technology is not a recent development. In 1839, Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect that explains how electricity can be generated from sunlight. At that time, the solar panel technology was very inefficient and solar cells were used mainly for the purposes of measuring light. Only after, Russell Ohl invented the solar cell in 1941, the solar panels to be used as a power source. The latest solar panels need little sunlight to produce a power.

Historically the United States is one of the world’s largest fossil energy producers with large domestic supplies of oil, coal, and natural gas. At the same time many countries are finding the way to develop sources of renewable energy such as: wind, solar, hydroelectric.

Leading Countries in Renewable Energy:

  • Costa Rica – 99% of renewable energy
  • Nicaragua – 54% of renewable energy
  • Scotland – 97% of renewable energy
  • Germany – 78% of renewable energy
  • Uruguay – 95% of renewable energy
  • Denmark – 42% of renewable energy
  • United States – 10-13% of renewable energy

By human nature, we all want to get something now that will benefit us in the future. In the modern world everything changes very fast and companies think about profits more than the future. Big fossil energy producing companies pay big money to make sure they have “friendly policies” and more subsidies than renewables receive. According to an article on Vox.com entitled “Friendly policies keep US oil and coal afloat far more than we thought”  it was clear that a majority of energy subsidies end up in the pocket of “dirty stuff.” The article also points out the during the 2015-2016 election cycle, “oil, gas and coal companies spent $354 million in campaign contributions and lobbying and received $29.4 billion in federal subsidies in total over those same years – an 8,200% return on investment.”

Lobbying plays a very important role and is the subject of an article in the Huffington Post entitled “Fossil Fuel Industries Outspend Clean Energy Advocates On Climate Lobbying By 10 To 1.” The article points out that lobbying is considered to be an important factor in the success or failure of climate change  legislation in Congress.  It seems more and more Americans understand that our climate is changing. Unfortunately, fossil fuel companies lobbying still has big influence in Washington and as always big money has big power

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