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Harnessing Solar and Wind Energy: A Solution to Climate Change

Climate change is currently one of the most dangerous threats it poses on Earth. The rising sea levels, extraordinary weather alteration, and higher Earth temperatures prompt serious prospects in the future, rapidly leaning towards the mitigation of its impacts and transitioning to sustainable energy sources. Among the distinct energy sources, solar and wind energy are one of the most well-known, offering cleaner and more abundant alternatives to fossil fuels. The correct application of these sources provides a solution to climate change.

Solar energy converts energy from solar radiation into thermal or electrical. It is one of the most versatile and adaptive due to the suppression of greenhouse gas emissions, and its simple installation. There are mainly two types: photovoltaics (PV), —which converts light into electricity through semiconducting materials— and concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) —which converts solar light into thermal energy through the reflection of mirrors. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in 2016, “More than a third of U.S. GHG emissions result from the burning of fossil fuels for electricity usage in buildings and homes”. Due to this emission, 28% of the greenhouse gas emissions were through electricity generation. However, becoming more reliant on non-fossil energy sources will steadily recover the damaged ozone layer, allowing the Earth to reach a balanced temperature. Furthermore, communities can reduce their dependence on imported fossil fuels, thereby bolstering economic stability and mitigating geopolitical risks.

Another advantage solar energy offers is lowering the consumer’s electrical bill. According to Solar.com, “by using solar panels, [the user] can lower your electric bill by slashing the rate to around 8 cents per kWh — far lower than the price per kWh in any major US metro”. Electricity bills have been increasing because utility companies continue upgrading their previous model towers, lines, substations, and transformers. On the other hand, solar energy relies on sunshine.

Wind energy uses turbines with large blades mounted on towers to obtain energy through kinetic energy from the wind current. These turbines rotate when exposed to wind currents, driving generators to produce electricity. The major benefit wind turbines offer is the undying resource it offers. In compliance with Enel Green Power, “Not only is wind present almost everywhere on Earth, [but also] precise information about where it blows most frequently and powerfully [is available]”. The wind is formed by differential pressure from the Earth’s atmosphere. As air temperature increases, it rises until it is cooled down. This cycle is infinite, unlike fossil fuels, which can be used to convert into energy.

Once the wind turbine is installed, it can be left running limitlessly. As stated by Enel Green Power, “Keeping a wind plant running is very simple. Unless there are breakages or exceptional events, which are nonetheless increasingly rare thanks to models that are more and more reliable and digital monitoring systems that are enabling ever higher performance levels, maintenance is minimal and inexpensive”. Once the wind turbine needs to be removed, the materials can be easily recycled, and the land is fully reversible since it minimizes habitat disruption.

The sea level has been constantly rising due to the greenhouse gas emissions. Solar and wind energy can be used to replace fossil fuels to further prevent this concern. They offer transformative solutions to the pressing challenge of climate change, providing clean, renewable alternatives to fossil fuels. Moreover, they assist in reducing costs, longer usage spans, and simpler, environmentally-friendly disposal. With determination and innovation, a sustainable future powered by the sun and wind can be built, paving the way towards a healthier planet for generations to come.

 

Image: https://www.newsweek.com/navigating-new-frontier-renewable-energy-1872616

 

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