I have written several articles on postings related to politics. A list of links have been provided at bottom of this article for your convenience. This article will, however address different aspects on these political events.
What Is the Green New Deal? A Climate Proposal, Explained
If you’ve heard a lot recently about the Green New Deal but still aren’t quite sure what it is, you are not alone. After all, it has been trumpeted by its supporters as the way to avoid planetary destruction, and vilified by opponents as a socialist plot to take away your ice cream. So it’s bound to be somewhat confusing. We’re here to help.
[A Green New Deal is Technologically Possible. Its Political Prospects Are Another Question.]
What is the Green New Deal?
The Green New Deal is a congressional resolution that lays out a grand plan for tackling climate change.
Introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, both Democrats, the proposal calls on the federal government to wean the United States from fossil fuels and curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions across the economy. It also aims to guarantee new high-paying jobs in clean energy industries.
The resolution is nonbinding, so even if Congress approves it, nothing in the proposal would become law.
Variations of the proposal have been around for years. Think tanks, the Green Party and even the New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman all have had plans for tackling climate change that they labeled a Green New Deal. But after the 2018 midterm elections, a youth activist group called the Sunrise Movement popularized the name by laying out a strategy and holding a sit-in outside the office of Nancy Pelosi, the soon-to-be-speaker of the House of Representatives, to demand action on climate change. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez joined the protesters, lending her support to their proposal and setting the groundwork for what ultimately became the joint resolution.
Will there be a vote on it?
Republicans have cast the Green New Deal as a socialist takeover and say it is evidence that Democrats are far from the mainstream on energy issues. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, plans to bring the plan to the floor as early as next week. Democrats say that the vote would be a stunt because Republican Senate leaders do not want to have a sincere debate about climate change.
What problem is the Green New Deal addressing?
The goal of the Green New Deal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change while also trying to fix societal problems like economic inequality and racial injustice.
The resolution uses as its guide two major reports issued last year by the United Nations and by federal scientists who warned that if global temperatures continue to rise, the world is headed for more intense heat waves, wildfires and droughts. The research shows that the United States economy could lose billions of dollars by the end of the century because of climate change. Currently, carbon emissions are rising, by 3.4 percent last year in the United States and by 2.7 percent globally, according to early estimates. Climate Fwd A new administration, an ongoing climate emergency — and a ton of news. Our newsletter will help you stay on top of it. Get it sent to your inbox.
Supporters of the Green New Deal also believe that change can’t just be a technological feat, and say it must also tackle poverty, income inequality and racial discrimination.
What are its main provisions?
Here, but here are the essential elements: It says the entire world needs to get to net-zero emissions by 2050 — meaning as much carbon would have to be absorbed as released into the atmosphere — and the United States must take a “leading role” in achieving that.
The Green New Deal calls on the federal government to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create high-paying jobs, ensure that clean air, clean water and healthy food are basic human rights, and end all forms of oppression.
To achieve those goals, the plan calls for the launch of a “10-year mobilization” to reduce carbon emissions in the United States. It envisions sourcing 100 percent of the country’s electricity from renewable and zero-emissions power, digitizing the nation’s power grid, upgrading every building in the country to be more energy-efficient, and overhauling the nation’s transportation system by investing in electric vehicles and high-speed rail.
To address social justice, the resolution says it is the duty of the government to provide job training and new economic development, particularly to communities that currently rely on jobs in fossil fuel industries.
What doesn’t it say?
President Trump has claimed the Green New Deal will take away your “airplane rights.” Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, told Hugh Hewitt, the conservative radio host, that the proposal would confiscate cars and require Americans to “ride around on high-speed light rail, supposedly powered by unicorn tears.” And Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming and chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, warned that ice cream, cheeseburgers and milkshakes would be a thing of the past because under the Green New Deal, “livestock will be banned.”
The resolution doesn’t do any of those things.
To be sure, there is some confusion about what the Green New Deal does and doesn’t say. That’s partially the fault of its sponsors, who botched the resolution’s initial rollout.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s office initially sent to reporters, but later disavowed, a fact sheet that included some controversial ideas, like guaranteeing economic security including to those “unwilling to work.”
The resolution does call on the federal government to make investments in policies and projects that would eventually change the way we design buildings, travel and eat. For example: cows. To reduce methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that cows and other livestock emit, the resolution proposes “working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible.”
The resolution itself also steers clear of endorsing or rejecting specific technologies or sources of energy, something that Mr. Markey said was done purposefully to encourage broader support for the plan.
Understand the Lastest News on Climate Change
The Biden administration takes action. The Environmental Protection Agency announced tighter rules on auto pollution. Though Senator Joe Manchin said he would not back President Biden’s climate legislation, the Interior Department approved two big solar projects.
How some cities are reducing emissions. A district in London has developed an innovative way to divert subway heat for buildings to lower carbon emissions. Stockholm and Vancouver are turning to waste heat from sewage instead.
Sounding the alarm. A report on the state of the Arctic highlights troubling and consistent trends in the region that are linked to global warming. Researchers are also growing increasingly concerned about Antarctica, where ice shelves are melting and wilder winds are altering crucial currents.
What’s with the name?
The Green New Deal takes its name and inspiration from the major government makeover, known as the New Deal, launched by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to help the United States recover from the Great Depression.
That series of public-works programs and financial reforms included the Civilian Conservation Corps (which put people to work in manual labor jobs like planting trees and constructing park trails) and the creation of the Public Works Administration to work on the construction of bridges, dams, schools and more.
Like the original New Deal, the Green New Deal is not a single project or piece of legislation.
What are the costs?
That’s not clear yet.
President Trump claimed it would cost $100 trillion. Supporters of the Green New Deal say climate change could be equally costly to the American economy. For now it’s impossible to pin down dollar figures on the plan.
Some examples of why:
One conservative think tank has pegged the cost to the federal government of providing Medicare-to-all at $32 trillion over 10 years, but supporters claimed it would actually save taxpayers $2 trillion over 10 years.
Converting the country to 100 percent clean power? In Vermont alone, which has a goal of achieving 90 percent renewable energy by midcentury, the cost is estimated at $33 billion. Yet the state is seeing job growth in clean energy sectors and expects the transition will spur cost savings for consumers.
Modernizing the electrical grid across the United States could cost as much as $476 billion, yet reap $2 trillion in benefits, according to a 2011 study issued by the Electric Power Research Institute.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has acknowledged that the Green New Deal is going to be expensive, but contends the plan will pay for itself through economic growth.
Do critics offer alternative proposals?
Some Republicans have called for a technology-oriented solution to climate change, but so far no critic has come out with an alternative that matches the scale or scope of the Green New Deal.
How will the Green New Deal shape the debate?
There is going to be a lot more political jockeying around the Green New Deal in coming weeks and months. Republicans have already launched video ads trying to tie Democrats to the proposal, which they have described as “radical.”
And Mr. McConnell’s vote is directly aimed at making life uncomfortable for Democratic presidential contenders like Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris. Those senators have all co-sponsored the Green New Deal resolution but in some cases have avoided specifics. Ms. Klobuchar, for example, told CNN she saw the Green New Deal as an “aspiration” and “something that we need to move toward.”
At the same time, all of the attention on the Green New Deal has put new pressure on Republican critics to come up with their own plan for cutting greenhouse gases.
How Much Will the Green New Deal Cost Your Family?
The American Action Forum (AAF) yesterday posted a preliminary analysis of the scope, implications, and costs of the Green New Deal (GND). I can’t wait for the Senate to debate this proposal. As AAF’s analysis shows, the Green New Deal would be financially devastating to millions of middle-income households.
The Green New Deal is a progressive environmental and social policy wish-list, in the form of a sense of Congress resolution. Co-sponsored by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), the resolution calls for a “new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal.” Major goals include:
- Meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States “through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources”
- Eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. transportation, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors “as much as technologically feasible”
- Upgrading all existing buildings and constructing new buildings to achieve “maximal energy efficiency”
- Guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States
- Providing all Americans with adequate housing, high-quality health care, and economic security
The resolution has 68 co-sponsors in the House and 11 in the Senate, none of them Republicans. Seven of the sponsors—Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)—are declared presidential candidates.
The American Action Forum estimates that, between 2020 and 2029, the energy and environmental components of the Green New Deal would cost $8.3 trillion to $12.3 trillion, or $52,000 to $72,000 per household. The total GND program, including the jobs and “social justice” policies, would cost $51.1 trillion to $92.9 trillion, or $316,010 to $419,010 per household.
Perhaps as significant as what the Green New Deal says is what it does not say. The word “cost” occurs only once—in a provision directing the U.S. government to “take into account the complete environmental and social costs of emissions.” Although emissions from infrastructure, transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture are to be reduced “as much as technologically feasible,” the text nowhere states or implies that emission reductions must be cost effective, commercially viable, or reasonably affordable.
Although staggering, the costs in AAF’s chart above include only the direct expenditures needed to achieve the Green New Deal’s goals. A separate analysis would be required to estimate the GND’s impacts on the growth and performance of the U.S. economy.
The AAF analysts conclude with a warning about the less quantifiable perils of centralized planning and World War II-style “mobilization” of the nation’s industries and resources:
The Green New Deal is clearly very expensive. Its further expansion of the federal government’s role in some of the most basic decisions of daily life, however, would likely have a more lasting and damaging impact than its enormous price tag.
Stanford energy and environment experts examine strengths and weaknesses of the Green New Deal
The sweeping plan to overhaul transportation, energy and other sectors failed a recent U.S. Senate vote, but remains a political lightning rod. Stanford experts discuss the science behind the politics.
Eighty-six years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his first inaugural address to a nation mired in the Great Depression. Promising to “wage a war against the emergency,” Roosevelt hinted at the New Deal to come: an unprecedented series of massive public programs and projects intended to put America back to work.
Although Stanford scholars have diverse opinions about the pathways to take to reduce carbon emissions, they agree on the urgency and importance of the issue.
In an echo of the past, the Green New Deal resolution drafted by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Sen. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts labels climate change a “direct threat to the national security of the United States” and calls for the conversion of all U.S. power to clean, renewable energy sources and the creation of millions of green jobs, among other objectives. Supporters enthusiastically embrace the idea of a 10-year mobilization to reduce carbon emissions in the United States. Still, critics deride the plan as hopeless government overreach short on details and financial realism.
Stanford Report spoke with Sally Benson, co-director of the Precourt Institute for Energy; Rob Jackson, chair of the Global Carbon Project; and Mark Jacobson, director of Stanford’s Atmosphere/Energy Program, about the Green New Deal’s strengths and weaknesses. Jacobson’s research has provided state- and national-level roadmaps for transitioning all energy sectors to 100 percent clean, renewable energy and storage. Jackson published a recent op-ed in The Hill about the plan. Benson was co-author of a 2018 paper highlighting “particularly difficult to decarbonize” parts of the energy system. While the scholars have diverse opinions about the fastest, most likely to succeed and lowest cost pathway to deep decarbonization, they agree on the urgency and importance of the issue.
What components/details would a well done final Green New Deal (GND) have?
Benson: Given the urgency of reducing emissions, we should pursue a strategy of “everything that works.” Now is not the time to take solutions off the table. Specifically, carbon dioxide capture, utilization and storage, and nuclear power should be considered, in addition to renewable energy resources. In California, for example, decarbonizing the electricity sector with renewables only would cost about two times more than when you include CCS [carbon capture and storage] and nuclear power. Our results are consistent with many global studies, such as those described in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, showing that including some amount of CO2 capture and storage reduces the overall costs of deep decarbonization. I would also like to see the U.S. reach out to and partner with other countries to share knowledge about cost-effective deep decarbonization strategies. We don’t have time to waste with false starts and ineffective approaches to decarbonization.
What does the future of energy look like?
Stanford experts agree that the world needs to be less reliant on fossil fuels for energy. Getting there will remake the world’s largest economic sector – energy – into one that is more sustainable, secure and affordable for everyone.
Jackson: We’d set a national path to net-zero emissions in the electric-power sector and work hard to decarbonize the tougher transportation and industrial sectors. The GND should also reduce methane and nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture and industry. It doesn’t need to pick winning technologies. Solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, even fossils with carbon capture and storage could play a role, with most of the gains coming from renewables.
Jacobson: A GND should be based on transitioning all energy to 100 percent clean, renewable and zero-carbon wind-water-solar energy. This includes not only electricity, transportation, heating and cooling, but industry, agriculture and other energy use. Wind-water-solar excludes new nuclear power plants, fossil fuels with carbon capture, biofuels and capturing CO2 from the atmosphere aside from forestation. Such technologies increase air pollution, global warming, energy insecurity and other social costs compared with wind-water-solar. At least 37 papers among 11 independent research groups find that the electric grid can stay stable at low cost with at or near 100 percent wind-water-solar.
What are the most important reasons/benefits of a GND?
Jackson: Is saving the planet reason enough? I hope so. If not, how about the tens of thousands of Americans who die unnecessarily each year from coal-fired power plants and our vehicles, the two deadliest sources of air pollution in the country?
Jacobson: Such a transition will eliminate 62,000 air pollution deaths per year in the U.S, saving taxpayers $600 billion a year. Climate costs savings to the world due to reducing U.S. emissions would be $3.3 trillion a year. These savings would continue for 100 years. The transition would create 2 million net jobs over those lost in the U.S.
Benson: The Green New Deal is sparking an important and necessary conversation around the urgency of climate change. It’s a catalyst for a plan that will put us on an accelerated path to decarbonization. That starts with putting a price on carbon to incentivize industry to reduce emissions and unleash market forces to drive the best approaches to scale. Beyond these market forces, the government should step up funding of research, maintain regulations that drive energy efficiency and lead modernization of the electricity grid.
What are the biggest potential problems/weaknesses of a GND?
Jacobson: There is no technical or economic weakness, but social and political opposition is formidable. The fossil fuel industry has a lot at stake, and they sow doubt and oppose all legislation that will phase them out. The intent of the GND as originally written is to “transition off of nuclear and fossil fuels as soon as possible,” so the nuclear folks will try to oppose it as well. In addition, many people don’t care one way or the other and just don’t want to change their current lifestyle, so it is hard to encourage them to change.
Jackson: Trying to do too much and accomplishing too little. The GND is right to couple climate action to poverty because poorer people are already bearing the brunt of climate’s costs. However, this coupling could make action more difficult. Many Democrats may see social change as necessary. Many Republicans may not. I don’t want those differences to keep us from cleaner energy and improved energy efficiency.
Benson: The biggest potential problem would be broadly deploying technologies that aren’t yet sufficiently developed. We need to move as quickly as we can with technologies that are ready to go, like wind and solar power, and continue to develop other critical components of a deeply decarbonized energy system like large-scale weekly to seasonal energy storage.
What would have to happen in American politics and society for a GND to pass?
Jackson: There’s tremendous energy on the Hill for green energy and social change. Today’s politics differ vastly from the first New Deal, though, when one party controlled both the White House and Congress. We aren’t clawing our way out of a Great Depression, either. We do face a global climate crisis, and our youth understand the urgency. Because the first New Deal arrived in many bills, not one, the GND will too. I think we’ll see narrower bills with bipartisan sponsors, such as a national clean energy standard for electric power. Heartland voters in states like Texas, Iowa and Oklahoma share a lot with coastal voters in embracing cheap wind and solar power. I suspect we’ll see newer incentives for energy efficiency, electric vehicles, and carbon capture and storage technologies, as well.
Jacobson: People need to realize how financially and job-beneficial the GND is.
Approximately how much would it cost to institute a GND, and how could we pay for it?
Jacobson: Rather than increasing costs, the GND reduces costs substantially. The upfront capital cost of a 100 percent wind-water-solar electric power generation system is about $9.5 trillion. However, this cost is spread out over many years and will pay itself off over time through electricity sales.
Further, a wind-water-solar system uses half the energy as a fossil fuel system and also eliminates health and climate costs due to fossil fuels. As such, U.S. consumers will pay only $1 trillion per year in energy costs with the GND, whereas under a fossil fuel system, they will pay $2 trillion per year in energy costs and $600 billion per year in air pollution health costs, and will incur $3.3 trillion per year in global climate costs due to U.S. emissions, for a total economic cost of $5.9 trillion per year. Thus a wind-water-solar system costs society one-sixth that of a fossil fuel system.
Jackson: No one can answer what it would cost because no specific agenda exists. To pay for it, a price on carbon emissions would help. A fee and dividend would price pollution, giving companies financial incentives to cut emissions. To have much chance politically, though, it may need to be revenue neutral, redistributing the funds to taxpayers. That redistribution is where social change could occur, but then again it wouldn’t pay for other aspects of the GND.
Benson: It depends on what the GND becomes. We can take many actions today with low or no cost. For example, in many cases it is less expensive to use natural gas instead of coal for producing electricity, and more efficient cars and appliances can actually save money for consumers when you consider the total cost of ownership. Adding renewable power to the grid can also be cost effective, such as all of the wind power added in the Midwest and Texas and solar power in the Southwest. Within the next decade, owning an electric car is likely to be cost-competitive with a gasoline-powered car. On the other hand, comprehensive approaches for completely decarbonizing transportation and industry are not available today. R&D is needed to drive down costs for decarbonization technologies.
The New Deal and the Green New Deal: Their Pros and Cons
The New Deal occurred in the early 1930s throughout the Great Depression. The Great Depression was definitely one of the most appalling economic declines industrial wise in the world. This took place directly after the 1929 crash in the stock market and it did not only send millions into a panic, it also wiped out many many investors. Many people were struggling to just get by, some didn’t even know when their next meal would be. It was a very sad time for millions of unemployed Americans that would lose cars, homes, and have trouble finding good-paying jobs.
The New Deal was put in place to tackle all of these issues. It was a sequence of programs and projects put into play by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This was planned to conduct economic relief. This took place from about 1933-1939 in the United States but affected the entire world industrially. Especially the lack of trade between countries. It was directed to reestablish the prosperity back into America. This certainly helped the economy and provide jobs and relief to the many that were hurting. There were a lot of Americans who supported the idea to employ and give financial safety to millions of Americans. But there were also may that had to disagree with the idea. Political enemies opposed the New Deal, this was many businessmen and even the Republican party. The most famous was Huey Long, he believed that the New Deal did not do enough for the poor and his alternative plan was called, “Share Our Wealth”. Even though The New Deal definitely didn’t end the Great Depression, it was fortunate in restoring common assurance back into the people, and the creation of the newer programs brought relief to millions. It was definitely successful in both short-term and putting in a long-term structural reform, it has easily changed the United States forever. The only negatives people had to support against the New Deal would be the fact that it upset the balance of the federal estimate, and it was unsuccessful in ending the Great Depression, but at the same time, it did help with the massive problem of unemployment.
The second idea that is coming into play is the Green New Deal. This idea is the big go green idea. This is to address all of the global warming taking place, because of the industries such as fossil fuels. The idea pushes the thought to use less carbon and be more energy-efficient such as using solar energy and wind to generate electricity. Some might say the plan is very broad, but others say that it has a lot of detailed parts that get to the point. Many believe that we are slowly killing ourselves and our planet, because of what we put in the atmosphere and the way we treat it. This plan is not fully in action yet, but many Democrats are very serious about putting it into play. The entire plan for the new deal is to reduce the production of greenhouse gases in all. They think that if the issue of greenhouse gases is tackled itself then that could help the huge issue of global warming. The Green New deal also adds to help the people of low-income, because in many ways items become more expensive when drought takes place or even a natural disaster. This is called income inequality and it is to help with the raising of prices to make sure that the low- income homes can still afford these higher prices. With all of the global warming taking place, science says that if we don’t act fast by 2030 the change will not be able to reverse. There are many things that would be helpful if the Green New Deal was put into place, like it would create jobs, cut climate change in half, support farming, and boost manufacturing. Many republicans fight this because they don’t know how much it will really affect our planet or not and think that it costs way too much money and will just send our country into debt even into our second Great Depression.
There are many similarities and differences between the two deals, but somethings that they do in common is the fact that they both were put in play to benefit the country, increase the number of jobs, ideas from both could have sent the country bankrupt, and both were supposed to benefit the economy spending wisely in the long run. Things that are different about the two deals are that the New Deal took place during the Great Depression, while the Green New Deal is taking place currently. Also, the Green New Deal was thought of to tackle the idea of global warming and limit the number of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases, while the New Deal was put into play to help them with the huge problem of unemployment during the Great Depression and help the economy build its way back up because industrially we were really failing at that. So we needed to create some economic relief. Also, the Green New Deal could help with low-income homes while many thought that the new deal did not do enough for the poor and just made it harder for them to afford the things that they needed.
Finally, it is easy to say that both deals could easily benefit the country, but there are definitely holes in both plans or things that could use some work. No matter what when it comes to the two deals someone is not going to be happy so no matter what you put into play someone will always be satisfied while others will not, but that’s just how life works you can not always make everyone happy. In all the deals both are great ideas and the Green New deal might not ever be put into place, but it is a great building block.
Wind energy pros and cons
There are advantages and disadvantages to any type of energy source, and wind energy is no different. In this article, we’ll review some of the top pros and cons of generating electricity from wind turbines.
Top pros and cons of wind energy
Wind energy is one of the most common types of renewable energy in the U.S. today, and also happens to be one of our fastest-growing sources of electricity. However, while there are a number of environmental benefits to using wind energy, there are some downsides. Here are a few of the top pros and cons:
Pros and cons of wind energy
|Pros of wind energy||Cons of wind energy|
|Renewable & clean source of energy||Intermittent|
|Low operating costs||Noise and visual pollution|
|Efficient use of land space||Some adverse environmental impact|
|Wind energy is a job creator||Wind power is remote|
On the pros side, wind is a clean, renewable energy source, and is one of the most cost-effective sources for electricity. On the cons side, wind turbines can be noisy and unappealing aesthetically, and can sometimes adversely impact the physical environment around them. Similar to solar power, wind power is also intermittent, meaning that turbines are reliant on weather and therefore aren’t capable of generating electricity 24/7.
Below, we’ll explore these pros and cons in further detail.
Advantages of wind energy
Wind energy is clean and renewable
Unlike coal, natural gas, or oil, generating electricity from wind doesn’t result in greenhouse gas emissions. While there are some environmental considerations that come with building large wind farms, once operational, wind turbines themselves don’t require burning any fossil fuels to operate.
Additionally, wind energy is completely renewable and will never run out. In opposition to traditional fossil fuels resources that replenish very slowly, wind naturally occurs in our atmosphere, and we don’t have to worry about supply issues in the future.
Wind energy is a job creator
In terms of job creation, the wind energy sector is the fastest growing in the United States. Currently there are more than 100,000 workers in the field with the potential to support more than 600,000 in coming years.
Wind energy has low operating costs
As far as upfront costs go, wind farms or individual turbines can be expensive to install. However, once up and running, operating costs are relatively low; their fuel (wind) is free, and the turbines don’t require too much maintenance over the course of their lifetime.
Wind energy is space-efficient
Cumulatively, wind farms can take up a lot of land space; however, the actual turbines and equipment don’t use up a lot of real-estate. This means that land used for wind turbines can often also be used for other purposes, such as farming.
Disadvantages of wind energy
Wind energy is intermittent
A wind turbine’s effectiveness in generating electricity depends on the weather; thus, it can be difficult to predict exactly how much electricity a wind turbine will generate over time. If wind speeds are too low on any given day, the turbine’s rotor won’t spin.
This means wind energy isn’t always available for dispatch in times of peak electricity demand. In order to use wind energy exclusively, wind turbines need to be paired with some sort of energy storage technology.
Wind energy causes noise and visual pollution
One of the biggest downsides of wind energy is the noise and visual pollution. Wind turbines can be noisy when operating, as a result of both the mechanical operation and the wind vortex that’s created when the blades are rotating. Additionally, because wind turbines need to be built up high enough to capture a good amount of wind, the turbines can often interrupt otherwise scenic landscapes, such as mountain ranges, lakes, oceans, and more.
Wind turbines have some negative impacts on their surrounding environment
A wind turbine’s blades are very large and rotate at very high speeds. Unfortunately, their blades can harm and kill species that fly into them, like birds and bats. The construction of wind farms can also disrupt natural habitats of local species if not conducted in a sustainable manner. However, these problems can be solved to some extent with technological advancements and properly-siting wind farms.
Wind Energy is Remote
Wind energy requires transmission. In many cases, turbines and generation sites may be located quite far from the population centers where electricity is needed. Therefore, transmission lines are an additional piece of infrastructure that must be built for this form of energy generation to be successful.
Solar energy pros and cons
Should I install solar panels?
You should install solar panels if you’re looking for a way to save on energy expenses in the long run. While upfront installation costs can be high, the cost-benefit is clear: Installing solar panels on your home is financially and environmentally responsible. Using solar power will lower your electricity bills and earn you tax incentives. Solar panels are also great investments because they add value to your house and are exempt from property taxes.
Solar energy advantages and disadvantages
Benefits of solar panels
There are many advantages of solar energy to consider when you’re deciding whether or not to install solar panels, such as:
- Reduced electricity bills
Using solar energy instead of traditional energy sources can result in financial savings. Over a 20-year period, you could save anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on your state, home size and electricity usage. Unlike paying utility bills, paying off a solar panel system gets a return on investment. Solar energy can also be sold back to the grid, so you have the potential to earn while you save.
- Financial support from the government
Federal and state tax benefits are available when you install solar panels in your home or business. Taxpayers could potentially claim 30 percent of installation costs, with benefits varying by state. In some instances it may be possible to get a solar home installation with no out-of-pocket costs. This may take some time to research, but it is possible.
- Energy independence
The sun is an infinite source of energy, unlike coal and natural gas, and solar panels can be installed practically anywhere. The electrical energy output of the panels depends on exposure to direct sunlight; anything that gets in the way of this reduces the output. Using solar panels allows you to reduce dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels, leading to a more stable and predictable energy bill, especially during times when the demand for energy is high.
- Reduced carbon footprint
Solar energy is able to generate power without giving off any dangerous emissions. While there is some carbon footprint from producing and distributing solar panel infrastructure, the energy produced from solar panels is clean and free of pollutants, and it emits no greenhouse gases. The average American home produces 14,920 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. By installing solar panels, you can reduce your carbon footprint by more than 3,000 pounds annually.
- Longevity and little maintenance
Most systems last for 20 or more years. During that time, solar panels and equipment require little maintenance. The company you choose can help you understand what exactly is required for maintenance. Some providers offer self-cleaning systems for their panels, because dirt and dust can reduce the output significantly. Plus, solar energy technology is always improving, so the same size solar panels from last year are even better today.
Disadvantages of solar panels
As with most things, where there are advantages, there are also disadvantages to consider when thinking about installing a solar energy system. Some disadvantages associated with solar energy systems include:
- High initial cost
While a reduced electric bill is an advantage, initial costs for the equipment, panels and installation could be more than $20,000. If you have direct-current devices operating from alternating-current sources, they’ll need a transformer. These transformers aren’t 100% efficient, though, so the operating cost is higher with an AC source than with a DC solar panel.
- Weather dependence
The most important element for solar panels is the sun. If you live in an area prone to cloudy days for an extended period, this will negatively impact how the system runs. Your system will likely be less productive in winter months than summer months.
- Inability to move with you
Practically speaking, once a solar energy system is installed on a home or business, it’s nearly impossible to transport. Theoretically, it is possible to transfer PV solar panels if you move into a new home, but it’s rarely advised. The system would have to be dismantled from your roof and retrofitted to your new property, which would likely cause extensive damage to both your panels and your roof. The value of the house also increases with the solar installation, so you should be able to recover most of the cost if you leave your solar panel system for the next owners.
- Limitations from your surroundings
As the solar energy industry continues to grow and offer more nationwide services, most solar energy companies service a particular geographic region or even just one state. So, if you live outside solar energy companies’ coverage area, you could have difficulty finding solar options near you.
- Inconvenience in inner cities and other areas with limited space
A solar system requires a decent amount of space to install the equipment and have everything run smoothly, and so solar panels might be inconvenient in inner cities and other areas with limited space. About 100 square feet of roof space is required for every 1 kW of conventional solar panels. If you have limited space or a small roof, you might not have the space for all the solar panels needed to power your entire house.
Many of the advantages and disadvantages of installing solar panels seem to present a tradeoff. Solar panel technology is constantly improving, which means it’s not perfect yet. You’ll get a return on your investment, but it can take a long time. Energy produced from solar panels is abundant, clean and renewable, though, and its carbon footprint is a one-time occurrence — a solar power system will continuously reduce the carbon footprint for years to come.
- Reduced electricity bills
- Financial support from the government
- Energy independence
- Reduced carbon footprint
- Little maintenance required
- High initial cost
- Weather dependence
- Inability to move with you
- Limitations from your surroundings
- Inconvenience in inner cities and other areas with limited space
After you understand how solar panels work and what makes the best solar panels, you will need to talk to a solar energy company to find out what makes the most sense for your home and climate. Depending on where you live, you could qualify for government subsidies and tax incentives that could help offset the initial high cost of installing a solar energy system. It’s often wise, to protect the investment, to hire a good electrical engineering consultant to look over the system you choose.
Pros and cons of electric cars
Electric vehicles offer many benefits, but they also have some disadvantages when compared to conventional gasoline-powered cars. One of the biggest questions prospective electric car buyers face is whether to purchase an all-electric vehicle (AEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), or a gasoline-powered car.
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Top pros and cons of electric cars
Electric cars are growing in popularity every day. Just like conventional cars, there are certain benefits and drawbacks of using an electric car. Here are the top few to keep in mind:
|Pros of electric cars||Cons of electric cars|
|Electric cars are energy efficient||Electric cars can’t travel as far|
|Electric cars reduce emissions||“Fueling” takes longer|
|Electric cars require lower maintenance||Electric cars are sometimes more expensive|
On the pros side, electric cars are energy efficient, are net good for the environment, and don’t require as much maintenance as traditional gas-powered cars. On the cons side, you can’t travel as far between refueling, the actual refueling process takes longer than filling a car at a gas pump, and upfront costs are sometimes a barrier.
Below, we’ll explore these pros and cons in further detail.
Advantages of electric cars
Pro: Electric cars are energy efficient
Energy efficiency refers to the amount of energy from the fuel source that is converted into actual energy for powering the wheels of a vehicle. AEVs are far more efficient than conventional gas-powered vehicles: AEV batteries convert 59 to 62 percent of energy into vehicle movement while gas powered vehicles only convert between 17 and 21 percent. This means that charging an AEV’s battery puts more towards actually powering the vehicle than filling up at a gas pump.
Pro: Electric cars reduce emissions
Emission reduction, including reduced usage of fuel, is another pro for all-electric vehicles. Because they rely on a rechargeable battery, driving an electric car does not create any tailpipe emissions which are a major source of pollution in the United States. In addition, the rechargeable battery means much less money spent on fuel, which means all energy can be sourced domestically (and often through renewable resources such as solar panel systems).
Improving battery technology in today’s light-duty AEVs means they can drive 100 miles while consuming only 25 to 40 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity. Assuming that your electric car can travel three miles per kWh, the electric vehicle can travel about 43 miles for $1.00. By comparison, if we assume that gas costs $2.50 per gallon, an average gasoline vehicle with a fuel efficiency of 22 miles per gallon will only be able to travel 10 miles for the same price. The distance traveled for a fuel cost of $1.00 is nearly four times as far with an electric vehicle.
Pro: Electric cars are high performance and low maintenance
All-electric vehicles are also high performance vehicles whose motors are not only quiet and smooth but require less maintenance than internal combustion engines. The driving experience can also be fun because AEV motors react quickly, making them responsive with good torque. AEVs are overall newer than their gas powered counterparts and are often more digitally connected with charging stations providing the option to control charging from an app.
Disadvantages of electric cars
Con: Electric cars can travel less distance
AEVs on average have a shorter range than gas-powered cars. Most models ranging between 60 and 120 miles per charge and some luxury models reaching ranges of 300 miles per charge. For comparison, gas powered vehicles will average around 300 miles on a full tank of gas, and more fuel efficient vehicles getting much higher driving ranges. This may be an issue when looking at AEVs if you frequently take long trips. Availability of charging stations can make AEVs less suitable for activities like road trips.
Con: Electric cars take longer to “refuel”
Fueling an all-electric car can also be an issue. Fully recharging the battery pack with a Level 1 or Level 2 charger can take up to 8 hours, and even fast charging stations take 30 minutes to charge to 80 percent capacity. Electric car drivers have to plan more carefully, because running out of power can’t be solved by a quick stop at the gas pump.
Con: Electric cars are more expensive, and battery packs may need to be replaced
The battery packs within an electric car are expensive and may need to be replaced more than once over the lifetime of the car. All-electric vehicles are also more expensive than gas-powered cars, and the upfront cost of all-electric vehicle can also be prohibitive. However, the fuel cost savings, tax credits, and state incentives can help to offset this cost overall if they are available.
Overall, all-electric vehicles, like any vehicle, must be assessed based on personal needs and vehicle usage. There are many pros to owning an electric vehicle, such as fuel savings and reduced emissions, but this can come at the cost of relying on battery charging and higher costs. Consider what works best for you when looking into purchasing an all-electric vehicle.
Pros and cons of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
Many of the same benefits of all-electric cars also apply to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. PHEVs are great vehicles for reducing emissions and reducing fuel usage. For short trips, your PHEV may not need to switch away from its all electric motor, in which case the car emits no tailpipe emissions. Even more, PHEVs use 30 to 60 percent less fuel than conventional gas powered cars. If the electricity is sourced from renewable resources, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced even further.
PHEVs also make great vehicles for those who cannot commit to a fully electric vehicle because of driving and recharging needs. While AEVs are limited to their battery range, the fuel backup in a plug-in hybrid means that when the battery runs out the vehicle can continue to run and even recharge the battery by using fuel. PHEVs usually have a better fuel economy than their conventional gas powered counterparts.
Much like an AEV, one of the hurdles to owning a PHEV is the amount of time it takes to recharge the battery. While PHEV batteries are smaller on average than those found in AEVs, a Level 1 charger may still take several hours to charge. A Level 2 charger can take one to four hours. In addition, while fast charging does exist most PHEVs do not have this charging capability.
Another factor to consider is cost: like AEVs, PHEVs have a higher price tag than many gas powered vehicles. There are fuel savings, tax credits, and state incentives that can help offset these costs, and as production of PHEVs expands, these prices may come down.
Consider all the pros and cons of electric cars when you make a purchase
All-electric cars and plug-in electric cars are great for drivers who want to reduce emissions, reduce fuel costs, and drive nice vehicles. However, battery charging can take a long time which may not fit driving needs and the upfront costs mean that the vehicles are a larger investment. It is ultimately up to the driver to decide if this kind of vehicle is the right fit and if so, taking steps even further to reduce emissions by integrating solar panel systems into their vehicle charging.
Top 10 pros and cons of electric cars
The electric car has gone mainstream with sleeker, more affordable options to choose from. Because electric car models are newer than their gas-powered counterparts, many consumers are unaware of their options aside from the many recently announced carmakers going all-electric.
In this article, we will focus purely on the pros and cons of all-electric cars.
What are the pros and cons of electric cars?
For car drivers looking for a low maintenance alternative to their gas-powered car, electric cars offer many advantages. However, if you are worried about not being able to commit to charging your car, you might want to stick with your gas car for now.
|Lower ongoing costs||Few charging stations|
|Reduce carbon footprint||Long charge time|
|Low maintenance needs||Limited driving range|
|High-quality performance||High upfront costs|
|Convenient||Battery replacement expense|
Pros of electric cars
If you’re comparing the merits of an electric car to those of conventional vehicles, be sure to keep the following benefits in mind:
Lower ongoing costs
Recharging an electric car is much more affordable in the long run as opposed to refueling a gas-fueled car.
This is especially true when taking into account the fact that you can recharge your electric car at home and get tax benefits from installing a solar powered carport or using solar panels for your electricity.
Reduce carbon footprint
According to the EPA, one traditional gas-fueled passenger vehicle with a 22-miles per gallon range emits an average of 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Non-hybrid electric cars emit zero tons of CO2 or other greenhouse gases, making them much more environmentally friendly. Charging electric cars with renewable energy, like solar, ensures no CO2 is emitted at any phase of your vehicle use.
Low maintenance needs
Mechanical engines have a lot of moving parts, including pumps and valves, along with fluids that need changing. Think frequent oil changes – which electric cars don’t have.
Because electric vehicles don’t have as many components that need replacing, less maintenance is necessary. Electric cars also generally last longer than their gas-powered counterparts because of less wear and tear.
Because there is no exhaust system, electric cars are known for operating smoothly and quietly. Electric crossover and SUV models are much quieter than traditional gas engines, which leads to less noise pollution and a more relaxing ride. Electric motors also tend to react much quicker than mechanical engines, providing more torque and agility while driving.
Additionally, electric cars usually operate more efficiently and use less energy in stop-and-go city traffic.
A lot of people mistakenly think that electric cars are more inconvenient since you have to find charging stations, which aren’t as easy to find as gas stations.
But the ability to charge electric models at home is a great advantage, and more charging stations are popping up around the country every week, for both Tesla models and other brands. Some newer electric cars even have voice-enabled systems so all you have to do is ask where a charging station is and the car will lead you there.
Cons of electric cars
Although electric cars have more than their share of advantages, it’s worth noting that they are not without their drawbacks. The following are a few of the disadvantages of electric cars:
Finding charging stations can be challenging
Even though you can charge an electric vehicle at home, finding a charging station if you’re driving through rural areas or on a long-distance road trip can be a challenge. As noted above, more areas are embracing EV charging stations and numerous hotel chains have started to include EV chargers in their parking lots. This trend will continue as demand for charging stations increases.
Charging can take a while
Adding gas to a fuel tank doesn’t take much longer than five minutes, whereas recharging an electric car can take some time to do, especially if the battery is fully depleted.
It can take upwards of two days to get a full charge on a battery pack using normal outlets, depending on car type and battery size. Even the fastest charging stations will take 30 minutes to get near 80 percent capacity.
The driving range is limited
The driving range of a gas-powered car is much longer than that of an electric car, which can range anywhere from 100 miles to 400 depending on the type of car.
This can be problematic if you’re planning a long-distance trip, but it should be fine for daily commutes if you charge your car nightly.
High initial costs
Although the cost of an electric car can be offset by fuel cost savings and tax credits, the upfront price of most electric cars is higher than that of comparable gas-powered vehicles.
Battery packs can be expensive to replace
Although little maintenance is generally needed, don’t be surprised if you need to replace your electric car’s battery pack at least once during its lifetime.
Doing so can be expensive, although it’s worth noting that the price has dropped significantly over the past few years at under $6,000.
Is owning an EV right for you?
Hopefully, the above pros and cons can help you determine if an EV makes sense for your driving needs. With more car companies like Volvo and GM committing to all-electric, the electric car is going to be the norm in a few year’s time.
This can help ease range anxiety because the more the market embraces electric cars, the more innovative and practical electric cars will become. It also means more charging stations will be available, as well.
If you want a new car for your daily commute, take a look at which electric cars we recommend. You will find familiar luxury models like BMW, Audi, and the Jaguar i-Pace, or more affordable options like the Nissan Leaf, Kona, and Hyundai.
If you are committed to combating climate change and would like to save money in the process, you could also add solar panels to your home, which would further complement an emissions-free lifestyle.
cei.org, “How Much Will the Green New Deal Cost Your Family?” By Marlo Lewis, Jr.; nytimes.com, “What Is the Green New Deal? A Climate Proposal, Explained.” By Lisa Friedman; news.standford.edu, “Stanford energy and environment experts examine strengths and weaknesses of the Green New Deal: The sweeping plan to overhaul transportation, energy and other sectors failed a recent U.S. Senate vote, but remains a political lightning rod. Stanford experts discuss the science behind the politics.” BY ROB JORDAN; eduzaurus.com, “The New Deal and the Green New Deal: Their Pros and Cons”; energysage.com, “Wind energy pros and cons”; consumeraffairs.com, “Solar energy pros and cons: What are the disadvantages and advantages of solar panels?” By Kathryn Parkman; populationeducation.org, “What are the Pros and Cons of Solar and Wind Energy?” BY LAUREN BOUCHER; energysage.com, “Pros and cons of electric cars”; solarreviews.com, “Top 10 pros and cons of electric cars.” By Ana Almerini;
What are the Pros and Cons of Solar and Wind Energy?
What is solar energy?
Plants are able to harness energy from the sun, so why can’t we? Solar energy is generated by converting the sun’s thermal energy into electrical energy. Solar energy is the most abundant renewable energy source available and generates clean, reliable, and affordable electricity without releasing greenhouse gases and other air pollutants. There are two ways in which solar energy can be converted into electricity:
- Photovoltaics: Photovoltaic cells (PVs) change sunlight directly into electricity.
- Solar thermal/electric power plants: Solar thermal/electric power plants generate electricity by concentrating solar energy to heat a fluid and produce steam to power a generator.
Solar installations in the US have become much more widespread, increasing seventeen fold since 2008. When operating at optimal conditions our current solar capacity can produce enough energy to power 4 million American homes.
What are the pros of solar energy?
1. Abundant: Solar energy is the most abundant resource on earth and has strong potential to help us meet our growing energy demands. Currently, the world consumes about 15 terawatts of energy (1 terawatt = 1 trillion watts). The sun deposits 173,000 terawatts (TW) of solar radiation on the surface of the Earth continuously – that’s more than 10,000 times our current energy demand! Surprisingly, one does not need to live on the equator to benefit from solar energy. Germany generates about 7% of its total electrical needs from solar energy.
2. Zero emissions: Producing solar power does not release harmful emissions into the atmosphere.
3. Siting: Small scale solar may be installed almost anywhere. Many solar panels may be placed on rooftops of existing buildings – reducing their land footprint. Large-scale solar thermal/electric power plants have a larger land footprint, as they require a lot of space.
4. Low maintenance:When installed properly, solar panels require very little maintenance.
What are the cons of solar energy?
1. Intermittent: Solar energy – while abundant – is not constant. The amount of solar energy hitting the earth’s surface varies depending on the time of day, time of year, weather patterns, and location. Most cities experience the greatest demand for power in the afternoon and early evening when solar energy is not able to be captured it its greatest potential. Solar energy plants are also vulnerable to changes in cloud cover and weather patterns – a plant’s efficiency may be significantly compromised by a cloudy day or afternoon storm.
2. Energy storage: One solution to the challenge of intermittent energy sources is investing in energy storage. In these systems, batteries and other devices store generated energy for later use. Unfortunately, energy storage systems right now are costly and underdeveloped. We need to make a commitment to advancing research and development in energy storage technologies, such as flow batteries and grid energy storage systems, if we are serious about transitioning into a new energy model where energy demands are met from renewable sources.
3. Cost: It is very expensive to bring a solar plant on line. While technological advances and federal incentives have caused the cost producing solar energy to fall dramatically over the past 20 years, solar energy production is still more expensive than coal and natural gas. One way to examine the competitiveness of different energy sources is to compare levelized energy costs. The levelized cost of energy (LCOE) is calculated by taking the total cost to build and operate a new power plant over its lifetime divided by its expected energy output –measured in dollars per kilowatt hour ($/kW-hr). Coal and natural gas have low LCOEs ($.07-.$14/ kW-hr). The LCOE of solar power is nearly double that of coal and natural gas, averaging between $0.13 and $0.24/kW-hr.
*It is important to note that growing demand for energy coupled with federal incentives may lower the levelized cost of solar energy in the future. Solar energy is economically-competitive with conventional energy sources in several states, including California, Hawaii, Texas, and Minnesota.
4. Rare earth materials: Many photovoltaic cells are made of rare earth minerals like silicon and other metals like mercury, lead, and cadmium. These materials required in PV cells can be rare, expensive, and potentially harmful to the environment.
What is wind energy?
Wind energy is energy extracted from air flow using wind turbines. Wind turbines convert kinetic energy (energy from motion) into mechanical power and then electricity. A single 1 Megawatt (MW) turbine can generate enough electricity to power 225-300 homes. Wind energy makes up 4.4 percent of the total US electricity generation. In the last 10 years installed wind capacity has increased by nearly 880%. In 2012, wind was ranked the number one source of new U.S. electricity generation capacity – representing 43% of all new electric additions.
What are the pros of wind energy?
1. Low levelized cost: Wind energy has a very low levelized cost of energy (LCOE). The cost of wind energy has come down 85% over in the last 20 years. Recall, average LCOE for coal and natural gas range between $0.07 and $0.14/kW-hr. Wind ranges between $0.08 and $0.20/kW-hr, making it a competitive option for those living in the right geographic areas.
2. Small environmental footprint: Wind energy does not produce harmful atmospheric emissions. Wind farms also have a small land footprint, allowing for the land beneath them to be used for other purposes like farming and cattle ranching. Futhermore, wind turbines have a relatively low impact on species populations. The effects of turbines bird and bat populations has been a long contested within the scientific community, however, a recent National Wind Coordinating Committee report concluded that these impacts are low and do not pose a threat to species populations.
3. Quick construction and high payback: Wind has one of the fastest “energy payback times” of any source of electricity. With careful siting and community outreach, wind farms can be built in a fraction of the time it takes to install their conventional counterparts (coal and natural gas). Some wind farms can be completed in less than a year, meaning they can begin recovering the cost and energy expended to build the farm much earlier – sometimes in as little as three to eight months.
What are the cons of wind energy?
1. Siting and transmission: The best sites for wind farms are often located in remote locations far from areas in which energy demand is high. Transmission is necessary in order to bring electricity from wind farms to cities. Unfortunately, a great deal of energy is lost in transmission. The EIA estimates that 6% of energy produced in the U.S. is lost during transmission and distribution, this figure becomes much higher when the distance the energy must travel increases.
2. Energy storage: Similar to solar energy, wind is an intermittent energy source. Therefore, more sophisticated technology in energy storage must be adopted to help store excess energy produced when demand is low.
Feeling like a renewable energy expert yet? You will be by the end of this series! Tune next week to explore the benefits and limitations to hydro, tidal, biomass, and geothermal energy.
Post 1: Why do Renewable Energy Sources Matter?
Post 2: What are the Pros and Cons of Solar and Wind Energy?
Post 3: What are the Pros and Cons of Hydro and Tidal Energy?
Post 4: What are the Pros and Cons of Biomass and Geothermal Energy?
Governmental and Political Posts Both National and International