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Don’t wait to expand renewable energy alternatives

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Dan Lancour
June 19, 2009
This commentary was among those written by students in the Washington Seminar program at Janesville Parker High School.

The past several months, I have studied the background as well as current politics of renewable energy. It is apparent that incorporating renewable energy into our electrical system is possible, but neither on a large scale nor within the next few years.


Renewable energy is still a new and developing technology, and researchers have not even begun to tap its full potential. Less than 3 percent of energy produced in the United States comes from renewable sources. According to several experts I consulted in Washington, this is an unacceptable standard, and “20 percent renewable energy by 2020” should be the U.S. goal for the next decade. This target is obtainable, but it will not come without cost or sacrifice on behalf of the government, energy companies and consumers.


The main sources of energy, coal and oil, hurt our environment. However, harvesting and manufacturing these resources is economically appealing.


The reality is that most Americans are still not willing to pay higher energy prices to receive power from wind and solar energies. For this matter, it is necessary to state the facts. The demand for energy is increasing faster than supply can be met. This is a result of a rapidly growing population, the vast number of “plug-in” devices such as cell phones and iPods that did not exist decades ago, and the inefficiency of newer technologies such as plasma TVs that use more electricity than older models.


Energy sources such as coal and oil are diminishing in supply, and we are becoming increasing dependent on foreign oil to meet our transportation demands. Fossil fuels can fulfill our needs for now, but it is only a matter of time before the demand becomes so high that traditional nonrenewable energies can no longer provide for the entire populace.


Renewable energies such as wind and solar must be implemented now. They never deplete and produce no emissions that harm the environment. Waiting to expand renewable energy will only make the consequences and cost of ignoring the energy crisis more severe in the future.



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