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The United States gains its electricity from many different sources. These sources include coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, wind, solar, and oil. Although the country is trying to embrace clean energy, there’s still more progress to be made.
Currently, 511 coal-powered electric plants generate 34 percent of the U.S.’s electricity. It remains the leading fuel for electricity. However, it has become much less prevalent than it was in the late 1980’s.
Just below coal is natural gas. With 1,740 natural gas-powered electric plants, it generates 30 percent of the energy. Over the past decade, more natural gas supplies have been found from shale deposits.
Twenty percent of the nation’s electricity has been generated by 63 nuclear plants. These plants are more common in the East and there are five new plants under construction. Twenty states have no nuclear electricity generation.
When it comes to hydroelectric power, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho are in the lead. It’s a huge power source for the Pacific Northwest, but also contributes seven percent of the electricity nationally with 1,436 plants.
Wind is the fastest-growing power source in the U.S. There are 843 wind-powered electric plants generating five percent of the nation’s electricity. It’s especially popular in the Great Plains where there is a reliable wind source.
Solar power works best in places that have continuous sunshine. That’s why many of the southwestern states rely on solar power, while 39 states have no solar generating plants. Even with 772 solar-powered electric plants in the U.S., solar power makes up only one percent of the nation’s electricity usage.
Oil’s popularity as a source for electricity has died out. With 1,098 oil-powered plants, it generates only one percent of the U.S.’s electricity.
The new Clean Power Plan’s goal is to cut carbon pollution, in turn reducing climate change. With more of the nation’s energy coming from renewable energy sources, the goal could be achievable. To learn more about conserving energy around the house and going green, visit Eco Electric’s website.
Converting partially to wind power for energy needs could help the drought situation in the United States. If a third of the nation’s electricity came from wind power by 2050, it would save about 260 billion gallons of water a year.
It could also help save large amounts of money in climate-change related costs and health costs. The extra wind power would decrease greenhouse gas emissions, saving $400 billion in climate change-related costs. Also, by eliminating smoke stacks and replacing them with wind turbines, it would cut $108 billion in pollution-related health care costs.
To reach the goal of 404 gigawatts generated in 48 states by their projected time of 2050, offshore wind power would need to expand. Currently, there is no offshore wind power, and to reach the goal, there would need to be 86 gigawatts generated by offshore wind power.
Not only would getting 35 percent of their energy from wind power help cut greenhouse gas emissions and save on electricity, it could help drought stricken regions. Alternative power sources have many other benefits besides being energy efficient.
Interested in going green at home or the office? Take a look at our tips for going green.
Energy has been a fundamental pillar in sustainability and environmental equality. This is particularly vital in alleviating poverty in rural communities. Beyond bringing electricity to limited communities, it promotes general well-being as well as it stimulates health in 3rd world countries. Being that approximately one quarter of the earth’s population (1.6 billion people globally) has no accessibility to electricity, individuals have to rely on kerosene sources to provide heat and light sources indoors; which result in almost 2 million deaths due to bad indoor air quality. With alternative sources in place of kerosene, like the SolarPuff lantern, widespread social, economic, and climate problems would cease to exist. Instead of families spending money on fuel sources, those resources can be spent on investing in quality of life, not just for one’s self but for family, as well as for following generations.
Currently, over two hundred renewable energy programs have been implemented in one hundred different countries to help developing economies. These programs will yield important milestones and will yield benefits for years to come. Unlike built economies, like those in Europe, 3rd world countries don’t have to worry about degradation of old systems in order to enact renewable sources in a slow transition. Those countries that don’t have electricity will be able to transition straight into sustainable sources, as it will be the only structure they know. But these programs are still in the developmental stages of building, and implementing them will take time. Once essential components come together, the world will gain a new era of life.