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Kamie Young
Carol Sieverts
English 1010
April 15 2015
The Future Energy Leader: Not If But When
The need for renewable energy is growing as the years pass by and we are beginning to
look for new ways to harness energy. Some of the biggest energy sources are the sun, wind,
nuclear and water. Solar and wind are fast growing industries that have many incentives and
benefits that make it a popular choice. These two industries enable people to protect the
environment and save money at the same time. Switching to renewable energy residentially can
be fun for families and communities teaching people better ways to care for the environment and
themselves.
Holly Copeland in Wyoming incorporated solar panels into her home changing her social
life, bringing her family together for fun activities and projects. Her 7 year old even made a
science project out of it; she was trying to see if solar panels absorbed energy from the moon,
they do. Copeland and her family are working together to get their home to net zero usage,
turning solar into a game that has brought her family closer together(Copeland).
What is The Debate?
The question over how much longer we will have non-renewable energy like coal and oil
is widely debated. Some say we have over a century left and others say we only have a few
decades, the problem is that nobody can know for sure. According to the U.S. Energy
Information Administration, It is impossible to know exactly how much coal exists in the

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United States, The only thing we can do in order to find out how much coal is left is
predict(How Much Coal is Left).
Can We Create More?
At some point we will run out of coal and oil because we cannot create more of it, thus
the title non-renewable energy. Coal was created by trees and plants dying some millions of
years ago, creating a thick layer of dead organisms. Before it could decay water and mud came in
and covered the dead plants. This stopped the decay process and held them in a solid form
enabling crystallization. So the answer is no we cannot, unless we would like to create more for
other generations millions of years from now(Kentucky Coal Education).
So What Can We Do?
With growing technology we have found some amazing ways to gain energy from
resources like solar, wind, nuclear, and water. Many have seen or heard about solar panels and
wind turbines, and we have used the power of water for over a century with dams. There is also
nuclear that developed in the 70s but it has many faults that make it debatable if it is a green
energy(Maehlum). All of these energies have the potential to replace our coal and oil intake and
they offer no emissions classifying
them as good for the environment
or green energy.
In the state of Utah, Rocky
Mountain Power has a rebate
program where you gain $0.70$1.15 per watt of solar panel
installed. They even have

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incentives for using energy smart light bulbs, appliances, and other home improvements. There is
also a tax credit of 25% for the state and %30 from the federal government(Solar Simplified). On
average a normal household with solar panels is able to save over $400 dollars on their first year
and the savings only increase from there. Solar panels also increase the value of your home
which is useful in a struggling economy.
How Do They Impact The Environment?
They dont offer any CO2 emissions but they do have other side effects that we should
think about like the location. All of these renewable energy resources have a consequence on the
environment, but with careful planning we can reduce the danger. Wind turbines affect the earth
they sit on minimally but they have a large effect on birds so placing a farm of turbines near an
endangered bird conservatory isnt the best option. Thanks to American Wind Wildlife Institute
(AWWI) we now have a Landscape Assessment Tool to assist us in find the perfect place for the
energy farms(Trabish).
Solar panels are amazing in that they can go on almost any home and have great financial
benefits to them. Between their unchanging prices and government and state grants, they are
cheap and easy to put together. In a recent study by Gabrielle Arcangeli, a graduate student at
New York University's Center for Global Affairs, she wrote about South Africa and its growing
poverty and unemployment stating, Solar power has the potential to drastically change its
energy landscape. According to the South African Department of Energy, the country is one of
the most abundant places for solar energy in the world. This shows that renewable energy has
great good that can bring even the undeveloped world full circle.
Nuclear energy is the powerhouse. We gain energy by the splitting of an atom that gives
more energy than a hundred atomic bombs going off at once. This is a powerful energy source

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with one fault which rules it out in most peoples books. They have the potential for a nuclear
meltdown if not monitored properly. This has been known to cause radiation and water
poisoning. They also cost over 4 billion dollars to build and in the case of Japans nuclear power
plant crisis in 2011, the clean-up can cost a whole lot more.
Water energy or hydropower has been a part of history for years; an example is the
Hoover Dam. While yes, on a large scale it can completely alter wildlife there are other
alternatives. Renewable Energy World comes at this problem by putting a different perspective to
it saying, Hydroelectric power doesn't necessarily require a large dam. Some hydroelectric
power plants just use a small canal to channel the river water through a turbine. This can have
little impact on the environment.
What Will Your Footprint Look Like?
Going green gives us the inspiration to take what
we put out into the world into our own hands and see
that we are creating a difference even if its just the
money in our pockets, just ask Holly Copeland and her
family. The fact is we no longer have a choice whether
we will switch over to renewable energy or not, its a
matter of when. Making the switch earlier where it is
easiest will make it easier for the transition in the long run. Switching everyday homes to solar
power and having big business invest in the same will save coal and oil for future generations.

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Works Cited
Copeland, Holly. Going Solar and Net-Zero: The 21st Century Family Home Project.
Renewable Energy World. 26 February 2015. Web. 15 April 2015.
How Much Coal Is Left. U.S. Energy Information Administration. 16 April 2015. Web.
17 April 2015.
Kentucky Coal Education How Is Coal Formed. Mining Internet Services Inc. n.d. Web.
17 April 2015.
Maehlum, Mathias Aarre. Nuclear Energy Pros and Cons. Energy Informative. 3 May 2015.
Web. 17 April 2015.
Trabish, Herman K. Where Is The Best Place To Put A Wind Farm? GreenTech Media.
6 October 2011. Web. 17 April 2015.
Hydropower. Renewable Energy World. n.d. Web. 17 April 2015.
Solar Simplified. (SS) Utah Solar Incentive Program. Rocky Mountain Power. n.d. Web.
17 April 2015.
Solar Incentives In Utah. Utah Clean Energy. Web. 17 April 2015.