Efforts for Efficient Energy

Renewable energy, the idea is so simple, but implementing it? Not so much.

If everyone had access to green energy they would most likely use it. The issue is that capturing renewable energy can be extremely expensive and even impossible to get in certain areas. Alaska is a sad example of this. Alaskans can expect to pay three times the average amount for electricity than the rest of the United States. The state has made it obvious that they are working very hard to get renewable energy to their people to help lessen the cost and lessen their dependency on fossil fuels.In an attempt to do this, the state is trying to harness geothermal energy. To generate geothermal energy you have to dig very deep into the ground in order to obtain heat from the Earth’s core. It is also possible to use the steam emitted from the Earth to move a turbine and create even more energy.

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Krafla Geothermal Station in Iceland

The unfortunate part is that Alaska only has a few areas capable of generating this sustainable energy. Sean Skaling, Alaska Energy Authority’s programs and evaluation director explained, “‘The trick with geothermal is just like any of the other resources,’ he said. ‘You have to find the resource, find it in abundance, make the energy cost effective, which also means it has to be close to a population base.'” With the majority of the population living in Anchorage, it will be near to impossible for the state to access this renewable energy source.

China is another place where those in charge are going to extreme lengths to use green energy. China is different in the way that they have plenty of access to obtain clean energy, but it seems that they are incapable of keeping up with their expanding population. It is clearly not because of lack of effort though. The New York Times reports that “more than $250 billion a year is expected to be poured into the construction of renewable energy production”. Despite China leading the world in solar, wind and other sustainable energy sources they still make up about half of the world’s coal usage. It is discouraging to know that despite all of their efforts “according to projections by the United States Energy Information Administration, annual emissions are expected to reach twice their 2009 levels by 2040.”

It is reassuring to know that so many places are going extremely out of their way to substitute fossil fuels with renewable energy. If there were more easily accessible ways to harness clean energy, the results could be so influential because if it were easy, then everyone would do it.

One thought on “Efforts for Efficient Energy

  1. Hey Kristen,
    Access to renewable energy is an issue that comes up quite often, and you bring up several new obstacles that I hadn’t thought of before. The issue that Alaskans face seems to stem from geographic luck, and geographic luck isn’t an uncommon environmental concept, but I hadn’t considered population proximity before. The aspects of geographic luck that I’m familiar with stems from biome parameters, but it’s important to remember that “luck” is a more humanitarian term and the people of those biomes are the ones judging that luck.
    The issue in China is one of population growth and the energy needs that everyone should have a right to. And even though I think that problem may be harder to solve, I appreciate that you highlight the silver lining that despite the difficulty to do so, it’s encouraging to see these places pursuing efficient, renewable energy despite all the difficulties that they come across.


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