Environmental protection: The visionary movement of green energy

But while green energy has been accepted as a much more environmentally friendly method of supplying power, the cost has been prohibitive until recently

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. April 5, 2017/ Troy Media/ – The green energy movement was the result of several converging factors. Environmental disasters made the world more aware of the devastating cost of using certain types of resources to feed the consumer need for power and the cost of that power rose sharply in response to the increasing demand. While green energy has been accepted as a much more environmentally friendly method of supplying power, the cost has been prohibitive until recently. Some innovations and products, such as the marine deep cycle battery, are making green energy more cost efficient.

Environmental disasters

There are different standards for determining the deadliest environmental disasters of the modern era. Regardless of which list one chooses, it is evident that some of the worst have been a direct result of civilization’s reliance on unsustainable practices. Three of the largest energy related environmental disasters were the London winter of 1952, the incident at Chernobyl in 1986, and the BP oil spill in 2010.

The winter of 1952 was especially frigid in London and the citizenry burned unusually large quantities of coal to stay warm. The soot pouring out of the chimneys mixed with emissions from power plants and factories to create a dense smog that blanketed the city for five days in December. The lack of wind reduced visibility to nearly zero, cars were abandoned and businesses closed because no one could see. Around 4,000 citizens died over the course of the five days due to respiratory complications and another 8,000 in the following weeks.

Virtually everyone on the planet is aware of the Chernobyl accident where 31 people died immediately. Recent studies indicate the final death toll was at least 4,000 people and tens of thousands of residents were removed because the area surrounding the nuclear power plant is too hazardous to safely support life. Estimates suggest it may be centuries before it is truly safe for people to move back.

The BP oil spill was the result of an explosion of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven workers were killed and many others injured. The subsequent oil spill released more than four million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and contaminated more than 43,000 square miles of water and 1,300 miles of beaches along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas. Considered the largest marine oil spill in history, the event decimated the wildlife in the area.

Traditional power sources such as coal, natural gas and oil, and even nuclear power have repeatedly proven to be potentially hazardous to the people using them and the environment. As they have also been the least expensive options, it has been historically difficult to generate public interest in developing alternative technologies but that is changing.

Innovations in green energy

The cost of these types of power generating fuels has made the risk of environmental disaster acceptable to governments. The risk for wind and solar power have been minimal but the cost of generating adequate supplies of power at a price that is affordable for individuals and corporations has been elusive. In part, this has been due to the difficulty of generating and storing power effectively for periods when it is neither windy nor sunny.

Wind turbines that can be installed like individual solar panels are promising solutions for home and business owners who want to generate their own electricity. Laws passed in several U.S. states over the past few years have made the installation of wind farms more feasible at larger scales which have helped to bring down the overall cost of creating electricity with this method.

In the field of solar energy, molten salt storage is one of the largest and most exciting innovations. It allows the heat collected during the day to continuously generate electricity, even when the sun isn’t visible to the collection array.

There are many exciting innovations being developed in the field of green energy. Microgrids appear to be poised to create a more resilient, low-emission, and efficient power grid for the future. New technologies are constantly emerging that are far more scalable than ever before. It is possible that within another decade the majority of our power sources will be from green energy.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by all Troy Media columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Troy Media.

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