Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Why Wind Power Should Replace Fracking for U. S. Energy Independance

Wind Power Energy Production vs. Fracking
Fracking has been embraced by the U. S. government as a means to increase domestic energy independence, but the aggressive of fracking for energy production plan will leave energy producers grasping at straws in the near future. Energy policy in the U. S. continues to favor oil & gas, coal, and other environmentally suicidal methods of energy production due in large part to political and/or financial conflicts of interest among top decision makers. Fracking is a short term solution for a long-term problem; the adoption of wind power energy production on a mass scale is a logical solution for U. S. energy independence with long term environmental, employment, and fiscal benefits.
American Engineers Pioneer Renewable Energy Innvoations, Why Don't We Use Them?
U. S. engineers have pioneered renewable energy innovations that have led a massive movement towards green energy mandates in the every developed country but our own. Advancements in wind turbines and solar energy products are home-grown, yet we export most of the technology instead of using it in our own back yard. If this trend continues the U. S. is poised to be at the mercy of not only OPEC, but also China who have systematically continued to buy exported U. S. wind turbine technology and replicate it. Then they’re selling these products cheaper, and of sub-standard quality as any copy-cat product usually is. Instead of investing so much time and money in fracking projects that desperately scrape out small deposits of oil with another precious commodity (water), the U. S. should focus more on fostering domestic renewable energy innovations like direct drive wind turbines and solar energy refinement.
Wind power is now considered the fastest-growing energy resource in the world, and the state of Texas has become the largest producer in the United States. The wind power industry and the entire renewable energy industry as a whole face continuing opposition despite the greater opportunity cost of investing in sustainable energy production. Wind cannot be bottled, embargoed, bunkered, or price-fixed. Yet fracking still seems a better alternative to the powers that be.
Wind Power is Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly: Fracking is for the Birds
Another obvious advantage of wind power energy production is its minimal
environmental impact. Since wind energy is a clean fuel source, it does not emit harmful greenhouse gases or cause acid rain. Wind power is also dependable, and when supplemented with other forms of renewable energy for inter-grid connection provides a stable, constant energy source regardless of geographic location or wind speeds. The recent development of flying wind turbines highlights the advancement of technology in the wind industry despite insufficient governmental support. These airborne turbines take flight and position themselves to the optimum altitude and sensors adjust blade speed and direction to harness the most energy possible.
Wind is produced from the heat of the sun, with wind speed varying in strength due to changes in air pressure. Although wind speeds can never be predicted with 100% accuracy, as long as the sun continues to shine down on planet Earth wind energy can power the masses.
The U.S. Department of Energy explains the positive effects of a 20 percent increase in wind energy by 2030. Their researchers discovered we would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7,600 million tons of CO2. And rather than consuming large amounts of water for fracking, we would actually save four trillion gallons of water by using wind power. Additionally, to reach this 20 percent increase, over 30,000 manufacturing jobs would have be created. Landowners would also reap the benefits, since energy companies would need to rent space to build and operate the turbines. Specifically, these lease payments could generate more than $600 million in profit. While many other countries have created mandates to become 100% renewable by 2013 (and some already are), the DOE’s study highlighting the benefits of a partial switch are encouraging although grossly disproportionate to global renewable energy adoption.
Wind power becomes especially appealing when compared to the alternative process known as “fracking”. While fracking technology continues to develop, there are many disadvantages and risks involved in the extraction process. First, local groundwater may become contaminated with harmful chemicals. Second, tremendous amounts of water continue to be wasted in order to complete the drilling process. Underground reservoirs and springs critical to the survival of small communities across the country are facing depletion as frackers suck their wells dry. A simple cost-benefit analysis taking into account the local environment as well as the short-term financial gain yields obvious results: fracking is just not worth it.
Fracking Permanently Depletes Precious Natural Resource but Yields Short-Term Beneifts
Specifically, the Natural Resources Defense Council found that fracking has resulted in polluted drinking water in Arkansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming, where residents have reported changes in water quality or quantity following fracturing operations. While our country continues to search for ways to create energy more efficiently and economically, risking unclean drinking water is not an acceptable option for Americans.
As the nation’s leader in wind energy—creating three times as much wind energy as the number two state, Iowa—experts report that West Texas is ideal for wind production. According to State Impact, Texas winds produced 12.1 percent of the state’s energy in April 2010. While research shows that the highest wind gusts are found in West Texas, these speeds may eventually be surpassed if turbines are built in the Gulf of Mexico. Wind energy adoption on a mass scale in Texas could increase its energy independence dramatically, but with heavy oil & gas influence in the lone star state it’s unlikely.
Realistic Energy Independance Policies Include Wind Power
American energy policies are outdated and in serious need of reform if energy independence is to be achieved within a reasonable time frame. While fracking does indeed save money and increase energy domestic energy production, it is not a sustainable energy source and the well will run dry eventually. The long-term affects on residents living near fracking production sites is not a reasonable compromise for corporate profits, nor is it a government’s place to make that decision. Although the DOE is heavily influenced by political interest parties with ties to the oil & gas and coal industries, energy reform is at the forefront of political debate for a reason. Nobody knows the perfect mix of energy production methods that will lead to U.S. energy independence, but incentivizing green energy usage, production, and technology is a step in the right direction. Wind power energy production can and should replace fracking projects in the U. S. and across the globe.