Examining Your Community’s Source of Energy
It is easy to criticize society for not using renewable resources, but in reality, how difficult would this transition be? What processes and procedures would be involved? How would such a transition be made?
The purpose of this assignment is for you to consider what type of energy your neighborhood is currently powered by and what it would really take to convert this source to a renewable one. How much would it take to switch your community to a renewable resource and what would this mean for the environment?
For the assignment, complete the following:
Identify three primary types of energy that powers your home as well as all of the homes in your community. You may find this information on your community Web site or the Web sites of the local power companies. For example, your community may use electricity and solar panels.
Explain how the sources of energy you identified impact the environment. Consider the following:
Does the use of these types of energy resource have a negative impact on the environment in your area?
Does your community have nuclear waste to dispose of?
Has your community always used these three power sources? If so, how do you feel this has impacted the environment over time?
How much of an impact have these sources of energy had on local air and water quality?
Considering the current source(s) of power available, determine how much energy your house uses each month. You can find this information on your monthly energy bill.
Calculate your annual usage for a year. Using this value, estimate the energy consumption for your community. The US Census Bureau is one resource you can use to estimate the number of households in your community.
You can use the following formulae for this calculation:
(monthly energy usage) × (12 months per year) = (household energy usage per year);
(yearly energy estimate for your house) × (estimated number of houses in your community) = (estimated yearly energy use for your community)
The following is an example of the above calculation:
52.8 kilowatt hours (kwh) per month × 12 months = 633.6 kwh;
633.6 kwh × 200 houses in your community = 126,720 kwh
Recommend a realistic, renewable resource to power your community, using your calculated power needs. Consider the following sources: hydropower, solar power, wind turbines, and geothermal energy.
Which source would be the best for your community?
Justify your choice based on the kind of resources that are available, how much power these alternative sources can produce, and your estimated energy demands for the community.
Having recommended an alternative power source, conclude by addressing the following:
How realistic is this alternative power source for your community?
How will people in your community respond to energy conversion? Will they support it or be against it? Give reasons.
How expensive would it be to convert to the alternative power source you recommended? How would this new source impact the environment?
What organisms would benefit most from this conversion?
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