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The Student News Site of The American School in Japan

HANABI

The Student News Site of The American School in Japan

HANABI

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Arnab Karmokar: Vote Arnab, He’s on the Job

Arnab Karmokar: Vote Arnab, He’s on the Job

April 9, 2024

            One of the first words Arnab Karmokar (‘25) used to describe the role of student government was “fun.” A three year StuCo veteran,...

ASIJMUN IV Exclusive Report

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The Role of Music in the Ocarina of Time

The Role of Music in the Ocarina of Time

April 6, 2024

Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was one of the world's first video games to utilize 3D graphics. Yet perhaps its most iconic element is its soundtrack, which plays an integral role in...

Is Renewable Energy Completely Clean?

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Photo by Martin Pettitt
Reading Time: 2 minutes

As greenhouse gas emissions increase and global temperatures rise, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power have become more and more common, with greater stigma around the use of carbon emitting fossil fuels. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, “renewable energy is the fastest-growing energy source in the United States, increasing 42 percent from 2010 to 2020 (up 90 percent from 2000 to 2020).”​​

While renewable energy sources are much greener than fossil fuels like coal — which emits a whopping 1000 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated — they are not 100% clean. According to Forbes, wind turbines emit 11 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour and solar panels emit 44 grams per kilowatt-hour. These slight emission profiles are due to the materials involved in building wind turbines and solar panels.

In today’s world, almost everything is powered by fossil fuels, either directly or indirectly. Wind turbines are an example of an indirect relation. They require hundreds of materials to make, including steel, concrete, fiberglass, copper, aluminum, epoxy resin, and rarer metals like neodymium and dysprosium, all of which have a carbon footprint to manufacture. 

For example, the process of making steel involves burning metallurgical coal which is used to make coke, a fuel used in blast furnaces for steelmaking. According to Ember, a NPO focused on campaigning to reduce the use of coal, “The IEA [International Energy Association] estimates that mining of coking coal emitted 11.98 million tonnes of methane in 2021, equivalent to 988 megatonnes of CO2.”

Another example is concrete. According to Princeton University, concrete production makes up 8% of global CO2 emissions. It is clear from these statistics that the materials used to build wind turbines are not completely eco-friendly and have some carbon footprint. 

Wind turbines are still much better for the environment than fossil fuels, but they are not completely sustainable. However, if the world were solely powered by the wind, then wind power could be used to produce and manufacture the materials needed to build more turbines.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Because of this, it is important for the world to start making a shift toward relying completely on renewable energy sources. Earth is already in the midst of experiencing the effects of global warming, so it is important that everyone has a clear understanding of what needs to be changed in order to prevent further irreparable damage to the planet.

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About the Contributor
Mia Levin, Writer
Hi, I'm Mia and I am currently a junior. I love to write and to research different topics which is why I joined Hanabi. I hope you enjoy my articles!

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