The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that fossil fuels like coal and oil meet approximately 82% of the country’s electricity demand. However, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), combustion of fossil fuels used to generate electricity can result in up to 38% of the country’s total CO2 emissions.
While coal is plentiful and relatively inexpensive, a recent report from The Institute for Energy Research cited the following as the leading challenges for the coal market:
- Increasingly stringent greenhouse gas regulations
- Environmental interest groups’ campaigns against coal
- Potential regulation of coal ash as hazardous waste (currently used to make)
However, renewable energy sources, such as wind, water, and solar, can offer benefits and may lessen the environmental impact (when compared to traditional fossil fuels). The EPA says that there are several potential benefits of renewable energy:
- Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution
- Diversification of the energy supply
- Reduction in foreign fuel dependence
- Creation of economic development and jobs
Over the long-term, finding ways to use green energy sources may help us continue to meet demand while finding ways to supplement energy produced by fossil fuels.