Update from NYT:
“It is the latest chapter in a closely watched battle that has put this state at the forefront of a global upheaval in the power business. Rooftop systems now sit atop roughly 12 percent of Hawaii’s homes, according to the federal Energy Information Administration, by far the highest proportion in the nation.”
(To sum it up, Hawaii is going in the right direction, but change is hard and there are quite a few challenges with switching to solar. I’d say it’s a good problem to have.)
The conversation regarding best energy practices is always fluttering out of the lips of the United States citizens.
With the nation’s declining reliance on purchasing oil from foreign countries, there remains a flux in which energy method is best for the U.S. to stand behind, regarding national security. Due to cutting edge technological developments, there has been increased importance put into fracking and good growth predictions for U.S. oil production.
However, growth rates and costs related to fracking are simply unsustainable.
This begs the question of what else may establish itself as a sustainable energy solution, regarding our nation’s energy security. One look into the sky on a bright, clear day could be the definitive answer to that question.
Solar energy is a truly renewable energy source that could very well act as our nation’s greatest security asset. However, before the victor is crowned in the race towards national energy security, both options must be brushed over with a fine-toothed comb.
Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth using water to extract natural gas from shale rocks, and it has recently seen increasing prominence in our nation’s energy practice. While fracking does possess some inherit positives (economic gains, advancements in energy independence and natural gasses emitting less carbon dioxide), there are several controversial downsides as well.
The first problem with using fracking, in an effort to reshape our national security, are the significant environmental impacts it presents. The fracking process uses hundreds of billions of gallons of water each year, and this staggering quantity has raised big questions regarding our aquatic resources and the dewatering of drinking aquifers.
Water use is coupled with the environmental contamination, experienced by fracking area site residents. Fracking can lead to massive amounts of pollution in the air, groundwater and soil. While protocol exists to remove the majority of these chemicals, once the fracking process is complete, the evidence that contamination still occurs is undeniable.
In many ways the antitheses to fracking, solar power, has definitive potential to become the new go-to solution for energy concerns. Without a finite commodity to affect demand and put our national security into greater upheaval, the conversation regarding solar energy is finally beginning to edge past a simple “what if?”
Having solar power as the norm instead of an alternative would benefit the nation in many ways.
Fracking has been implemented, because it does serve the purpose of lessening our grip on traditional fossil fuels, and the means in which we get them, but solar power can solve that problem—as well as a slew of others.
The main drawback to adopting solar power, according to public perception, is simply the cost and uncertainty surrounding this still-new energy alternative.
However, prices of solar power installation are steadily declining, on a yearly basis. Additionally, while an upfront cost may prove initially excessive, the pros to solar power are too prevalent to ignore.
A few benefits os solar energy include:
A massive uptick in energy independence in the long-term.
A reduction in the cost of national defense.
It’s a renewable energy source as opposed to natural gas and fossil fuel.
It has no detrimental environmental after-effects.
While solar power still seems to be a ways off from being in the mainstream lexicon, the more people that adopt it and advocate for it, the more quickly this could happen.
Using solar energy would undeniably further protect our nation—and our world as a whole.
Author: Terri Engels
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock