What Should the Main Energy Source be in America?
Debate Rounds (5)
I thank Pro for this debate!
Since Pro did not provide a framework to this debate, I'm going to assume that I either
1. have to prove that America's main source of energy right now should come from a different source or different sources other than hydroelectricity
2. prove that hydroelectricity should not be America's main source of energy.
If I can fulfill either one of these, I win this debate.
I am defining "main energy source" as a something that provides more than 50% of a country's energy.
First, I want to refute some points brought up by Pro, then explain some different sources of electricity and energy that could benefit America more than hydroelectricity.
"...water is almost every where... "
I will assume that Pro means that water is almost everywhere in America. However, Pro is incorrect when he says this. In fact, many states have had water shortages since their rivers and lakes are drying up. For example, California has had major droughts in the past few years which spread to other sounthern states such as Texas. 
"In the places with no water and lots of sun then they can use solar panels..."
There are places where is not enough water for a dam for hydroelectricity and not enough sun exposure for an efficient and productive use of solar panels. Therefore this proposal is not a very good one.
Later, I will explain why having hydroelectricity as a main source of energy would negatively affect the environment and the citizens of America.
There are numerous options for energy in America that would be far better as having hydroelectricity as a main source of energy.
If America had to have 1 source acting as its main source of energy, nuclear energy would be a better option than hydroelectricity.
Combined Effort of Various Methods of Energy Production
If it is not necessary for the country to have only one source acting as its main energy producer, than I will argue that a combined system of solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, fossil fuel, and other new types of energy production, such as tidal power, would be more beneficial.
For example, each source of energy produces a certain percentage of the entire countries energy. Therefore, the country is not reliant on one source to provide most of the energy.
I will elaborate my arguments in the rounds to follow.
"There are places where is not enough water for a dam for hydroelectricity and not enough sun exposure for an efficient and productive use of solar panels. Therefore this proposal is not a very good one. "
Name a state that is like this. If the state has barely any water and is most likely a desert state then how is there not a lot of sun?
Also hydro power is the most important and widely-used renewable source of energy. I do not see how we would run out of water while we can run out of oil. I also think that nuclear power is the worst type of energy because you would use a lot of money to build the power plant and the smoke can poison the air. Do you really want the future of America's land to be used up by air poisoning factories?
I live in Washington and we have the Columbia River with over 400 dams on it. 400!!! My state could give electricity to half the country. And I'm sure that other states have dams that can be used to help other states. Another thing to consider is hydro-power does not just come from rivers, lakes, and dams, but can also come from rain water.
See you in Round #2.
Thank you Pro for this debate!
"hydroelectricity is still important to the Nation, as about 7 percent of total power is produced by hydroelectric plants."
To be realistic, 7% of the total energy produced is not that much. If all hydroelectricity available in the U.S only provides about 7% of the total energy, then how can you even suggest that it is possible to have this 7% suddenly become more than 50% of the country's energy production. In 2011, the total amount of kilowatthours consumed was nearly 4 billion.  If the hydroelectricity provided around 7% of this, that would be about 280 000 000 kilowatthours. In order for hydroelectricity to be the main source of electricity in the U.S. it would have to produce about 2 billion kilowatthours. All of a sudden, hydroelectricity has to produce 1, 720, 000, 000 more kilowatthours. That is an increase of about 614%. Realistically, that is not possible.
"My state could give electricity to half the country. And I'm sure that other states have dams that can be used to help other states."
First of all, you have no citation here so for all we know, you could be making these things up on the stuff. And if the dams in Washington could hypothetically supply the country with more enough electricity for half the population of the U.S, then how come they are not doing that already. I find it highly unlikely that this is possible. Pro already stated that hydroelectricity provides only 7% of the total amount of electricity in the U.S. The 400 dams in Washington state is included as part of this 7%. It is not logically possible for something that produces less than 7% of the total electricity to suddenly start producing more than 50% of a country's necessary electricity.
"I do not see how we would run out of water"
Well, I already brought up the point that the southern states such as California have had serious droughts for the past few years. This could be caused by numerous things, such as global warming and the overuse of water., but the reasons for the drought are not important to this debate. The fact that there are droughts in the U.S means that hydroelectricity cannot act as America's main source of electricity.
"Another thing to consider is hydro-power does not just come from rivers, lakes, and dams, but can also come from rain water."
I don't see how mentioning the various types of hydro-power is important. Even if rain water acted as a form of hydroelectricity, it still only supplies about 7% of the country's energy.
"Name a state that is like this. If the state has barely any water and is most likely a desert state then how is there not a lot of sun?"
Pro did not read my sentence carefully. I said " There are places where is not enough water for a dam for hydroelectricity and not enough sun exposure for an efficient and productive use of solar panels. " It is true that if a state does not have much water, it is probably a desert state. However, simply because it is a desert state does not mean that there is enough sun exposure for an efficient use of solar panels. Solar panels need lots of sunlight in order for it to produce and even close to useful amount of energy. The largest solar farm in America is the Agua Caliente Solar project. The cost was around 2 billion dollars. In return, 5, 200, 000 units were made operational. From April 2012 to December 2013, this farm alone made 1, 055, 120 Megawatts per hour.  But what does this number really mean as whole? Well I want to compare this with other sources such as nuclear plants. The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station is located in Arizona. It has three operational reactors, which together, produce around 30, 000 Gigawatts per hour.  Remember, one Gigawatt is equivalent to 1000 Megawatts. Thought the project cost around 5.9 billion dollars, the energy produced by this nuclear power facility is almost 30 times the amount produced by the largest solar farm in America.
"you would use a lot of money to build the power plant and the smoke can poison the air"
It is true that making nuclear power plants is expensive, but so is building dams for hydroelectricity. What has to be considered is the cost of building the facility relative to the energy that is produced. It is possible that one hydro-power dam is more efficient than one nuclear power plant, but as a whole, all of the nuclear plants in the U.S.A produces more energy than all of the hydro-plants.
It is true that there are some environmental risks with nuclear power, but there are many other environmental risks with hydroelectricity that are worse than those of nuclear power plants. A dam requires building a large reservoir of water as well. This causes a large loss of land and ruins aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in the area. Also, the reservoirs release large amounts of methane gas, a greenhouse gas that is much more potent than carbon dioxide. In fact, methane gas has an environmental impact that is 20 times greater than that of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.  Also, methane stays in the atmosphere longer than carbon dioxide.   Essentially, plant material that enter the reservoir decays. While it decays, it releases methane gas into the atmosphere. According to the World Commission on Dams report, when there is less than 100 watts per square metre of surface area for the reservoir and no clearing of forestry prior to the construction of the reservoir, it can produce more greenhouse gases than conventional thermal generation plants.  Building a reservoir also forces people to relocate their homes and families. In 2000, the World Commission on Dams report has also estimated that 40 to 80 million people have had to relocate due to the construction of dams. The final disadvantage of hydroelectricity is the risk of failure. Because large dams hold back millions of gallons of water, poor construction or bad management of the facility can cause the dam to break. Catastrophic flooding occurs and some incidents have led to thousands of deaths. For example, the Banqiao Dam failure in China killed an estimated 171, 000 people, displaced 11 million people. and caused the sudden loss of 18 Gigawatts of power. 
Alright, so now I'm going to elaborate my first point. I will explain my second point in the next round.
There are various ways that nuclear power plants work, but the basic concept is this. A nuclear reactor initiates a controlled nuclear chain reaction or nuclear fission. This reaction produces a large amount of energy in the form of heat. The heat evaporates water in the facility. The steam rises and turns a turbine, which in turn powers a generator. Then, the steam is captured and condenses back into the water. Then, the cycle restarts.
Advantages of Nuclear Energy for the Generation of Electricity
To begin, nuclear energy can be a method of mitigating greenhouse emissions from producing electricity. As you all know, the burning of fossil fuels releases lots of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as a by product. This has led to major concerns about global warming. Nuclear energy is being seriously considered as a substitute for fossil fuels. This method releases a very minimal amount of greenhouse gases or any other form of air pollution in general. So Pros statement about "smoke can poison the air" is quite false.  Nuclear energy does not involve burning any substances, which is the main method that greenhouse gases are emitted.
Nuclear power plants also play a key role in the preservation of aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Nuclear power plants take up much less space to operate compared to solar farms for example. To build the equivalent of 1000 Megawatt nuclear power plant, a solar farm would have to be larger than 35, 000 acres and a wind farm would have to be larger than 150, 000 acres or larger. 
Nuclear power also has many economic benefits. Nuclear energy is the second largest producer of energy in America, after coal. It provides more than 20% of the country's energy at a low cost that does not fluctuate too much. For example, the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant produces electricity at a cost of 1.33 cents per kilowatt-hour. This is significantly cheaper than coal and natural gas which have a cost of 2.26 cents per kilowatt-hour and 4.54 cents per kilowatt-hour respectively as of 2002. 
Again, I will elaborate my second point in the next round!
bijgreen forfeited this round.
Unfortuantely, Pro forfeited his thrid round. I will be the honorouble opponent and not post any new arguments or rebuttal. Looking forward to the next two rounds!
bijgreen forfeited this round.
Well then....Uhh...Hopefully Pro is back in the final round.
To give Pro a chance, I will only talk about my last point in a general context. Pro will be allowed to make new arguments and rebuttal in his last round.
Combined Effort of Various Methods of Energy Production
I believe that it would be best for America to have multiple methods for energy production rather than having one source providing more than 50% of the country's energy.
The problem with having a main source of energy is that the country becomes dependant on this source. If the something were to happen to it, then the country would be severely affected. Hydroelectricity has the great potential to fail due to the ongoing droughts in the U.S.A, especially in the south. Without a strong enough current, or a reservoir that is unfit for the dam, hydroelectricity would be rendered obsolete, making it an inefficient producer of electricity. If hydro provided most of the U.S.'s energy, then if something happened to a major hydro plant, thousands, maybe millions of people would not have access to electricity. Therefore, it is necessary to alternative sources of energy so that if one source fails, another source could be used instead.
Each source (solar, hydro, wind, nuclear, fossil fuels, etc.) should provide a certain percentage of the country's energy based on numerous factors, such as their output, the cost of facilitation, employees, land usage, etc. If all these factors are accounted for, the production of electricity will be very efficient and more reliable than if the U.S.A only used one source like hydroelectricity.
For example, let's say that the state of Arizona is using the energy produced from solar and wind as its' primary source (does not produce more than 50% of energy, but produces the most energy). If one day, there is not a lot of wind, or lots of clouds, Arizona can use the energy produced from nuclear, fossil fuels or hydro to ensure that the demand for electricity from consumers is always met.
But, if the solar and wind farms in Arizona produced more than 50% of its' electricity, a cloudy day or a day with no wind would be detrimental. The other sources would not be able to meet the demand since, combined, they produce less than 50% of the energy required and the people in Arizona would have a shortage of electricity. The state of Arizona would not be able to meet the demand of their citizens.
To briefly summarize my point: basically, if hydroelectricity is the main source of energy in the United States, aka producing more than 50% of its required electricity, then the U.S.A would have a dependency on hydroelectricity. Since they have a dependency, anything that hurts the production of electricity through hydro would have a large negative effect on its country. Therefore, it is best to use a combines system with multiple ways of producing energy since it is more efficient and more reliable.
Hope my opponent comes back next round!
bijgreen forfeited this round.
Vote Con for swagger!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by GodChoosesLife 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF. Con stuck out through all rounds, gave his arguments and used sources.
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