The Instigator
jakemg
Pro (for)
Winning
1 Points
The Contender
rikomalpense
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

renewable energy is the best solution for energy worldwide.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
jakemg
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/13/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 848 times Debate No: 66973
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

jakemg

Pro

The first argument is for a short definition on what you are supporting.
Renewable energy is defined as "energy that comes from resources which are naturally replenished on a human timescale such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat."[1]
The four of these sources (rain, tide, and wave fall under hydro energy) together can power the globe cleanly.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org...
rikomalpense

Con

By 'best solution', I presume that you argue that it can provide the energy non-renewable sources currently provide, without the negative environmental effects or the fear of it running out.

I support the use of renewable energy where possible, but believe that it is currently nonviable. Thus, I support the use of nuclear power and fossil fuels to provide our energy.
Debate Round No. 1
jakemg

Pro

The World Bank estimates that 1.2 billion people in the world do not have any access to modern energy, and that 2.8 billion people only have access to fireplace cook stoves. [1] Today"s current methods of energy production are failing to provide power to 4/7ths of the world. Renewable energy is the only long term sustainable solution to power this planet. We live on a finite planet. There are very few sources of energy that regenerate and even fewer that regenerate at a sustainable rate. By that standard, renewable energy such as wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro is the only logical way to produce energy for as long as we inhabit the planet.

Any one source of renewable energy is not the solution, but using each source in the best locations available for the specific needs of the source, and using them in the most efficient manner is a way that we can improve the global energy infrastructure. All these sources have factors that are the most effective for the performance of the source. Wind power needs area"s that are flat and have a lot of wind like the great planes or a few miles of the coast. Solar performs best in areas with no weather and a lot of sun like a desert, and deserts are also not very good for supporting life. Geothermal is most applicable at fault lines were tectonic plates meet because the distance to the heat is more shallow there. Hydro power has many forms apart from dams like wave, tidal, and ocean current. There is also a form called ocean thermal that uses the difference in water temperature to heat and cool liquid and spin a turbine. The largest argument against renewable is that they are not efficient enough but the truth is that we don"t apply them efficiently enough. A 2006 study by MIT reported that geothermal could power the entire world with improving technology [2] and a 2005 study by Stanford calculated that it would take 20% of the wind power available to power the entire world. [3] Using these sources together is the only way to power the world and prevent further pollution of the planet. We have the technological ability and that should become our reality.

Since the industrial revolution our planet has increased in temperature and amount of CO2 at a rate much faster than natural. The EPA has all the information to support that statement. [4] It"s the use of conventional and outdated systems that are the main factor of this climate change. Sources like oil and coal are no longer necessary to provide energy to our planet and are logically and scientifically unsustainable. They continually consume resources and destroy our planet. These industries are even fighting against the technologies will save us. Oil and gas have spent record amounts to lobby against renewables. [5] Finally the nuclear industry might cause the most amount of danger to our actual public health. It"s fact that nuclear power plants emit radiation into the environment and into the water sources that people use every day. This must be regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. [6] Nuclear power has the danger of accidents like the tsunami that hit Fukushima Japan in 2011 that caused damage to the reactor and nuclear radiation was emitted into the atmosphere. [7]

There are too many dangers with nuclear energy and conventional sources are too damaging to our environment. Renewable energy can provide energy to the entire planet and is the safest and most sustainable option

[1]http://www.worldbank.org...
[2]http://mitei.mit.edu...
[3]http://web.stanford.edu...
[4]http://www.epa.gov...
[5]http://www.nytimes.com...
[6]http://www.nrc.gov...
[7]http://www.world-nuclear.org...
rikomalpense

Con

rikomalpense forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
jakemg

Pro

Apart from large scale energy production, conventional sources are far less viable for small scale use than renewable energy. Burning oil or coal at a household level would not be efficient do to transporting resources to all the houses needed and the number of machines and size taken up by them. It would also be damaging to the health of the family inside of the house. Another factor is the complexity of the machines could result in dangerous accidents. This is especially true with nuclear power. The intrinsic danger is far too strong to be considered for personal use. The only small scale energy production is propane which is not suitable to power a house continuously [1]; however, all sources of renewable energy have small scale options.
Renewable energy has the ability to provide clean energy on a small scale level and can provide energy to those living in underdeveloped areas of the world. small scale energy production can be used along side large scale renewable energy to provide energy any area on the planet.[2] The use of small scale energy production requires no resources apart from those that are required for the product itself. Geothermal heat pumps, solar panels, wind turbines, and hydro power provide a diverse range of options to suit any situation. [2][3]
small scale renewable energy allows to fill any gapes in energy production that currently are not being met and are causing a large amount of underdeveloped regions.[4] Independent energy production is a key to creating a more equal and advanced civilization.
[1] http://www.popularmechanics.com...
[2]http://energy.gov...
[3]http://energy.gov...
[4]http://www.worldbank.org...
rikomalpense

Con

Environmental effects of non-renewable sources

I do not contend against the fact that coal and oil have contributed to global warming and cause pollution, as it is true. However, I do contend that nuclear energy is not as harmful as Pro has claimed, and that so-called "renewable" energy can be environmentally unfriendly as well.

Various companies in the solar panel industry have created tens of millions of pounds of hazardous waste from creating solar panels [1]. Geothermal energy produces CO2 emissions as well [1]. All renewable sources have effects on nearby wildlife, such as wind turbines killing birds and dams destroying wildlife reserves [1].

I do not claim these environmental effects are worse than those of oil and coal, however, it should be considered that renewable sources are not perfect either.

It is true that people in nuclear plants are exposed to radiation. What is failed to be taken in account, however, is the fact that a minimum of 100.00 mSv of radiation is required for there to be an observable increase in cancer. Even then, an exposure to 1000.00 mSv of radiation was necessary before it was observed that 5% of people contracted cancer in later years [2]. Even the radiation around Fukushima was only around 400.00 mSv- a normal nuclear plant will not be harmful. It is true that accidents can happen, but in general all are the result of poor design and maintenance, which can be easily mitigated by proper caution. In the past sixty years, there's only been around thirty accidents, and most of them were low on the lower half of the nuclear accident scale [3].

The waste from nuclear plants is an issue, but can be mitigated by a shift to thorium plants, that produce less hazardous waste, and its hazardous waste cannot be use to forge weapons [4].

Viability of renewable sources

All renewable sources are very location specific, in particular geothermal and hyrdro- a relatively small number of sites around the world have the potential to provide energy of that form. Nowhere in the study Pro cites about geothermal energy is it claimed that geothermal energy could power the world- only that it could provide some amount of energy. In fact, for example, looking at a geothermal resource map of the US, it can be seen that only the West Coast in general can easily host geothermal plants [5].

Solar power is also harmful to existing electrical grids, overloading them due to overproduction during daytime [6]. And during nighttime, when electricity is most needed, solar power is unavailable, due to the fact that it has not been possible to create an economically-viable, efficient battery to store solar energy- salt-based storage only has less than 20% efficiency [7], The same problem lies with wind power, which is just as difficult to store on a large scale. There are certainly other batteries available, but they are terrible expensive (around $1000/kWh, when the average fridge uses 5 kWh a day for comparison) [8]. Even if a economically-viable, efficient storage system was created, however, its very existence would mean that "renewable" energy would be reliant on environmentally-unfriendly non-renewable substances. The biggest problem with solar and wind is storing it.

On an economic level, renewable sources of energy are generally non-viable compared to non-renewable sources, as non-renewable sources often provide much more energy for a lower cost [9].

Thus in all, at the moment, renewable sources are unfortunately non-viable as a replacement for non-renewable sources.

Thanks for having me. Back to you now.

[1] http://www.ucsusa.org...
[2] http://www.theguardian.com...
[3] http://www.theguardian.com...
[4] http://www.economist.com...
[5]http://www.nrel.gov...
[6] http://www.theaustralian.com.au...
[7] http://solarenergyengineering.asmedigitalcollection.asme.org...
[8] http://www.businessinsider.com...
[9] http://www.forbes.com...
Debate Round No. 3
jakemg

Pro

This topic of debate is crucially important. Especially today when we are reaching the point of when we need to permanently make this decision and it"s important that you have the facts. Before I begin my conclusion I"m going make rebuttals to cons arguments because there are important flaws that need to be addressed. Con tried to show that nuclear was a safe source of energy, but she gave information that proved that it is not. Con stated that it would require 100 mSv of radiation to have an observable increase in cancer then moments later said that the Fukushima disaster was 400 mSv. By her information the Fukushima disaster was four times more powerful than what was necessary to increase cancer, and as nuclear power plants continue to increase in size (and they will to power our growing population) they will be more dangerous. There is no way to eliminate all risk of a disaster, and if an event of up to 1000 mSv ever occurred then five out of every one hundred people would contract cancer. Let"s take the city of New York with a population of 8,405,837 people. [1] If a disaster of this size happened there then 420,291 people would contract today"s second deadliest disease. [2] The only solution con proposed was to make safer plants. It"s just frankly simplistic to say that we are just going to tell people to be careful. That does not solve the problem we have here. There is no way to eliminate the dangers that come with nuclear energy. Not today. There are plenty of unproven technologies that may make it safer, but not without a large amount of cost and time. These are the risk of nuclear energy and they are too great to use this as are primary energy source.

The second part of my rebuttal is about cons statements on renewable. I need to point out that here main source of information is a site called union of concerned scientist. This is a site that hand over fist is in favor of renewable energy. These are scientist and they know the facts. Cons information is good but she is interpreting it to the reader improperly. Nowhere in the site does it say that "tens of millions of pounds of hazardous waste" was created by solar panels; however, if you examine the page from this site about the environmental effects of solar panels it will tell you that the waste is of chemicals used to treat the solar panels, and there chemicals that can be disposed of in an environmentally responsible way. I question how well con read this site because it also states that geothermal emits SO2. Not CO2 like con stated. Geothermal energy emits SO2 at a rate thirty times less than coal does. There is no world were renewable energy do more damage to the environment than conventional energy.

Lastly I feel I need to explain that the four sources of renewable energy must be used together and not separately. Cons largest claim against renewable energy was that the batteries necessary for when the sources were not producing energy were insufficient. Hydro and geothermal produce energy twenty four hours a day. Solar and wind will be used were best and all the sources will be connected providing power to the world continuously. This eliminates the need for any energy storage. That"s the ideal and it"s what we are technologically capable of.

Before my conclusion I must make clear that con argued against my resources of the MIT study that found that geothermal energy could theoretically power the world. The caption bellow is from the synopsis of the paper

We have estimated the total EGS resource base to be more than 13 million exajoules (EJ). Using reasonable assumptions regarding how heat would be mined from stimulated EGS reservoirs, we also estimated the extractable portion to exceed 200,000 EJ or about 2,000 times the annual consumption of primary energy in the United States in 2005. With technology improvements, the economically extractable amount of useful energy could increase by a factor of 10 or more, thus making EGS sustainable for centuries.

We live on a finite planet and renewable energy is the only way to a sustainable future. Managing our resources is imperative to continued advancement and improved public health. Renewable energy provides a safe and clean solution to the seven billion people that live on this planet. The trend of the last one hundred years is not working today and they will not work two hundred years from now when they have exhausted all of our resources. Today every life support system on the planet is in decline and the only way to reverse this is to use our scientific knowledge and find solutions that are sustainable and effective. [3] Renewable energy is one of the main ways that we can be able to continue to live on this planet and begin to prosper as a society.

[1] http://www.cdc.gov...
[2] http://blogs.wsj.com...
[3] http://consensusforaction.stanford.edu...
rikomalpense

Con

Before stating my conclusion, I will first make rebuttals. I did not claim that nuclear was a safe source of energy- no source of energy is completely safe. The only point I wished to raise was that the danger of nuclear power is often overstated. Yes, of course Fukushima was dangerous, but as mentioned at least 1000.00 msV of dosage is necessary to even " cause a fatal cancer many years later in 5% of people". Still harmful, but not nearly as much as one might think- and this was a Level 5 nuclear disaster. Most are much less severe. As humans, we willingly take risks, as long as we believe the benefits outweigh them. Pro claims that as nuclear power plants increase in number, the number of accidents will as well, but the opposite can also be just as easily claimed. As we advance as a society and look to our past to learn what to do to stop accidents, could it not be suggested that the number of accidents will decrease, despite increasing numbers of nuclear reactors? There are certainly risks involved with nuclear energy, but the benefits: the cheaper costs for more electricity compared with other sources: certainly appear to outweigh them.

I apologize for not linking directly to the source that stated that solar panel production has led to the production of tens of millions of pounds of waste, as I was attempting to not bloat my sources list. Clicking through a link on the source I provided leads to [1], stating "The state records show the 17 companies, which had 44 manufacturing facilities in California, produced 46.5 million pounds of sludge and contaminated water from 2007 through the first half of 2011."

And again, as mentioned, I brought up the environmental effects of renewable sources not to claim that they are worse than non-renewable sources, but simply to point out that no source is perfect. And so the question is always whether the disadvantages outweigh the advantages in all ways, not whether one causes environmental damage or not.

Pro failed to rebut the points made that all renewable sources limited geographically, and that they are too limited in production (for wind and solar) to be successfully utilized globally. Pro also failed to rebut the points about the economic unviability of renewable sources, which is an important factor in deciding the "best solution", given that economic considerations are an important part of the motivations of both the government and individual persons.

As well, the MIT study cited does not state that "geothermal could power the entire world", as Pro claimed, but that the possibly extractable portion was about 2 000 times the annual consumption of primary energy in the United States. America is not the world. Putting that aside, the study does not take in account the issues involved with transporting that energy across the continent, as since geothermal energy is geographically limited, not every location would have access to it. This transport would likely require the use of fossil fuels, which could lead to it being unviable in locations far from a EGS reservoir.

Certainly, money should be invested in renewable sources of energy. If in the future, say, efficient batteries for wind and solar power were created, renewable sources could become the best solution for energy in this world. But at the moment, with so many countries across the globe terribly poor, and the remainder much too stingy with their money, renewable sources of energy are not economically viable. Even putting aside economic considerations, our technology has not advanced to the point to allow us to replace non-renewable sources with renewable sources completely. In this way, renewable sources quite simply cannot be the best solution for energy world-wide.

[1] http://business.financialpost.com...
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by jakemg 2 years ago
jakemg
are you still interested in debating
Posted by rikomalpense 2 years ago
rikomalpense
I apologize for the forfeit, I got too stressed over schoolwork and lost track of time.
Posted by Commondebator 2 years ago
Commondebator
I would debate you. . .

But let me get a little more educated about the Pros and Cons about this topic, resulting in a more fruitful debate.

(Im just going to do a little more research to see wether if I actually want to debate this or not)
Posted by jakemg 2 years ago
jakemg
2nd and 3rd round are for debate. 4th and final round is for closer.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by BLAHthedebator 2 years ago
BLAHthedebator
jakemgrikomalpenseTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: FF