Currently, energy saving is an elusive quest for the urban population in developed cities. Energy is needed in any aspect of running a household, being an earmark of convenience and modern life. The essential performance of any daily routine, both at home and in-office, requires energy. There are several ways to divide energy into different types, though the primary three end products are thermal energy, electricity, and transportation. Additionally, it might be divided accordingly to the economic sectors: industrial, residential, transportation, and commercial. Further consumption of energy sources tends to increase: for example, in the U.S., the forecasted percentage of consumption growth is over 7% against the background of the world’s 40% rate within the nearest two decades (“How we use,” n.d.). People got acquainted with relying on energy in cooling and heating their homes, moving freight, lighting office buildings, driving cars, and manufacturing the products.
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Current Situation in New Jersey
In terms of residential use of energy, it is needed to watch T.V., wash clothes, shower, light the home, cook, run appliances, and do other activities. Residential consumption accounts for around 40% of global overall energy use (“How we use,” n.d.). Notably, about 75% of N.J. households use natural gas as primary heating fuel, and approximately 15% use electric heat. Additionally, over 10% depend on petroleum, whereas the rest rely on other fuels (for instance, wood) or use no fuel (“Profile overview,” n.d.). Living in the New Jersey suburbs, I use natural gas to heat my home and electricity to cool it and run different appliances.
In New Jersey, the in-state electricity generates based on nuclear power and natural gas. In 2018, these two fuels “powered 94% of the utility-scale electricity generated in the state” (“Profile analysis,” 2019). Since 2015, over 50% of N.J.’s net energy generation was accounted for natural gas (“Profile analysis,” 2019). In September 2018, N.J.’s single-reactor nuclear Oyster Creek plant was shut down. The state’s legislature provided atomic power reactors wthe subsidies due to the zero emissions. The Governmentalancial support was needed to prevent the plants closure due to the competition with lower-cost natural gas-fired energy generation. During 2010-2018, “some coal-fired plants have converted to natural gas, which has contributed to an increase of more than 50% in natural gas-fired electricity generation” (“Profile analysis,” 2019). The primary energy source commonly used for transportation is gasoline.
Solar and Biomass Energy Sources
Solar energy is currently the most appropriate renewable energy source in N.J. state. In 2018, it was the country’s sixth-biggest producer of electricity from solar P.V. facilities, and, accordingly, over 70% of its electricity was generated from renewable solar power (“Profile analysis,” 2019). In the state’s renewable portfolio dated 2018, N.J. was required to produce over 20% of the electricity from renewable sources in 2021 and increase this rate by 35% and 50% in 2025 and 2030, respectively (“Profile analysis,” 2019). It is noteworthy that N.J. is the fourth-smallest land area state and, simultaneously, the leading distributor and consumer for petroleum products, particularly, to the northeastern U.S. among the top ten states. In fact, it has enough solar resources with zero fossil energy reserves.
Therefore, solar facilities generate around three-thirds of energy obtained from renewable resources in N.J. According to Trefil and Hazen (2016), solar energy (as well as wind) does not contribute to global warming. On the other hand, in 2018, nearly all the N.J.’s non-solar renewable electricity was generated utilizing biomass facilities. They primarily consisted of landfill gas and municipal solid waste (“Profile analysis,” 2019). It is the least appropriate for New Jersey renewable energy sources, especially compared to solar and wind offshore sources. Hence, NJ should focus on them and shift from biomass use.
Electricity and Gas Energy Sources: Pros and Cons
- they are already well-developed;
- they are relatively cheap.
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- contribution to global warming;
- inability to renew;
- the propensity for being incentivized;
- absence of safety to the environment.
Renewable Energy Sources: Pros and Cons
The advantages of solar energy are as follows:
- it will never run out;
- lower maintenance requirements;
- lower costs for the consumers in terms of maintenance and operation;
- environmental and health benefits;
- no reliance on imported sources of energy;
Nevertheless, there are also several disadvantages, including:
- increased upfront cost;
- expensive storage facilities;
- geographic limitations due to the diverse geography of the U.S. with varying topographies, climates, vegetation, and other peculiarities;
- needs lots of space;
- association with pollution.
In turn, biomass energy source derives from the waste produced by almost all industries, including forestry, agriculture, educational institutions, resorts and hotels, municipalities, correctional facilities and hospitals, sports venues, and many others. Waste is everywhere; therefore, is it an endless energy source. Nevertheless, it also has specific pros and cons. The advantages are:
- wide availability;
- carbon neutrality;
- ability to reduce the fossil fuels overreliance;
- lower cost (than fossil fuels);
- ability to reduce the garbage amount in landfills;
- manufacturers additional revenue source.
Although it seems almost the perfect energy source, there are still valid cons, including the following:
- lower efficiency in contradistinction to fossil fuel;
- it is not sufficiently clean;
- potentially lead to deforestation;
- requiring much space for biomass plants.
Hence, unlike solar renewable energy sources, it should be avoided due to particular threats posed to the environment.
The Future of Renewable Energy Sources
Many states throughout the country announced a goal to use zero-carbon energy, including N.J. The state claimed that it would achieve this aim by 2050 (“New Jersey’s,” n.d.). Moreover, it has developed an actual plan of making itself a 100% renewable energy state. Hence, NJ is a significant example for other U.S. states of shifting from high-sounding phrases to real working policy standards. All the states should follow N.J.’s policy declared in New Jersey Off Fossil Fuels Act (S1405/A1823) with its New Jersey’s policy timeline (“New Jersey’s,” n.d.). It is “the strongest climate bill in history and charts a path for New Jersey to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2035″ (“New Jersey’s,” n.d.). The use of fossil energy sources leads to the global temperature increase risks and, respectively, global climatic and ecological changes. The relevant threats include more violent droughts, storms, warming, and acidifying oceans, altered growing seasons, and floods.
The U.S. economy and life quality depend on sufficient amounts of energy, most of which are obtained utilizing fossil fuels. The last include natural gas, coal, and several liquid fuels (diesel, gasoline, heating oil) deriving from petroleum. Being not renewable, these fuels, at some point, would become increasingly costly and depleted. Moreover, they release air pollutants, acid rain precursors, various toxins, and carbon dioxide. In turn, renewable energy sources use is likely to result in positive public health and environmental benefits. Additionally, they can lessen the country’s dependence on foreign fuels, enforce the economy’s growth, protect the environment, and decrease energy costs.
Fact sheet: Achieving 100% clean energy in New Jersey. (2018). Food and Water Watch. Web.
How we use energy. (n.d.). The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine. 2020, Web.
New Jersey’s clean energy picture. (n.d.). State of New Jersey. 2020, Web.
Profile analysis. (2019). U.S. Energy Information Administration. Web.
Trefil, J., & Hazen, R., M. (2016). The sciences: An integrated approach (8th ed). Wiley.