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What are the pros and cons of renewable energy?

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Quick Answer

Renewable energy sources do not emit carbon emissions, and these energy sources provide jobs and benefits to economies, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. The disadvantages of renewable energy include high investment costs, and the energy output for certain renewable energy sources varies on location or weather. Renewable technologies are cost-competitive, but there are hidden costs that include displacement and environmental pollution.

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Full Answer

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland discusses biomass, a renewable energy source that is abundant and burns waste, but this energy source is costly and results in air pollution. Solar energy has an unlimited supply of energy, but its reliability depends on sunlight, and storage is necessary. Geothermal is another unlimited energy source that produces no pollution, but pipe corrosion is a problem. Geothermal power is not cost-effective.

Wind farms provide an income source to farmers, and the infrastructure is cheap to build. However, wind farms require plenty of land, and constant wind generation is necessary for sustainability. Wind farms have an effect on visual landscapes, and the noise generated by the turbines can be problematic. Hydroelectric power provides a safe source of energy, and it is easily stored in reservoirs; however, the energy can only be used if there is a water supply. There is the risk of people losing their homes in the event of flooding, and hydro-power creates water imbalances in the ecosystem.

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