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The Energy Policy and Hydroelectric Power

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The Energy Policy was created from lessons learning in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s on issues we had to recover from that causes great economic struggles for the US in those years. The US learned from those issues and created an Energy policy that should help to elevate issues like the ones they had in the past. The US put in place energy efficiency standards, regulation on gas and oil pricing. They supported the growth of power grids and integrated those grids to also support renewable energy. 

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In the 20th and 21st centuries the governments goals when it came to the energy policy was to keep the supply of energy flowing, try and keep the cost down to meet the needs of the economy, and lastly to try and protect the environment at the same time we are producing and using energy.

In 1973 certain member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries put a ban on petroleum going to the United States and other countries that supported their enemy during war time. The ban ended a year later when the United States met with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to discuss the ban.

In 1975 the Energy Policy and Conservation Act because of the ban of 1973 and issues it cause to the United States economy.Because fuel pricing was ever waving in 20th century in 1978 the first standards for fuel economy was created for passenger vehicle.In 1981 Crude oil price control was ended by President Ronald Reagan using the regulation under the 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act.In the 1990 the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries works to steady the oil pricing by producing more oil. (Historical)In the early 2000’s some area of the United States were experiencing energy blackouts. This was caused from the high demand for energy and not enough power line to supply the demand.In 2005 the Energy Policy Act was created. The energy policy created energy related tax incentives. The policy also created renewable fuel standards. The policy also created more power lines for oil, natural gas, and electricity.

In 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act was created to help the united Sates move towards cleaner energy resources. This act implemented energy efficiency standards on appliances. This act also increased the Renewable Fuel Standards.In 2009 the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was created. This act helped to integrate renewable energy source into existing power grids. This act also help to create disposal of nuclear waste and its management.In 2016 the Energy Policy and Modernization Act was passed. This act included more standards for energy efficiency now it included building. Included in the act was increased electrical grid cybersecurity, increased water efficiency and conservation.In 2016 the House and Senate also approved a repeal on the Presidents Clean Power plan. The House and Senate repeal the Clean Power Plan because it would be to costly to the united States to implement. 

Coal is what considered a Natural Resource. This means that coal can not be reproduced in our lifetime or the life to of future generation, once it is depleted it is gone for good. It takes hundred of million of year to create coal. Coal is mostly made up of carbon. The easiest way to get coal is to mine for it, there two basic types of mine a surface mine and an underground mine. Coal is burned at high temperatures to create energy. Coal used as an energy source is not environmentally friendly. When burning coal is emits serval chemicals and gases like, mercury, uranium, carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide. The United States does not have an endless supply of coal once our supply is depleted it is gone forever. The cost of running a coal mine is very expensive. The cost continues to rise on an annually basis.

Nuclear energy is considered a Natural Resource because the metal to make nuclear power is naturally occurring. Nuclear energy is created by the splitting of atoms and retrieving the energy from the nucleus of that atom. A nuclear power plant manages the splitting of the atoms and collecting the energy. When the uranium atoms split, they generate large amount of heat. The uranium is in large cooling tanks filled with water in most cases. When the water is heated form the reaction it releases steam, that steam turns wheels or blades of a turbine and generates energy. The energy in collected at power stations and distributed. Nuclear Energy is a cleaner solution to energy it does not give off carbon emissions or create any greenhouse gas. When building a Nuclear Power plant the environmental habitat will be effected. The finished result of nuclear power greatly effect the environment used fuel rod take hundred of years to decompose and for that reason they are a huge risk for using nuclear power. 

There are basically 5 types of renewable energy. They will be discussed in the following slides. Wind Energy is a renewable resource, which means is can be renewed within our lifetime. Wind energy comes from well the wind. Giant windmills are built in what is called a wind farm. In this farm there could be up to hundreds of windmills all used to capture the wind. The energy is captured when the wind turns the giant fan blades of the windmill which then causes a generator to move with in the windmill. The energy is captured in the generator and then can be transferred from the windmill across the country through distribution lines. Wind energy can be thought of as never-ending, if there is wind, power can be generated.The cost to build a giant windmill or wind turbine can eb in the thousands. Small home or farm wind turbines cost around $50,000 to $80,000 or more to build. A small home or small farm turbine can produce up to 10 kilowatts. A commercial wind turbine can range from $3 to $4 million to build. A commercial wind turbine usually has a capacity of 2 Megawatts. Wind energy does not have a direct effect on the environment it does not pollute the air, water, or emit greenhouse gases. When constructing a wind farm the area that is being used for the construction of the farm will have it environmental habitat effected.

Solar Energy is also a renewable resource, which means is can be renewed within our lifetime. Solar energy comes from the Sun. The most common way energy from the sun is captured is through solar panels. Solar panels captures photons, after the photons are captured it is then converted into energy, it can be converted into AC or DC power.I would also consider Solar energy to be endless. If the sun is shining, then energy can be captured from it. The energy captured from the sun in the daytime can be stored to be used when the sun is not shining. The cost to build a 1 mega watt solar farm would be around $1 million to install. A solar farm this size would power about 200 households. When building a solar farm the cost is usually $1 per watt. Solar energy does not have a direct effect on the environment. Solar energy does not cause greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, or water pollution. Although when constructing a large solar energy farm the area where the farm is goes will have changes to its environmental habitats. 

Hydro Electric Energy is also a renewable resource, which means is can be renewed within our lifetime. 71 percent of all renewable energy used around the world is Hydroelectric energy. Hydroelectric power is a type of power that is generated when by the movement of water. For example power is generated when water is running over a waterfall. Most large dams are generating this type of energy. Hydroelectric power plants as located near a reservoir filled with water. This water is what is used to create energy. The water has potential energy while in the reservoir. The flow of water is controlled by a valve. Once released from the reservoir by the valve, water flows downward converting the potential energy to kinetic energy. The water then flows through the blades of a turbine which generates electricity. Then that energy is distributed through the power plant.In the United States and around the world, there is an endless supply of Hydroelectric energy because we do not have a shortage of water. Hydroelectric power does not cause any pollutant to use it but it does effect the environment in other ways. When building a dam you have to have a lot of land and you will be changing the environmental habitat of the area. To build a dam to produce Hydroelectric power has a high investment cost. (USGS)

Hydro Electric Energy is also a renewable resource, which means is can be renewed within our lifetime. 71 percent of all renewable energy used around the world is Hydroelectric energy. Hydroelectric power is a type of power that is generated when by the movement of water. For example power is generated when water is running over a waterfall. Most large dams are generating this type of energy. Hydroelectric power plants as located near a reservoir filled with water. This water is what is used to create energy. The water has potential energy while in the reservoir. The flow of water is controlled by a valve. Once released from the reservoir by the valve, water flows downward converting the potential energy to kinetic energy. The water then flows through the blades of a turbine which generates electricity. Then that energy is distributed through the power plant. In the United States and around the world, there is an endless supply of Hydroelectric energy because we do not have a shortage of water. Hydroelectric power does not cause any pollutant to use it but it does effect the environment in other ways. When building a dam you have to have a lot of land and you will be changing the environmental habitat of the area. To build a dam to produce Hydroelectric power has a high investment cost. (USGS)

Biomass Energy is also a renewable resource, which means is can be renewed within our lifetime. Biomass is another widely used renewable energy resource. Biomass is any organic material that has is from a plant or animal, then is it turned into energy. What makes Biomass energy different for the other renewable energy is that Biomass energy has stored energy from the sun. Biomass can be burned to created heat; the chemical energy stored in the biomass is released creating heat. Biomass is also used as a fuel. Biomass can be converted to a biofuel or a biogas then burned as a fuel. Biomass has really no effect on the environment, when it is burned or used it is not releasing any more carbons into the atmosphere then the plant of animal had already absorbed by the plant or animals.Biomass is in abundance around the world because of this I would say that the united States has an endless supply of Biomass Energy.

Geothermal Energy is also a renewable resource, which means is can be renewed within our lifetime. This is the last of the most commonly used renewable energy resources. Geothermal Energy is basically very hot water and steam trapped under the ground that is being captured and brought to the surface and converted into energy. To convert the hit water and steam to energy you first need to drill into the Geothermal reservoir once that is complete the hot steam will rise through the drill tubes and to a power plant which has turbine, the hot steam will move the blades of the turbine to generate energy and the power plant will distribute it out. The water that is collect from the reservoir may not be hot enough to spin the blades of the turbines to create energy, but it is hot enough to be able to heat houses and be used in other ways to not use fossil fuel. Geothermal energy could be concerned an endless supply to the world. The united states has several areas of geothermal activity that could be harnessed and use for energy. (Artic) Geothermal energy does emit sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere but it is still more environmentally friendly then fossil fuels. Building a Geothermal plant will effect the environmental habitat of the area where it is building built. Building a Geothermal power plant has a high upfront investment cost. 

With any improvement plan you need to have a chart and a plan. I would suggest that there be more improvement in renewable energy and the move towards that type of energy source. I believe that is the cleaner way for the country and the planet for the future. I believe that more funds should be put into the recycling of waste products for the use in creating Biomass energy. I think that Biomass plant should be more prominent. Everyone household produces waste that could be recycled into energy. I believe more support should be focused in that are.

The Roadless Area Conservation Rule was set in place to protect 58.5 million acres of wild national forests. It is protecting the forest from being logged in, have roads built in this area, and having any drilling of mining done in these designated areas.

There are many pros to the Roadless Area Conservation Rule.

• Clean drinking water for American and wildlife in that area.

• Recreational activities in those areas.

• Being out in untouched nature

• Positive environmental habitats in those areas.

• Positive ecological diversity in the areas.

The Roadless Area Conservation Rule to me has no Con’s, I am the average persons that likes to be outdoors in nature and see it for all its natural beauty. But for some all they see if the potential income they are missing out on by not being allowed to work in the Roadless Areas.

I would assume to a logging company they are missing out of hundreds of thousand of dollars of uncut timber by not being allowed to log in those areas. The mining companies are also missing out on potential income by not being allowed to mine or drill in those areas. But If they were allowed to log and drill or mine in those areas what would that do to the ecosystem of that area, it would be destroyed. The wildlife in that are would forever be effected and may even become extinct. It is said that some animals in the roadless areas live longer and a larger percent make it to maturity. But, the logger and miners would have their income but at what cost to the wildlife, the ecosystem, the environment and the planet. I say the planet because the trees that were cut down were acting as a natural filter for the air pollution the world has and if you cut those down it will effect the planets air pollution rate.

In 2005 the Bush Administration repealed the Roadless Conservation Act set in place in 2001. In the repeal the Bush Administration exempted 17 million acres from the Roadless Conservation Act allowing logging, roads and mining to be done in the Tongass of Alaska. In the Tongass forest is one of the world’s old-growth temperate rain forests. I personally see all cons to the Bush repeal but here is a list of the Pros and Cons:

Pros:

• Thousands of potential dollars made for the logging companies

• Thousands of potential dollars made for the road paving companies

• Thousands of potential dollars made for the mining companies

Cons:

• Loss in natural beauty of the forest

• Loss in capital from tourism

• Loss in capital from hunters

• Loss in capital from Salmon fisheries

• Ecosystems destroyed

• Environmental habitats destroyed

• Wildlife population will decline

• Moral of the community will decline

• Overall income for the communities nearby will decline

• Climate warming will increase

In conclusion I think that the energy policy has went a long way since its creation, but I also believe it has a long way to go. There are still so many things that can be improved upon related to energy conservation and efficiency. We need to be pushing towards the use of renewable energy. It is not only better for the environment, but it is also better for the health of everyone living on the planet. We should move towards making solar power more affordable to the warmer states or countries. We should move away from coal burning power plants that are not only bad for the environment in what they give off when burned but, when the coal is mined the land is sometimes left in disarray and the environment can not recover in those areas. I know that we have improved our power grid system but, we need to improve our power grid systems to be more efficient and be able to reach farther with renewable energy. There need to be more tax incentives es to the public for use of renewable energy then maybe more of the public would want to use renewable energy.  

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