Capella University Renewable Sources of Energy Discussion

Overview

Write 3–4 pages in which you outline the pros and cons of a selected method of energy production.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

  • Competency 1: Assess basic environmental health principles, theories, and issues.
    • Assess the economic issues associated with renewable energy technology.
  • Competency 2: Analyze the impact of contaminants in the environment to human health.
    • Analyze the risks to human health associated with renewable energy technology.
  • Competency 3: Apply personal and professional decisions based upon an understanding of environmental risks.
    • Illustrate the positives associated with renewable energy technology.
    • Illustrate the negatives associated with renewable energy technology.
  • Competency 4: Communicate effectively in a variety of formats.
    • Write coherently to support a central idea in appropriate format with correct grammar, usage, and mechanics.

    Context

    Energy production is essential for our daily lives. Driving our cars, heating and cooling our homes, cooking food, working on computers—almost everything we do—requires energy. As petroleum prices have increased, interest in other energy sources has also increased. The Assessment 5 Context document provides a brief introduction to alternative energy sources. You may wish to review this document for key concepts and ideas on this topic.

  • Questions to Consider

    To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community.

    • What is your opinion on nuclear power as a source of energy? What are the strengths in your position? What are the weaknesses?
    • If someone holds a different opinion about nuclear power than you have, what are the strengths in their position? What are the weaknesses?
    • Has the event at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan influenced your opinion on nuclear power?
    • What were the immediate radiation concerns of the Fukushima disaster, and what are the ongoing issues with radiation? How widespread is the radiation pollution?
    • What are the strengths and weaknesses of wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass power?
    • Can renewable energy meet growing energy demands?
    • What are the potential environmental and health implications of fracking? Do you think it is a viable method to obtain more fossil fuel resources? Why or why not?
    Library Resources

    The following e-books or articles from the Capella University Library are linked directly in this course:

    Course Library Guide

    A Capella University library guide has been created specifically for your use in this course. You are encouraged to refer to the resources in the
    BIO-FP2000 – Environmental Health Library Guide to help direct your research.

    Bookstore Resources

    The resources listed below are relevant to the topics and assessments in this course and are not required. Unless noted otherwise, these materials are available for purchase from the
    Capella University Bookstore. When searching the bookstore, be sure to look for the Course ID with the specific
    –FP (FlexPath) course designation.

    • Hilgenkamp, K. (2006). Environmental health: Ecological perspectives. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
      • Chapter 11, “Energy.” This chapter addresses concerns of fossil fuel use, alternatives to fossil fuels, and the concerns of alternate technologies.
      • Chapter 12, “Radiation.” This chapter looks at possible sources of radiation exposure and the health implications of radiation exposure.

      Assessment Instructions

      The purpose of this assessment is to evaluate alternative energy sources and to understand that there are positives and negatives to the alternatives.To begin this assessment, research a specific renewable source of energy. Then, in a 3–4-page report, outline the pros and cons of this method of energy production. To build your argument and support your evaluation, address the following:

      • Identify and analyze the economic considerations (such as the cost per kilowatt for large-scale renewable energy source, costs of construction, and so forth) of using this method of energy production.
      • What are the environmental benefits of this energy source?
      • What are the environmental downsides, if any, to this renewable energy technology?
      • Analyze the risks to human health associated with this technology.
      • What conclusions have you reached with regards to this topic, and why?

      Additional Requirements

      Use the APA Paper Template (linked in the Resources under the Required Resources heading) to format your report.

      • Written Communication: Written communication should be free of errors that detract from the overall message.
      • Length: This report should be 3–4 pages in content length. Include a separate title page and a separate references page.
      • Font and Font Size: Times New Roman, 12-point, double-spaced. Use Microsoft Word.
      • APA Formatting: Resources and in-text citations should be formatted according to APA (6th edition) style and formatting.
      • Number of Resources: You are required to cite a minimum of 2 scholarly resources. You may conduct independent research for resources and references to support your report. Provide a reference list and in-text citations for all of your resources, using APA format. You may cite texts and authors from the Resources.

      ASSESSMENT 5 CONTEXT

      Energy Alternatives

      Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a process used to extract natural gas from once unreachable shale rock layers deep in the earth. To release the natural gas, highly pressurized fracking fluids (water mixed with various chemicals and sand) are injected, via steel pipe, into the ground to create cracks or fractures. This releases gas which flows to the surface to be collected in wells. Environmental concerns associated with fracking include water use, toxic chemicals, health concerns, surface and ground water contamination, soil contamination, air quality, and waste disposal.One of the most important aspects of any energy policy is energy
      conservation. As consumer demand for oil drops, prices decline; and the length of time oil can be relied on is extended. To help reduce oil use, government regulations (NHTSA, 2014) have required greater fuel efficiency in cars through the creation of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Congress has also required the phasing out of incandescent light bulbs in favor of the more energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. Like many new technologies, the upside of the compact fluorescent’s energy saving capacity is countered by the downside that compact fluorescents require the toxic chemical, mercury, for their production.There are many alternatives to using petroleum and coal for energy, but each comes with a unique set of problems. Most
      new technologies, like solar and wind power, are very costly to start up. Nuclear energy has its own unique drawbacks.Using
      nuclear energy is attractive to many because the technology is already in place, and it can generate large amounts of electricity from one plant. But the risks associated with nuclear energy are high. For example, there is no current solution as to how to deal with nuclear waste. No matter how carefully built and maintained a nuclear plant may be, there is always the risk of an accident. Further, nuclear plants can also be a target for terrorist activity, and the nuclear waste can be used to power nuclear weapons.It is certain that we will see the emergence of new energy technology, but it seems unlikely at this point there will be one simple answer. Wind, solar, and geothermal energy are useful in certain geographic areas, but it will take many different solutions to fulfill the energy demands of the worldwide population.

      References

      U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). (2014). Energy in brief. Retrieved from
      http://www.eia.gov/energy_in_brief/article/major_e…National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). (2014). CAFE – Fuel economy. Retrieved from
      http://www.nhtsa.gov/fuel-economy

 

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