Examining Your Community Source of Energy – Merced city, California

Introduction

People have turned to be increasingly dependent on energy from various sources and especially energy sourced from the ground for the last 200 years. Earlier on, almost all energy which was consumed in the society came from muscle, firewood, water, or wind power. Firewood was helping in homes heating and cooking, water power assisted in sailing ships and windmills, as well as muscle power which comprised of animal and human power did most of the remaining tasks. However, things have currently changed. People are more relying on fossil energy, geothermal, hydrogenated energy, coal and nuclear energy among other sources of energy. Solar energy, and wind energy are also growing to be common as well as biogas energy. Most of these energy sources are harnessed to produce electrical energy which is popularly used in most homes and commercial premises (Newage Publishers, n.d.). This paper focuses on analyzing the source of energy in my surrounding community.

Energy Powering My Home and My Community

The three sources of energy in my surrounding and in my home include electricity, natural gas energy, and coal energy. Electricity is mostly used in lighting, powering electrical appliances used in houses that include televisions, refrigerator, microwaves, washing machines, electrical iron, music systems, computers, charging phones, and house warming among others, and house warming. Business enterprises use electrical power energy to power their machines that vary extensively based on the individual businesses. Electrical energy is also used in business for lighting. Natural gas is used mostly in cooking and it is commonly used in hospitality businesses to power their kitchens and their cooking business. Coal is also used in various homes in cooking. It normally acts as an alternative for natural gas. However, natural gas is more used as compared to coal as it is commonly used during coal weather.

Impact of the Identified Energy on the Environment

Energy can be classified into two, clean energy and unclean energy or dirty energy. Although some energy source such as electricity and natural gas are considered as clean energy at the usage point, they may not be clean at the mining point. Based on the usage point, our home and community use two types of clean energy that include natural gas and electricity. The two do not affect the environment in any way at the usage point. However, the two affect the environment from the energy generation or mining source. Electrical energy supplied in the region comes from importation. However, the highest percentage of the electricity consumed in the region is generated from the nuclear sources, hydroelectricity, in-state coal, oil, natural gas, geothermal, biomass and wind. Among the above named sources, most of them have a certain effect to the environment. For instance, the production of electrical energy through biomass involves burning of fossils results to emission of carbon gases and also nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide as well as Ozone which are highly involved in global warming and greenhouse effect. In addition, most of electrical generation sources waste a lot of water in cooling their processing plants which include biomass, coal electric generator and in oil based electricity generation. Nuclear plants emit a lot of heat, whose heat waste is normally deposited in water body, this results in overheating of the water body increasing its temperature and thus, affecting the aquatic life in the water body. Therefore, the extensive use of electricity energy in the region results to almost an equivalent rate of environmental destruction.

Natural gas is a form of hydrocarbon fossil fuel and thus it contributes to the emission of greenhouse effect although the rate of greenhouse gases emission is much lower than that produced by oil or coal. The rate of emission is said to be 50 to 60 the total amount of carbons emitted by coals. Therefore, the rate of emission is 40 to 50 % less when using natural gases is much lower as compared to when employing coal. Coal on the other hand is classified as dirty energy. It is normally used in cooking and it is dirty to use. Coal combustion results to generation of a lot of carbon gases which play an important part in global warming. Excessive use of coal can therefore play a major role in environment degradation especially in increasing the global warming. Among the three sources of energy utilized in the region, natural gas is the most appropriate with regard to environmental conservation considering the manufacturing process.

Although the three energy source has a great impact in the environment, the effect is not necessarily felt in our geographical area. This is due to the fact that apart from coal, the two other form of energy are generated in a different are and transported into our region for consumption. In this regard, our community only experiences the effect of gas combustion during use and coal mining and use. The effect of electricity mining source is not experienced in the region. This is because there is no any electrical generation site in the area. Electricity is transmitted from the generation center using thigh voltage transmission cables. In addition, gas is either sold in gas cylinders or transmitted using gas pipes. However there is an average mine in the region where mine is sourced. This is the major contributor of environmental degradation in the area. It uses a lot of water in its cooling process and also the extensive use of the product in the region especially during cold seasons increases the level of carbon emission in the air. The region does not have any form of nuclear plant or any other source of energy generation and thus, the region does not experience a huge environmental challenge emanating from the energy sourcing (Taneja, 2013).

Total Energy use in the Region an Estate in Merced city, California

Most houses use electrical energy for lighting and operating electrical devices. The average monthly consumption of electricity for my home is 909 kWh per month. Therefore the average annual consumption for the house is 909 kWh x 12 = 10, 908 kWh. The community has about 500 households, therefore the total electrical energy consumption in the region annual is 10,908 kWh x 500 = 5454000 kWh. The average natural gas consumption in a household per month is 100 kWh gas therefore per year a house hold consumes 100Kwh x 12 = 12000 kWh gas per year. This is equivalent to 12000 x 500 kWh = 6000000 kWh gas per year in the surrounding community. However, it is hard to estimate the total coal used since coal is normally used irregularly without any fixed monthly consumption. Moreover the rate of coal use is minimal due to an intensive campaign carried out to discourage residence from using coal due to its effect to the environment.

Realistic Renewable Energy

The community consumes a very huge amount of energy both for kitchen use and for lighting and operating electrical powered gadgets. In this regard, the community will require an alternative source of energy which is renewable, favorable to the environment and their pockets. Apparently, the community relies highly on electricity and natural gas. The two source of energy are hazardous to the environment. In addition, sources of natural gas and some electrical energy sources are not renewable. Therefore, with this high consumption of electricity, the community may be forced to reduce their level of energy consumption or consider an alternative. In this case, the best alternative is adopting a renewable source of energy. The most appropriate source of energy for this community is the use of solar panel. Solar energy is select in this case since the solar panel has the ability to convert sun rays to the electrical energy even during humid time and produce enough solar power to equate the current electrical power with right number of panel and with right capacity generation (Llorens, 2015). This implies that the new source of energy will be viable throughout the year without fail. In addition, solar energy is a onetime installation project and thus, despite of the cost, the community will only incur the cost once and they will not have to pay a monthly charge, huge maintenance of generation fee. Therefore, the solar energy option is the most appropriate since the current installation will supply the community with electrical power for a period of not less than 40 years without incurring more expenses. In addition, solar energy system can be implemented in the houses without incurring a lot of cost. This is because the current wiring system can be used to supply the solar energy to the residential homes and thus, the installation cost will be highly reduced due to this factor. Therefore, the proposed energy source is far much alternative to the current situation in my community (DMME.  Virginia, n.d.).

Community Reaction

The support or the rejection of the provided proposition alternative energy will depend on how the community will be approached regarding the proposal. While a good approach is given, the chance that the community will reject the proposal will be close to nil. This is because when the benefits of solar power are clearly explained to the community, the community will be very ready to facilitate the change. The community is currently incurring high charges to pay for electricity and gas for monthly consumption. A relief from these bills will be good news to the community. Moreover, the assurance that the solar energy will be available even during winter and other humid month will eliminate the doubt that the energy may not be able to serve them fully and always. Another major solar energy advantage that would make the community to accept it is the fact that the energy does not affect the environment in any way. Merced citizens are very focused on issue regarding the environmental health. In this regard, they will be very pleased to know that by using solar energy they can be able to save the environment for more greenhouse gas emission.

Expenses of Converting to Solar Power System and Environment

The conversion of the current energy system to the new solar power system will involve a huge installation fee. This is because the community will have to purchase a number of solar panels which are a bit expensive. This can be done by the entire community where they will develop a common point for mining. This point will enhance energy collection from the sun rays and the total energy will then be fed into the current transmission system after the energy is converted to an AC current. A common point may demand for an extra space where panels can be stationed. This will add to their cost since they will need to purchase a land for that and extend their transmission system. The second option and which is more economical will involve installing a number of panels on the roof of a building to serve the households in the building. This will be much economical since the community will only need to make a connection that would link the solar panel system to the existing electrical system (Whitburn, 2015).

Solar panel system involves capturing of the sun rays and converting them into electrical energy. This energy is then transmitted to supply the generated electrical energy to the required site. This energy can also be stored in batteries to allow the retrieval of the energy when there are no enough sun rays to support the system requirement. This ensures that there is enough energy to sustain the community throughout. In so doing, the process results to lose of land for habitant water and other uses. However, the disposal of the solar panel must be carefully done to reduce the effect it can cause on the environment. This is due to the fact that the panel is made up indecomposable material. Moreover, the panel is made up of silicon component that contain solar photo voltaic material which is recognized as an environment pollutant especially while disposed in huge amount. However there are no gases emitted during its operation. The effect created to the environment is much less hazardous as compared to other sources of energy. Therefore, this is the best way to ensure that the community has enough energy but without major forms of environment degradation (UCSUSA, 2015).

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