The battle between renewable and nonrenewable energy is one that could go on forever. Some people believe renewable energy will save the future and others believe fossil fuel is still going strong.
Some people believe renewable energy is cost effective and efficient enough to replace all fossil fuels in the future. According to a study by researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, approximately 80% of the electricity in US would be generated from renewable energy sources by the end of 2050. While it is possible for renewable energy to generate over a third of electricity in the future; getting to that level will be a long and challenging road. Solar, wind, and other renewables have always been predicted to increase in use over time. However, there are still many barriers for renewables in replacing oil, coal, and natural gas to be the primary sources of energy. It is one thing to supplement energy production and another to replace the production of fossil fuel all together.
Fossil fuels and uranium have collectively dominated the nation’s electricity supply. In 2007 they accounted for just over 91 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. At the same time, hydroelectric power supplied only 5.8 percent and other renewables supplied 2.5 percent. With fossil fuel still supplying a majority of the energy in the U.S. it is unreasonable to believe renewable energy could completely take over especially at the rate it currently grows. Also to even be considered competitive against fossil fuel technologies; renewables would have to overcome huge barriers in commercialization, maintenance and the initial investments needed to build infrastructure in order for production to grow. These are barriers fossil fuel energy has had years to work through and create technology to overcome.
A more realistic approach to this energy battle is for renewable energy and fossil fuels working together as sources of electricity generation. Renewable energy is the healthier option for the environment, no one will argue otherwise. Someday renewable energy might be able to replace fossil fuels, but a lot would have to go bad for fossil fuels, and renewable energy would need a miracle in growth and efficiency. Finding a balance between the two is more important than stopping cold turkey on the most used form of energy, and expecting one that’s still working out its kinks to take over.