Solar is Renewable
At SunBug, we don’t think renewable solar energy is going to save the world. The planet’s vast and changing energy needs must be addressed through a host of solutions. But for many New Englanders, renewable solar energy is the most practical, affordable, and realistic solution. And solutions are needed today. The United States consumes a quarter of the worlds energy, yet we make up only about five percent of the world’s population. Most of that energy comes from fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas, with a smaller portion coming from nuclear power.
Unlike those sources, renewable solar energy emits zero:
- Carbon dioxide, believed to be the leading cause of climate change.
- Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, which cause acid rain and smog.
- Radioactive waste, for which there is still no permanent disposal solution.
- The heavy metal mercury, which causes neurological damage. Mercury gets into our water supply, particularly through coal-fired power plants.
Pollutants from fossil fuels are not just a global or national concern,they have real health consequences in our own backyard. In studying Massachusetts’ coal-fired Salem Harbor and Brayton Point Power Plants, Harvard School of Public Health researchers estimated pollutants were responsible for:
- 53 premature deaths per year from Salem Harbor and 106 premature deaths per year from Brayton Point
- 570 emergency room visits per year from Salem Harbor and 1,140 emergency room visits per year from Brayton Point
- 14,400 asthma attacks per year from Salem Harbor and 28,900 asthma attacks per year from Brayton Point
[Study: Levy, Jonathan. Et al. Estimated Public Health Impacts of Criteria Pollutant Air Emissions from the Salem Harbor and Brayton Point Power Plants. May 2000.]