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Miles Texas Energy Resources

By: 7th period students

            Texas is home to many different natural resources that are used to meet the high energy demand by its large population. A natural resource is any substance, organism, or energy that is used by living things. There are many different kinds of natural resources, but they are usually divided into two categories: alternative or renewable resources, and non-renewable resources. Alternative resources can be used and replaced over a short period of time. Wind energy is an example of an alternative resource because there is an unlimited supply of wind. Non-renewable resources cannot be replaced, or can only be replaced over a very long period of time, thousands, or millions of years. Coal, for example, is non-renewable because it takes a very long time for swamp plants to turn to peat, then slowly into coal. There is a limited supply of coal on Earth, so it is not renewable. Both of these resources are very similar in some ways, but also different in others.

            One non-renewable resource used in Texas is coal. Coal is the result of swamp plants being exposed to high pressures [image] 2Miles Coal Proand temperatures when they are  buried. Texas mines lignite coal, which is composed of approximately 70 percent carbon, and is the second step of coal formation. Swamp peat turns to lignite, then to bituminous coal, and last, anthracite. Texas is the
fifth largest coal-producing state, and
the largest consumer of coal that is used for electricity. According to the Texas Mining and Reclamation Association (TMRA), Texas produced over 40 million tons of coal in 2010 alone. Electricity generated from coal provides for 37% of Texas’ energy. Positives to the coal mining industry are that coal is abundant in Texas, and is very cheap to use. There are at least 23 billion tons of coal in Texas, and coal is a very inexpensive source of energy for the state.[image] 2Miles Coal Con
Environmentally, though, coal has a very negative effect. When burned, coal emits NOx fumes that lead to pollution, notably smog. Coal mining also damages environments. The Texas coal industry does a pretty good job of rehabilitating land, but any non-repaired land can destroy local ecosystems.

            An alternative to coal is wind energy. Giant, three-pronged turbines produce wind energy when they are spun by the wind. Wind energy is an infinite resource, meaning that it will not run out, unless somehow it ceased to exist. Texas is an incredibly large wind producer, home to all of the top five wind farms in the nation, and 7 of the top 10. Wind powers approximately 2.7 million Texan homes, and is used for 7% of the total electricity in Texas. Texas is ranked 1st in the nation in wind resource and overall wind installations. Wind energy is also very environmentally-friendly. It uses almost 600 times less water than nuclear energy and 500 times less water than [image] 1Miles Wind Concoal. It also does not contaminate water. Wind farms can prevent over-urbanization because large buildings cannot be built near them. Producing wind energy is pollution free, and there is no need to transport it to a plant because electricity is produced at the source. Wind energy is very sustainable, and a great source of renewable energy, so can it have negatives? The answer is yes, wind energy has some negatives. The wind turbines themselves are the big problem. At about 80 meters off the ground, wind turbines can kill, and affect the migration paths of birds and bats. Another problem with the turbines is
the noise they produce. Many people are opposed to living near wind turbines, which leaves less room for wind farms. In Texas, there is a lot of empty land, in the middle of nowhere, but in the future, it may be increasingly difficult to find appropriate space for wind farms.

 [image] 1Miles Wind Pro

            Because of its enormous potential, I feel wind energy would be a great solution for Texas. Wind itself is an abundant resource, and when harnessed it can produce a great amount of electricity. Wind is clean and sustainable, and turbines can still be improved with innovation. Wind is better than coal, mainly because of environmental issues, and potential energy. Coal will also run out eventually, and if Texas uses more wind energy, it will be better prepared to face an energy crisis. Texas is already a prominent wind energy-producing state, and in 25 years, it can become a major source of power for Texas.

 

Sources

http://tmra.com/

http://tmra.com/facts-figures

http://www.windcoalition.org/

http://www.awea.org/

http://www.awea.org/learnabout/publications/upload/Texas.pdf

http://www.windenergyoftexas.com/

Holt Science and Technology Texas Edition Grade 7

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