There is no free lunch
While some types of energy can sustain the planet for much longer than fossil fuels, there is no such thing as free lunch. Every source of energy available comes with its own set of pros and cons, which makes decisions about types of energy and the creation of policies around them a very complex issue.
Combustion always leads to pollution
The majority of energy sources that people use today create energy through some kind of combustion process. These processes need a burn chamber, oxygen, and an exhaust system. While some of the modern processes are quite efficient, they still produce a lot of pollutants.
Noncombustion energy is not pollution-free
While energy sources such as nuclear and solar do not use combustion processes to create energy, they come with their own problems and issues. For example, solar panel manufacturing uses a lot of energy, most of which comes from coal burning. This means that even though solar energy does not pollute the environment once implemented, it does create a lot of pollution before it gets to that stage.
Raw material issues
Every plant that produces energy, be in fossil fuel energy or solar energy, needs raw materials. For example, nuclear energy plants need uranium rods. In turn, the rods need to be manufactured first according to very strict requirements.
Energy refinement issues
You can get energy from burning wood in a stove. The energy from solar panels is very different. It is high-quality electricity. Similarly to that, windmills also deliver high-quality electrical energy. The refinement of the energy itself requires energy.
Development of new technologies takes time
It takes a certain amount of time for new technologies to become cost-effective and to reach the market. It takes even more time for people and communities to accept new technology and implement the new ways of creating and using it. People don’t get rid of the energy systems when new systems hit the market. It is a process with a lot of factors and variables that takes a lot of time.
Production of energy always leaves a residue
Every energy-creating process leaves some kind of residue. Alternative energy plants are not pollutant-free miracles. Even when there is very little or no pollution in the energy creation process, there has been a lot of pollution to get to that stage.
Most people are concerned with economics
Most people care a lot about how much they will pay for energy and how much they will have to pay in order to get equipment that will produce cheaper energy. Nobody gets rid of their car simply because there is a three-times more expensive electric car available on the market. Most people make decisions that make financial sense to them.
Government has to play a role
Because people care about how much things cost, the government takes action that plays a significant role in the adoption of new sources of energy. Local, state and federal governments can do that with rebates, taxes, subsidies and other incentives. This can lead to certain kinds of energy being very desirable and level the playing field between alternative energy and fossil fuels.
Green politics is becoming very powerful
Because there are a lot of things that government can do to influence the future of energy, politics is very important. Green politics is becoming more and more influential and powerful.