Discussion Student response

All energy sources have an environmental impact. Using the map provided or the website listed below, identify types of power plants near your home. In 250 words or more, describe ways to reduce negative environmental impacts of the energy source(s) near your home. Include the costs of these measures. Do you think the advantages are worth the cost of these changes? Why or why not?
https://www.eia.gov/state/maps.php
C
ite your sources in MLA or APA format and respond to at least TWO classmates (see discussion grading rubric).

Student Response 1

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I currently live in Germany, so I decided to search for the power plants around my hometown in Prattville, Alabama. There are several plants across the state of Alabama. Close to my town, there is the Plant Harris which is a natural gas-fueled, combined-cycle electric- generating plant. It consists of 2 combined-cycle units at 659 megawatts. It provides millions of dollars in economic benefits to the city of Autaugaville, Autauga County, and the state of Alabama.  The plant uses technology that makes electricity by burning natural gas. In the state of Alabama, they have different ways to reduce negative environmental impacts. They have solar plants, which focused on natural resources from the sun, and hydroelectric plants which use water. Hydroelectric plants are actually very beneficial in the state of Alabama due to a large number of water resources such as lakes and rivers. According to Shorelines, “with 14 hydro facilities on the Coosa, Tallapoosa and Black Warrior rivers, we strive to meet the needs of lake-goers and property owners who enjoy the recreation these lakes provide; the many species and ecosystems that depend on their habitat; and the state, by providing low-cost renewable energy and supporting the local economies these lakes sustain.” These hydroelectric plants provide several resources that benefit people and the environment, therefore, their cost is worth the changes.  Additionally, the U.S. Energy Information Administration states that Alabama is ranked sixth in the nation for renewable energy capacity. 
Our Lakes and Dams. https://apcshorelines.com/our-lakes/. Accessed 8 November 2019. 
“U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA – Independent Statistics and Analysis.” United States – Maps – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), https://www.eia.gov/state/maps.php. Accessed 8 November 2019.

Student Response 2

The closest energy-producing plant to my home town of Tifton, GA is the Denver Bradwell PV solar energy plant in Colquitt County, GA. In December of 2018 it produced ~28 megawatt hours, and decrease from the ~33 megawatt hours it produced in November of 2018 (U.S. Energy Information Administration). What this information tells us is that this plant was producing ~.9 megawatt hours per day in December 2018, and ~1 megawatt hour a day in November. A megawatt hour is approximately equivalent to the amount of electrical energy consumed by 330 homes in an hour, according to CleanEnergyAuthority.com. Even with the reduction in output from November to December, this plant was always producing at almost of above one megawatt hour
per day. The number of homes this plant could sustain for a full 24 hour period comes to approximately 13.
Unfortunately, I could not find any more specific information in this particular site either on the Environmental Information Administration website or on the rest of the internet. However, as it is a solar plant, a few generalizations can be made. Solar energy is one of the few renewable energy sources we humans have access to that doesn’t produce much in the way of waste (other notable energy sources being the tides and wind). The production of the panels themselves do release hazardous chemicals into the world, but, once in use, the energy solar panels produce more than make up for the negligible waste solar farms produced, at least in my eyes.
Works Cited
Electricity Data Browser, eia.gov, U.S. Energy Information Administration, https://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/browser/#/plant/61441?freq=M&start=200101&end=201908&ctype=linechart&ltype=pin&columnchart=ELEC.PLANT.GEN.61441-ALL-ALL.M&pin=&maptype=0&linechart=ELEC.PLANT.GEN.61441-SUN-PV.M~~~
U.S. Energy Mapping System, eia.gov, U.S. Energy Information Administration, https://www.eia.gov/state/maps.php.
chris, What is a Megawatt and a Megawatt-Hour?, cleanenergyauthority.com, Digital Green Media, https://www.cleanenergyauthority.com/solar-energy-resources/what-is-a-megawatt-and-a-megawatt-hour

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