fbpx

ideal-LIVING
Retirement Blog
Green Living

The Future of Clean Energy

There’s a story laced with good news and bad news for every energy type. If you’re confused about which ones are clean and which ones aren’t, you’re not alone.

Not-So-Clean Coal
An affordable and abundant local fuel in the U.S., coal is also one of the most destructive. Not only does burning coal emit millions of tons of greenhouse gases, aging coal-fired power plants are exempt from the Clean Air Act and are allowed to contribute massive amounts of air pollution to the environment, including acid rain-causing sulfur dioxide, by the thousands of tons. Mercury, too, can cause untold human health problems, with just 1/70th of a teaspoon possessing the ability to poison a 25-acre lake.

Other coal pollutants include particulate matter that contributes to asthma and premature deaths; nitrogen oxide which contributes to smog and respiratory illness; carbon monoxide that exacerbates heart disease and headaches; as well as cancer-causing arsenic, lead, cadmium and other heavy metals.

Besides air pollution, just one coal plant generates 125,000 tons of ash and 193,000 tons of sludge containing mercury, chromium, arsenic and cadmium annually, most of which is disposed of in unlined landfills, poisoning groundwater and soil. Coal plants also release heated water into nearby lakes and streams, causing thermal pollution that damages fish populations.

“Clean” coal is a group of technologies that attempts to minimize these problems using methods such as treating flue gases for removing air pollutants, coal washing with chemicals and minerals to remove impurities and capturing carbon to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Questionably-Safe Nuclear
Making news as of late is the controversial subject of nuclear. It offers many environmental benefits: lower greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution being the most important. Uranium is plentiful in the U.S. and is an incredibly concentrated fuel, with just one pound producing the equivalent energy of three million pounds of coal.

But uranium is radioactive, which creates hazards throughout the lifecycle. Not only do nuclear power plants pose threats to local populations from potential meltdowns, they are also excellent terrorist targets. And as we know, even the most modern nuclear plants are not impervious to the impacts of natural disasters.

Beyond the nuclear power plant, there is the problem of disposing of spent uranium, an expensive, energy-intensive process. Additionally, reprocessed spent nuclear fuel can be used by terrorist groups to create nuclear weapons, creating added security issues for spent fuel facilities. Any other options?

Re-imagined Oil and Natural Gas Technologies
New technologies such as natural gas fracking and tar sands extraction are being used to tap into hard-to-reach fuels. Though these may solve local availability problems, they heap on environmental woes.

Tar sands extraction—a process used to remove sticky petroleum from sand—is now common in Alberta, Canada and some U.S. states. The process begins by scraping away trees and soil to the depth of a three-story building, obliterating local ecosystems. The sticky bitumen is then flushed with millions of tons of water and chemicals to get at the petroleum. The waste water is deposited into tailings ponds, which are highly toxic to local wildlife.

Approximately 85 percent of Canada’s tar sands oil will go to the U.S., requiring a massive network of pipelines that cut through pristine wilderness, vastly increasing chances of oil spills along the way. For every barrel of crude oil extracted this way, we get 6,000 megajoules of energy. But in addition to using 1,000 megajoules of energy to make each barrel of oil, it produces 185 gallons of waste water and 170 pounds of greenhouse gases.

Natural gas fracking, which is touted as a shiny new form of energy for Americans, is equally problematic. It involves injecting high-pressure chemical-laced liquids deep underground to crack open rock and release methane. Each fracked well requires up to 200 tanker trucks of water in addition to adding volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to the air and up to 600 kinds of chemicals to water and soil.

Methane is also dissolved in groundwater, making it possible for some local residents to light their tap water on fire. Like coal, natural gas fracking also potentially contributes to increased earthquake activity.

Not only would you be hard-pressed to call these “clean” energies, but both fracking and tar sands extraction are expensive processes, only affordable now because of the high price of conventional oil.

Really Clean Energies
So what about other clean energies? Wind, solar and geothermal energies are the most obvious, and despite location-specific challenges (solar works best in sunny regions; wind in windy regions; and geothermal along the Ring of Fire), they pose few environmental hazards. They are also achieving economies of scale, which is making them much more affordable than they have been historically.

Hydroelectric is also a traditionally clean form of energy, at least after installation, though building dams disrupts vast areas due to flooding. And though scientists have been working on fission for decades, they are still a long way from being able to affordably and safely produce power plants.

On the horizon are other exciting new clean energy technologies. Hydrogen power is a possibility and is completely pollution free, though it is as yet incredibly expensive to produce. There are also multiple forms of biomass fuel technologies that burn anything from agricultural wastes and old tires to fryer fat, algae oils and landfill gases to create electricity. Of this eclectic mix of innovations, many are proving to be highly promising, though no clear economic winner has yet to be found.

Certainly you can’t create energy out of nothing—inputs and outputs are always involved. Thankfully, however, those energies with minimal negatives in and out are becoming more competitive and available. The risks of sticking with old and re-imagined energy technologies are great, making the move to genuinely clean energies imperative.

Request information from these Green Communities


Hartness Greenville

Hartness Greenville

Greenville, South Carolina

The community will feature a number of defining amenities including a central park, sidewalks and pedestrian greenways, unique streetscapes, a commercial center with restaurants and shops, a clubhouse with fitness center, a swim complex, tennis and pickleball, a boutique hotel with spa and a 180 acre nature preserve with 15 miles of trails. Come see 450 acres of beauty in Greenville, SC.
Read More...

SC


The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay - Delaware Gated Communities

The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay - Delaware Gated Communities

Millsboro, Delaware

The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay offers an exquisite collection of homes in vintage coastal architecture. With a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, unmatched amenities and instant access to Delaware's famous Atlantic beaches, there is simply no place like The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay.
Read More...

DE


Heritage Shores - Delaware Retirement Communities

Heritage Shores - Delaware Retirement Communities

Bridgeville, Delaware

The homes at Heritage Shores have been designed to maximize your lifestyle by incorporating the latest technologies and floorplans, providing ease of maintenance and energy efficiency.
Read More...

DE


Graystone Realty at Fox Acres Country Club

Graystone Realty at Fox Acres Country Club

Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Just an hour away from Fort Collins, enjoy all the breathtaking amenities Colorado has to offer. Enjoy this beautiful resort mountain community.
Read More...

CO


River Dunes

River Dunes

Oriental, North Carolina

River Dunes is an award-winning coastal retreat on the coast of North Carolina. You'll find big water, big views, and big adventure here. River Dunes offers the best in coastal living and year-round boating, set in an unparalleled location with fourteen miles of shoreline on the big waters of the Pamlico Sound, Intracoastal Waterway and Neuse River.
Read More...

NC


Haig Point Club

Haig Point Club

Daufuskie Island, South Carolina

Haig Point is on a sea island and the lifestyle here is very special. It has the serenity and seclusion of a most idyllic, sea island life. But extraordinary privacy isn't the only thing you'll enjoy at Haig Point on Daufuskie Island
Read More...

SC


Encore at FishHawk Ranch by David Weekley Homes

Encore at FishHawk Ranch by David Weekley Homes

Lithia, Florida

Grab a workout buddy and hit the gym or satisfy your competitive side with a spirited game of bocce or pickle ball. Meet on the great lawn for yoga or lounge by the sparkling pool.
Read More...

FL


Retire NC

Retire NC

Cary, North Carolina

From four distinct seasons to its geographic diversity and welcoming communities, North Carolina draws those seeking retirement options that feed the senses and the soul. Retiring to North Carolina is like coming home...
Read More...

NC


The Bluffs on the Cape Fear

The Bluffs on the Cape Fear

Leland, North Carolina

The Bluffs on the Cape Fear is a vibrant, master-planned community perched on a pristine stretch of the Cape Fear River. Just 15 minutes from the classic waterfront hometown of historic Wilmington, NC, The Bluffs is a private, coastal haven for the families who call it home.
Read More...

NC


The Retreat at Ocean Isle Beach

The Retreat at Ocean Isle Beach

Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina

The Retreat at Ocean Isle Beach is a special community just 1 mile away from the beautiful sand and waves of Ocean Isle Beach. Residents at The Retreat are positioned uniquely within walking distance to the local grocery store, incredible restaurants and quaint shops that make Ocean Isle Beach so desirable. The colorful homes and lush landscape pay homage to the bold and bright colors you'll find lining the oceanfront streets just across the causeway.
Read More...

NC


On Top of the World Communities - Florida 55+ Communities

On Top of the World Communities - Florida 55+ Communities

Ocala, Florida

Renowned for beautiful homes and an unrivaled method that combines top-notch programming, talented staffing and incredible amenities, On Top of the World Communities in Ocala, FL, is truly a leader in creating quality lifestyles
Read More...

FL


Horizon Homes of Wilmington LLC

Horizon Homes of Wilmington LLC

Wilmington, North Carolina

As a family-owned and operated business, Horizon Homes of Wilmington has one main mission in mind: to design homes that suit homeowners' individual needs and lifestyles with quality materials at an affordable price.
Read More...

NC


Minto at TwinEagles

Minto at TwinEagles

Naples, Florida

Minto is proud to bring over a half-century of achievement to Naples by introducing magnificent single-family and estate home to the premier country club community of TwinEagles. Priced from the low $500s to over $1 million, these masterfully crafted residences are a sensational value. And that value is even more amazing once you discover that a golf membership is included in the price of every new Minto home!
Read More...

FL


Amelia National Golf & Country Club - Florida Gated Golf Communities

Amelia National Golf & Country Club - Florida Gated Golf Communities

Fernandina Beach, Florida

Tom Fazio golf and country club affords golfing, tennis, resort-style swimming pool, snack-bar, lounge and fine dining, gym, walking trails and 24-hour manned and gated guardhouse. Three miles from Amelia Island, close to beaches, historic-district and marina.
Read More...

FL


Balsam Mountain Preserve

Balsam Mountain Preserve

Sylva, North Carolina

Balsam Mountain Preserve is a conservation-orientated private residential community set on 4,400 acres in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville. Refined amenities of the community include an Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course, Palmer Practice Park, Equestrian Center, Ruby Valley Fitness & Wellness Pavilion, junior Olympic heated pool, Nature Center, tennis courts, guided hiking, fishing and camping opportunities, the Boarding House and Outpost for gathering and food & beverage offerings.
Read More...

NC


Your Information Request for your selected properties



By submitting this form, you agree to allow ideal-LIVING.com to provide your contact information to the selected communities.
Share this with friends!
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •