IELTS Writing Task 2 : Band 7

One day the world’s oil and gas reserves will run out. The search for alternative energy
sources like wind power, solar power , burning waste and water power are causing as much
environmental damage as the oil and nuclear power sources they are intended to replace.

How far do you agree with this latter statement?
What possible benefits do the alternative energy sources bring? or What damage do they
cause?

The criticism that alternative energy sources such as wind energy, solar and geothermal energy  cause as much environmental damage as fossil fuel has some justification. Some people, for example, are strongly against the use of wind power. Indeed , the large wind farm in some European countries have come in for strong criticism and not just from environmentalists. They are very ugly, even if they are in the sea far away from the coast.Burning household waste for fuel also causes problems, because of the harmful fumes that are the by-product of the process. So while the amount of waste put into landfill sites is reduced thus preserving the environment, the air is being polluted instead. However, in my opinion, such sources need to be encouraged as a means of replacing fossil fuel as they have considerable advantages.

First of all, as the technology for using alternative sources of energy is becoming more and more sophisticated, any harmful by-product will be minimised. Moreover, the cost of producing the necessary equipment will decline. Take solar energy, for example. In the past, the panels that were needed to utilise energy from the sun were huge and not very environmentally friendly. Now, however, the same panels are small enough not to be noticed or are made to look like say roof tiles or normal parts of vehicles. The same will apply to wind farms as the giant turbines become smaller and less obvious.

Energy from water also comes in for a lot of criticism. This has come about from the many high profile dam projects around the world where huge areas have been destroyed both for people and local flora and fauna. However, it is a safer alternative to nuclear energy and a price that has to be paid.

Whilst any form of energy that we seek to utilise is going to cause some damage, I feel that wind, sun and water have to be harnessed for the good of the environment.
Source: Academic Writing for IELTS by Sam McCarter

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