When we choose to generate electricity from renewable energy instead of fossil fuels, we are making a decision which will benefit the public health. Pollution of air and water as a result of burning coal, and natural gas, is known to cause common breathing problems, heart attacks, neurological damage, and even cancer. In the current times, it is seen that replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy can reduce premature mortality and overall healthcare costs. It also leads to fewer workdays lost as the workers are operating in a safe environment. The aggregate national economic impact due to health impacts of fossil fuels falls between $362 and $887 billion; when translated to economic terms that accounts for about 3-6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
It has been established that solar, wind and hydroelectric systems generate electricity with almost nil associated air pollution emissions. While biomass and geothermal energy systems emit some air pollutants, overall air emissions are generally much lower than those natural gas-fired or coal-fired power plants.
In addition, solar and wind energy require fundamentally no water to operate. Thus they do not pollute water resources or strain water supply by competing with drinking water systems, agriculture, and other water needs. In contrast, fossil fuels have a substantial impact on water resources. Both coal mining and natural gas drilling can pollute sources of drinking water. Natural gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing – fracking – requires large amounts of water and all thermal power plants, including those powered by coal, gas, and oil, withdraw and consume water for cooling. In addition, Geothermal and bio-mass power plants require water for cooling.