The variety of fuels used to generate electricity all have some impact on the environment. Fossil fuel power plants release air pollution, require large amounts of cooling water, and can mar large tracts of land during the mining process. Nuclear power plants are generating and accumulating copious quantities of radioactive waste that currently lack any repository. Even renewable energy facilities can affect wildlife (fish and birds), involve hazardous wastes, or require cooling water.
For specifics on any issue:
- Climate change
- Acid rain
- Ozone (smog) and fine particulates
- Air toxics (mercury)
- Consumption of water resources
- Pollution of water bodies
- On-site land impacts
- Off-site land impacts
Also see technologies for details on the various methods of producing electricity.