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Alternative Sources of Energy Essay
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In the U.S., fossil fuels produce up to 80% of all energy that we consume. Our current level of dependence on fossil fuels puts us on track for a rapid depletion of these finite materials. Meaning, if we’re not careful, we will run out of our precious, non-renewable resources. That means no more oil, natural gas, and even coal.
Burning fossil fuels in power plants is hard also on the environment. We’re talking about everything from ocean and air pollution to the destruction of entire ecosystems.
The good news is, we’re now able to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas, thanks to the growth of alternative energy sources. This article will discuss what alternative energy is and why it’s so important that we transition from our dependence on fossil fuels to alternative energy sources. We’ll also take a look at the difference between alternative and renewable energy sources, along with what sources of energy we’re using today to meet our energy needs.
Fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) are our most traditional source for power generation. Therefore, the energy that’s produced from any source other than fossil fuels is alternative energy. In other words, alternative energy is any amount of energy derived from non-fossil fuel sources. Generally speaking, using alternative energy has a low environmental impact.
We now know that alternative energy sources are any source we use to supplement or even replace traditional energy sources used for power generation. You could almost say the same thing about renewable energy sources. But there is one subtle difference between the two. All renewable energy sources fall under the category of alternative energy sources, but it doesn’t work the other way around.
That’s because renewable energy sources are derived from naturally replenished sources or processes of Earth, such as the sun, wind, and water. We refer to these resources as renewable or sustainable (as in sustainable energy) since, unlike fossil fuels, this naturally occurring continual renewal makes them inexhaustible. However, it’s possible for there to be alternative energy sources that are exhaustible, and therefore not renewable. That’s the difference. So what alternative energy source is exhaustible? You’ll have to continue reading to find out.
The equipment necessary to harness energy from alternative sources used to be so expensive that it wasn’t practical for consumer use. However, thanks to increased demand, more experienced energy developers, competitive supply chains, improved renewable technologies, and enhanced energy efficiency capabilities, that’s no longer the case.
In fact, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) released a report back in 2020 showing how renewable power has now become increasingly cheaper than fossil fuels for electricity generation. Let’s look at a few of the best alternative energy sources we use today.
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Onshore wind power and solar photovoltaics, respectively, are currently the most affordable options when it comes to energy production. Using these two natural resources over coal could save as much as $23 billion in yearly power system expenses. It could also lower annual carbon dioxide emissions by 1.8 gigatons. Bioenergy, geothermal energy, hydroelectric power, and nuclear energy are also making their way into the financially competitive spotlight, depending significantly on location.
When it comes to energy efficiency, the leader of the renewable energy pack is wind energy. Behind wind comes geothermal energy, hydropower, nuclear energy, and then solar power.
Out of all the known energy sources, nuclear energy has the highest capacity factor by far. Nuclear power plants are able to produce maximum power over 93% of the time on an annual basis. Next in line comes geothermal, followed by natural gas.
Natural gas is considered the cleanest burning and most reliable fossil fuel, but it still isn’t a clean energy resource. However, there is an alternative called renewable natural gas (RNG). RNG also goes by the name of biomethane and is produced from livestock, landfill waste, and other organic materials through anaerobic digestion. While it’s not a fossil fuel, RNG is completely identical to conventional natural gas in chemical make-up, allowing them to use the same distribution system.
As it turns out, wind energy, which uses turbines to harness its power from the wind, is one of the cleanest and most sustainable forms of electricity generation. It’s able to produce energy without generating any pollutants or global warming emissions. Plus, the land and animal impact of wind turbines is minimal.
As alternative energy technologies continue to improve, the cost simultaneously falls. Solar and wind power have unlocked the potential to generate an energy reserve plentiful enough to meet the world’s demand. When you look at how affordable, effective, and economically friendly these powerhouses are, you begin to see how we could displace fossil fuels within the next 30 years.
Most consumers agree that the benefits of using alternative energy sources far outweigh any drawbacks. Not to mention, improved technology is continually emerging to address and eliminate the disadvantages of various renewable resources.
You now understand the importance of making the switch to alternative energy sources and why it’s so vital to a healthy future, but how can you go about making this necessary change? When you’re ready, contact your energy supplier. Let them know that you’d like to choose a new electricity plan or natural gas plan as part of your energy conservation efforts. Inquire about green energy products and plan options to get started on your new sustainable lifestyle.
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Alternative Sources of Energy Essay
When will we switch to renewable sources of energy? Such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power. In this Alternative Sources of Energy essay, the author argues that the Sun and wind have the potential to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and lower carbon emissions. Read the paper to learn about the challenges, limitations, and benefits of implementing alternative energy sources. A particular part is dedicated to the importance of government policies in promoting the development and use of alternative energy sources. Overall, the essay on alternative sources of energy presents a comprehensive overview of the current state of renewable energy and its potential for shaping our future.
Solar power, course of action, works cited.
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The world has been overly relying on oil as a source of energy to fuel most of its operations. It is important to note that as much as 80% of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuel. Unfortunately, the fossil deposits we have in the world cannot last forever. They will be depleted one day and cause a lot of problems in the world. Therefore, efforts should be made to ensure that other sources of energy are found so that when fossil fuel gets depleted the world does not come to a halt. In this regard, many people especially in the U.S. have been concerned with the steps that the government is taking towards encouraging development of other sources of energy. Consequently, the government has been urged to reduce restrictions impeding the development of renewable sources of energy and increase funding of the same. However, to address this issue, it is better to understand some of the sources renewable energy.
Among the proposed sources of power to be used is solar energy. Solar energy is a renewable source of energy because the sun has been there and can only be absent for a very short period of time. On the same note, harnessing of solar energy is noise proof which means that noise pollution is avoided when using solar power (Boxwell 58). Similarly, solar power is environmental friendly because it does not produce any form of pollution. In addition, equipments used in the production of solar power are cheap to maintain thus the long run cost of production is low. Moreover, it is easy and cheap to install appliances of solar power. Similarly, the electricity produced from solar energy can be used to power virtually every thing that uses power (Boxwell 59). It is also important to note that the production of solar power does not lead to environmental degradation like digging up the ground or deforestation. However, solar power has its disadvantages. To begin with, some people have argued that the initial cost of installing solar power harnessing equipment is very high. Additionally, harnessing of solar power is affected by whether and cannot be done during cloudy or rainy days and at night. Therefore, another source of energy is needed to act as a back up (Boxwell 60).
On the other hand, wind energy is also another source of energy that can replace fossil fuel. Wind energy does not emit green house gases which are dangerous to the environment. Furthermore, no fossil fuels are burnt to produce wind energy thus it does not pollute the environment (Miller and Scott 407). Besides, extraction of wind energy is more efficient given the advancement in technology. The turbines used to produce wind power only occupy little space at the base leaving room for other activities to be done on the ground. Moreover, wind energy is highly applicable in under developed parts of a country and can add to the tax base of the area. In addition, renewable sources of energy, wind being among them, require minimal subsidies to maintain. On the same note, the cost of producing wind power is constant and therefore prices for wind power do not fluctuate. Most importantly, wind is free and thus cost of producing wind power is low in the long run (Miller and Scott 407). It is crucial, however, to highlight that wind power has its share of disadvantages. Firstly, wind power depends on the flow of wind. On the days when the weather is calm wind power might not be generated. On the same note, the initial cost of producing wind power is quite high and individuals may not afford it (Miller and Scott 408). Lastly, power produced by the turbines is insufficient compared to power produced by fossil fuels.
Despite the disadvantages of wind and solar power, their advantages are definitely more. They are renewable and therefore they will never get depleted. Sooner or later the government will have to find alternative ways of producing power. Consequently, it is high time that the government increased its financial support in the production of the two types of power (Miller and Scott 407). Reduction of restrictions is necessary but it might not be sufficient given the heavy initial cost. Similarly, renewable sources of energy, especially wind and solar power, are both economically and environmentally viable in the long run hence the need to invest in them.
The fact that the country currently satisfies most of its energy requirements should not blind our eyes. We will need to think of how we will operate in future. The fossil fuel that forms the giant part of energy source will definitely be exhausted with time. It will be a great disservice to the future generations if we do not find sustainable energy sources. Consequently, the government has no option but to encourage the production wind and solar energy.
Boxwell, Michael. Solar Electricity Handbook: A simple. Practical Guide to Solar Energy-Designing and Installing Photovoltaic Solar Electric Systems . Warwickshire: Greenstream Publishing, 2010. Print. Miller, Tyler G. and Scott Spoolman. Living in the Environment: Principles, Connections, and Solutions . Stanford: Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.
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Renewable Energy Persuasive Essay
12 April 2016
Out with the Old, In with the Re(new)able
The United States has been operating as a country using limited fossil fuels, but what happens when it all runs out? Would it not be more beneficial to never find out? Renewable energy, energy that is not depleted after its use, is limitless and more sustainable than any other source in energy history. To initiate the clean energy movement is expensive, but there are countless benefits ranging from individual to global impacts in going completely renewable. The first recorded use of renewable energy was harnessing wind power to drive ships over water about 7000 years ago (Darling). However, renewable energy has been around as long as Earth has existed: wind, sun, geothermal, biomass and many more. Clean energy sources can be harnessed to produce electricity, process heat, fuel and other chemicals with significantly less impact on the environment. In 2014, renewable energy sources accounted for fourteen percent of America’s total electricity use (“Renewable Energy Sources”), a four percent incline from the prior year. Completely diverting from fossil fuels to renewable energy clearly is not a new concept for a select few of innovative countries. A few countries, for example, are Costa Rica, Norway and Iceland, all of whom have ran on renewable energy for the entire 2015 calendar year, diving deep into their own land’s resources and utilizing volcanic presence to produce energy (Rosecrance & Thompson 7). Following in the footsteps of Costa Rica and a few other third world countries, major economic powerhouses and biggest users of fossil fuels like the United States should convert to clean energy as a way to benefit the economy, environment and overall health of the country.
As a consumer, one is worried about how abandoning a safe form of energy and transitioning to something new can help or hurt their wallet. Not only can renewable energy help save money, it can also help make money. A 150 billion dollar investment into this new industry would result in 1.7 million job opportunities, reducing the unemployment rate in America by an entire percentage (Pollin & Heintz). The reason for the potential high employment rate is because the industry is labor intensive in the means of installation and maintenance, requiring a lot of manpower for ultimate success. However, the more we wait the more future benefits we are currently losing. In an American Solar Energy Association (ASES) report in 2009, they stated “the 2008 predictions for renewable energy industry in 2030 are significantly lower than the 2007 predictions (National Research Council 169).” Unlike fossil fuels, which are subject to volatile pricing fluctuating over time depending on the market, renewable energy is relatively “free” after installation, using natural resources. The process of transportation and maintenance is minimized allowing prices to stay constant throughout the years. The only way price can head is down; for instance, clean energy is more affordable than 25 years ago. In particular, wind energy, the fastest growing source of power, prices have declined from forty cents per kilowatt per hour to less than five cents per kilowatt per hour (“The Energy Story”), a remarkable change and a huge upside in favor of the conversion. As time continues, technology should continue its progression resulting in cheaper mediums to acquire the energy. Despite of this, the conversion should take place now so results are maximized for the future. All in all, clean energy can both save Americans money while help them make money, the perfect win-win for producers and consumers alike.
Abstaining from burning countless, yet limited fossil fuels every day and polluting the environment is the single biggest benefactor for moving towards a cleaner approach. Not only would greenhouse gas emissions, as well as other pollutants that cause smog and acid rain, reach minimal levels, but also the country is consequently assisting in the reduction of the global warming speed and effects. Unlike fossil fuels, which are unable to be replenished easily, renewable energy is limitless, feeding from natural resources. With the global and national population expected to continue rising, the demand for energy will follow. There is a multitude of different approaches to acquire renewable energy including the most used types: solar and wind power. Specifically, solar energy is the epitome of sustainability and efficiency, calculated through production and prices. Despite the massive amounts of energy used yearly nationwide, “the sunlight falling on the United States in one day contains more than twice the energy we consume in an entire year ( The Energy Story ).” As for wind power, “California [alone] has enough wind gusts to produce 11 percent of the world’s wind electricity ( The Energy Story).” Wind turbines take up a lot of space but still allow the area around it, usually farms, to be used regularly. In the United Kingdom, for comparison, the government set a target for renewable energy to make up 15 percent of their total energy expense by 2020. This motive results in a 34 percent cut in the country’s carbon emission in the same time span (National Research Council 180). Needless to say, renewable energy will make landmark strides in the progression towards a cleaner, better environment. The most important thing on this Earth is this Earth, and it’s society’s job to maintain it.
As well as helping the environment and wallets, renewable energy can help with everyone’s health. By cutting the emission of greenhouse gasses and fossil fuels, air pollution decreases. Air pollution, primarily those contributed through coal burning power plants emitting fine-particulate pollutants, is most associated with causing health problems, chiefly lung cancer. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) predicts that conversion, or even standards, will prevent at least 100,000 heart attacks and asthma attacks per year. Additionally, EPA also estimates a projected 1,100 billion dollar income in health benefits due to avoiding illnesses and deaths (U.S. EPA). As a form of partnership, the health industry could invest a portion of this money into the clean air movement due to its beneficial health impacts and help make installation cheaper. A majority of these pollutants are associated with dangerous levels of climate change, this century’s biggest threat to human health. Climate change, a change in global climate patterns, “will increasingly jeopardize the fundamental requirements for health, including clean urban air, safe and sufficient drinking-water, a secure and nutritious food supply, and adequate shelter (World Health Organization).” Climate change is the main contributor and accelerator towards global warming. Global warming increases the risk of two deadly diseases: Plague and Ebola, to name a few. For Plague, changes in temperature and rainfall will affect rodent populations as well as the infected fleas they carry. Additionally, Ebola outbreaks tend to follow serious downpours or droughts, a likely result of climate change (Biello). The movement would not only lower the pollution rate and risk of infection, but also save countless lives across the globe during the process.
America, along with most other countries, needs to initiate their plans towards a more sustainable, cleaner form of energy. Renewable energy helps increase the production of the economy through the addition of million of jobs. Simultaneously, energy prices would be lower, also helping the consumer save money. However, it is vital to start now. The longer the wait, the less benefits are reaped. Likewise, the clean air movement will mark the beginning of recovery for the environment. Greenhouse gases and other emission will reach all time lows, possibly zero. This deduction is important to slow the rate of climate change and global warming. Stopping climate change and gas emissions in its tracks would also lead to more health benefits. There are dozens of deadly diseases and carriers that spawn from the irregular climate patterns. Also, climate change could affect physiological needs by lessening safe drinking water, food supply and shelter. The United States has a reputation of being an innovator, a leader for many countries. Why has it been so lackadaisical with something so important to everything in today’s society? It has a history of being scared of change; people are too comfortable with life as it is, but it could be better. With the United States recently moving in the right direction, it will be better.
Biello, David. “Diseases Due to Climate Change.” Scientific American . N.p., 8 Oct. 2008. Web. 9 Apr. 2016.
Darling, David. “Wind Energy.” Encyclopedia of Alternative Energy . N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
National Research Council, and Chinese Academy of Sciences. The Power of Renewables: Opportunities and Challenges for China and the United States . Washington, D.C.: National Academies, 2010. Print.
Pollin, Robert, and James Heintz. “The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy.” Center for American Progress . N.p., 18 June 2009. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.
“Renewable Energy Sources – Energy Explained, Your Guide To Understanding Energy – Energy Information Administration.” EIA . US Energy Information Administration, 17 Mar. 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
Rosecrance, Richard, and Peter Thompson. “Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment.” Annual Review of Political Science 6.1 (2003): 7. UNEP . United Nations Environment Programme, 13 Oct. 2014. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
“The Energy Story – Chapter 17: Renewable Energy vs. Fossil Fuels.” The Energy Story . California Energy Commission, n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
U.S. EPA. “Cleaning Up Toxic Air Pollution.” Benefits and Costs of Cleaning up Toxic Air Pollution (n.d.): n. pag. EPA . Environment Protection Agency. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
World Health Organization. Renewable Energy (n.d.): 7. WHO . World Health Organization, 2012. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
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In other words, alternative energy is any amount of energy derived from non-fossil fuel sources. Generally speaking, using alternative energy has a low environmental impact. We now know that alternative energy sources are any source we use to supplement or even replace traditional energy sources used for power generation.
Alternative energy sources are forms of energy that use natural resources to produce energy. There are three main alternative energy sources that can be used in the place of fossil fuels, which are Nuclear, Solar, Wind, and Hydroelectric. Fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas are decreasing and eventually will run out.
However, renewable energy has been around as long as Earth has existed: wind, sun, geothermal, biomass and many more. Clean energy sources can be harnessed to produce electricity, process heat, fuel and other chemicals with significantly less impact on the environment.
Alternative energy sources are forms of energy that use natural resources to produce energy. There are three main alternative energy sources that can be used in the place of fossil fuels, which are Nuclear, Solar, Wind, and Hydroelectric. Fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas are decreasing and eventually will run out.