Alternative Energy – Types Of Alternate Power Sources
The search for alternative energy has become an urgent necessity as the world grapples with the twin problems of global warming and dwindling fossil fuels. Conventional sources of energy that have powered the rapid strides we have made in the last 150 years are fast dwindling. At the present rates of consumption the world will soon run out of oil and gas in another 50 years. Coal is available but it is very polluting energy resource and is a leading cause for global warming.
High Costs Of Alternate Energy
There are plenty of ways to generate alternative energy resources. But, the technologies available to exploit them for commercial use were not as cost-effective as they are for the fossil fuels. The cost of producing one megawatt power from alternates like wind energy and solar energy is much more than for producing the same amount of electricity using coal and gas. This is one of main reasons why renewable energies are lagging far behind the conventional sources. Else, the technology and know-how for producing electricity from sun, wind and oceans has been around for several decades.
As cost of producing electricity using coal and gas become unacceptably high due to the ill-effects of pollution and rising prices of these precious resources more attention is being focussed on better and efficient ways of making energy out of essentially free resources like the sun and the wind. Several countries in Europe and Asia have started to make tremendous investments in these alternative energy technologies to reduced their dependence on the traditional ways of making electricity.
Investing In A Green Tomorrow
Countries like Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Japan and newer economies like China, India and Brazil are making massive investments into alternative energy. Several of these countries are generating significant chunks of their energy needs from alternate energy sources like wind, sun and the oceans.
Nuclear power is also another alternate energy but since, it is highly difficult to dispose off the radio active nuclear wastes generated by these power plants they are losing a lot of public support. The major disaster that followed the destruction of Fukushima Nuclear Reactor due to Tsunami waves in early 2011 has not boded well for this power source. More and more people are turning wary of trusting a power over which we have very little control once it gets out of hand as demonstrated by the Fukushima plant.
Germany in a surprise move decided to shut down all its nuclear plants in a phased manner as the facilities were all very old and the government did not want a repeat of what happened in Japan on their soil. It has to be noted that Germany has invested a lot of money into solar power and most houses in the country are now generating enough solar energy to power at least part of their needs.
Nuclear power once the darling alternate energy because of its clean nature with no emission of green house gases as become a pariah overnight though it is not really the end of the road for nuclear energy. In reality nuclear power can be safely generated if all precautions and safeguards are correctly followed. But, it would be an uphill task to convince the general population.
Overcoming Prejudice And Opposition
The adoption of alternative energy like wind and solar power has been steadily increasing but there is some amount of opposition from traditional power companies. It is natural as they feel threatened that their very existence is at stake. But, the smarter companies are ploughing back their profits into alternative energy and hooking up their power plants to be able to supply this generated power to the households and industries. They are also offering to take the excess power you generate from your solar panels and put it back into their grid to be used elsewhere. This is called net metering. They give you credit for this excess power which can be used when you draw electricity from the grid. It’s win-win situation for the both the power company and the end consumer.
Another, advantage is the the electricity cables that supplies power to you and which has been laid out at great expense to the power company can be effectively utilized by the above system of net metering. In the western world almost every home is less than 50 feet away from a power outlet. That’s a tremendous resource which we take for granted but is a invaluable in terms how much we have benefitted from it and how much more benefit it can give us in the future.
As we look towards the future it is important to start embracing alternative energy in a big way as it is only method through which we can tackle the undesirable effects of global warming and our march towards self-reliance in the field of energy.