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Running Head: ALTERNATIVE ENERGY
Alternative energy is a key step to overcoming the global energy crisis. Non-renewable energy resources face the problem of depletion throughout. As such, there is a dire need of investigating alternative energy. This paper explores the various forms of alternative energies, their cost of adoption, and adaptability potential. The paper also looks at the public perception and contribution towards alternative energy. In addition, the paper depicts the influence of technology on alternative energy and illustrates the correlation between green building and alternative energy.
Table of Contents
For any society to survive in an effective manner, it needs two fundamental, natural resources. These resources are fresh water and energy. According to Black and Flared (2010), a normal human being may never survive if the body lacks water for a few days. The existence of energy in the universe takes many forms. This includes gasoline used to fuel a car, sunshine for growth of human and animal plants, and electricity that finds application as a source of power in most of the industries. As such, without energy, human beings would starve and consequently their bodies would stop functioning (Black, & Flared, 2010). Utilization of this energy costs money. There is a need of adopting effective measures that would safeguard from prevalence of an energy crisis, as a result of increment in the cost of energy.
Challenges experienced in the supply and demand of energy, in general, and considering fossil energy source, in particular, are many (Simon, 2007). These challenges include the effect of energy on the environment, and cost of energy. To overcome the challenges, there is a need of adopting alternative energy strategies. In addition, adoption of green building leads to a reduction of the energy consumption levels.
Alternative energy depicts all kinds of energy used in place of coal, fossil fuels, and natural gas. Alternative energy incorporates renewable energy. Renewable energy refers to energy sources, which find regeneration from natural process that, occur in the universe. Alternative energy sources include solar energy, biomass energy, energy from methane gas, wind power energy, geothermal energy, and hydroelectric power energy (Simon, 2007).
The sun is the key source of energy. Energy from the sun finds absorption by the plants. Consumption of plants parts disseminates this energy to the human body. The plant energy may also find use directly through conversion into the form of ethanol. Living plants and tiny organisms acts as the major sources of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels include coal, natural gas, and oil, and they form part of the nonrenewable energy found in planet earth. Forms of renewable energy include solar energy, geothermal energy, and wind energy. These forms of energy have the ability of regenerating themselves in a rate equivalent to the extraction rate.
The global supply of nonrenewable energy is facing circumstances of depletion of the energy source. The nonrenewable energy facing depletion includes oil, natural gas, and coal. Despite the fact that nuclear energy is available, the use of the energy is too dangerous. According to Simon (2007), it does not matter the degree of research that will aid in refilling the reserves of nonrenewable energy, shortfalls on demand and supply of energy will occur. He further claims that the consumption rate of energy exceeds the number of available reserves, or additional reserve discoveries. As such, without an alternative energy source, energy crisis will emerge in the universe. This depicts that there is a need of exploring possible alternative energy sources, to safeguard the future industrial and commercial sectors.
The existing nonrenewable energy (oil and natural gas) have a characteristic of environmental pollution. This results in altering the ecosystem and affects fauna and flora directly. In addition, the wastes from these energy sources find their way to the atmosphere where they contribute significantly to global warming. This has side effects of changing the climatic patterns of planet earth. Moreover, the wastes are effective agents of air pollution. Therefore, in order to limit these side effects of nonrenewable energy, there is a need to shift to other alternatives for energy sources.
According to Simon (2007), alternative energy is a key contributor to promotion of economic and social justice. This also includes promotion of the development of an energy independent universe. This provides a normative answer to the need of adopting alternative energy sources.
Alternative energy sources have a characterization of development as the technology sector appreciates a myriad of dynamics. The changes in level of technology globally have led to discovery of these energy sources that remained undiscovered for a long period. The alternative energy sources represent future expectations of the global energy. However, most people have not yet discovered the alternative forms of energy. Nevertheless, as the technology level changes and globalization take place, people will appreciate the alternative forms of energy.
The cost of alternative energy has an element of affordability. Considering alternative energy sources such as solar and wind, the cost associated with the use of these types of energy are relatively small in comparison to cost of use of fossil fuels. This result in adoption, in the use of alternative energy sources since they are economically feasible. Consequently, the demand for alternative energy has increased globally (Simon, 2007).
Simon (2007) claim that, in many regions, in the universe, the government provides tax incentives and grants to aid producers of alternative energy sell the energy in power grid. This makes many individuals venture in alternative energy as a form of business. The result of this is extensive innovation and development of alternative energy. This has also led to the emergence of firms that concentrate on producing or manufacturing alternative sources of energy. The firms have further established a competitive environment for their individual alternative energy. However, this has benefitted the public since these firms carry out extensive advertising. Therefore, the public gets the information with regard to alternative energy.
Solar energy has source from the sun. The energy harnessing occurs via the use of solar collector cells or solar cells. The harnessing process of sunlight is quite easy and free. However, for large-scale energy plants, the harnessing of sunlight is quite difficult. The harnessing of solar energy finds application in generation of electricity in homes. With regard to cost of solar energy, the cost has proved affordability level since it involves acquirement of the solar panels and installation. Solar energy has received global acceptance as a “green future” since the energy is environmentally friendly and has no pollution effects to the environment.
The most common technologies of solar energy include solar thermal, silicon, and thin-film. These technologies produce solar panels, which appear in the market in different sizes. These sizes of the solar panels have different solar energy harnessing capacities, as well as the rate of electrical energy generation potential. Thus, individuals choose the solar panels based on the amount of electrical energy they desire to generate for their homes.
However, solar energy has inherent limitations. The material used in the manufacture of solar panels, for example, tin oxide (SnO2) has a significant effect in contamination of water and soil. Tin oxide finds application in the manufacture of solar panels in production of electron collector grids. Installation of solar energy systems that need use of concrete footings results in land clearing. This has side effects distracting the native plants and animals of their natural setting. Finally, solar collectors of most systems trap dust and any other kind of dirt, which minimizes the area of solar collectors exposed to the sun. This results into collection of a limited amount of solar energy. Consequently, cleaning of the solar collectors takes place with the use of industrial solvent cleaners or water. The products of cleaning have the side effect of destroying native streams through contamination. In addition, the soil receives a considerable amount of contamination from these products.
Simon (2007) argues that wind energy is probably as old as the discovery of the wheel during the era of the agricultural revolution. Wind energy calls for use of blades to make propellers that collect the energy in a rotary motion. Despite the fact that wind energy has vulnerability to changes in weather conditions, the alt.............
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