We’ve been burning fossil fuels, such as oil, coal and gas for so many years now that we have burned a hole in the ozone layer. Repairing this is only possible if we stop doing damage now start using alternative resources such as solar, wind, geothermal and tidal power to generate out electricity and biodiesel for our vehicles.
Many people are getting behind the push for alternative resources, however powerful mining companies and others with vested interests are slowing progress. We need to get behind alternative energies and renewable sources of power and save the planet now for future generations!
Different Alternative Resources Being Used Right Now:
With depleting natural resources such as coal and oil, countries across the globe have been looking at generating power using alternative resources. The main sources of alternative energy include
1. Solar energy
2. Wind Energy
3. Tidal energy
4. Geo thermal energy
Producing electricity by making use of the sun’s heat has become popular over the last decade and a number of small and big electric generation power projects have been planned using the solar energy. Solar panels are the primary solar equipment that help in converting the sun’s heat in to electrical energy. Solar panels actually consist of a number of photo voltaic cells that are joined together as a single solar panel. Photo voltaic cells actually emit energy when they absorb the heat from the sun. This energy is then used to generate power capable of running small sized turbines. Installation of the solar panels is one of the most important activities in the solar power generation project. For domestic power generation needs, the solar panels can be installed on top of roof tops of individual apartments and also on top of the top most floors in an apartment complex. For commercial power generation needs, solar cells are installed in an open ground overlooking the sun shinning over head. The energy that is stored using the photo voltaic in the morning and afternoon is used to generate power in the night as there will not be sunlight available in the night to generate power.
This is another popular form of alternative energy, also known as a renewable source of energy. Wind energy is basically derived from wind mills or wind turbines that are installed in groups in big farms. Wind turbine farms are used extensively in the European countries to generate power. Compared to solar power, setting up wind farms is quite economical. One of the important phases in setting up wind farms is the correct site selection. A potential site should have constant source of wind through out the year. The actual turbine essentially consists of blades that are similar to the fan blades present in the domestic fans. These wind blades are made to rotate on a shaft that transmits the mechanical energy to the turbine that is connected to the shaft.
Tidal energy is another form of alternative resources obtained from energy available in the moving water in sea tides and ocean currents. The kinetic energy available in the tides and the ocean currents are used to drive turbines. These turbines are connected to the electric generators which generates the required power. The tides are caused by the magnetic pull exerted by the moon on the earth. The ocean currents are caused by the surface winds. The energy that is obtained from these two forms is inexhaustible and is potentially more dependable than the energy obtained from solar and wind power.
Geo Thermal energy:
Geo thermal energy is the energy obtained from the hot water and hot rocks, or magma, that are present below the earth’s surface area. When one goes deeper beneath the earth’s surface layer, magma or hot molten rock can be found. The heat and steam generated from these naturally available hot rocks can be used to generate power. Geo thermal heat pumps use this energy to heat and cool the commercial and industrial buildings.
Geothermal Power – A Huge Source of Untapped Energy:
What is geothermal power? Geothermal power is a natural source of energy that comes from within the earth itself. Heat from the interior of out still cooling planet can be tapped and used to power generators for producing electricity. Heat is also generated from radioactive decay, so this energy source will not run out any time soon! There is huge potential in geothermal energy as it is so vast and virtually untapped at this point in time.
Fortunately we are now recognizing the potential of geothermal power. This power source is best obtained in areas where it is near to the surface. Exploration to find the best places to build geothermal power plants is done by drilling which, unfortunately, is an expensive process. However there are many places that we know are good prospects for geothermal wells and these areas are called the “ring of fire” and are places of high tectonic activity.
When a well is drilled, piping is installed to transport super pressurized, heated water to the surface. The water either already exists underground, or is pumped down into the hot rock or magma where it is heated and pumped back up to the surface. This then forms steam which is used to power large electricity turbines. Any surplus water is reused and pumped back down into the well to be reheated.
Critics of geothermal energy complain that the expense of locating suitable well sites is too expensive and the whole operation is not cost effective. The facts are, however, that once these geothermal sources have been discovered and the power station have been build, there is very little expense from that point on and the heat source is practically inexhaustible. Another point to consider is that these days it is about more than just profit. If we don’t soon have reliable sources of alternative energy, such as geothermal, then what will we do when the coal and oil run out?
Apart from the energy consumed by the drilling of wells and construction of the power plants, geothermal power is very clean and emits no noxious gasses like the burning of fossil fuels. Because it will always be available, the costs of energy to the consumer would be able to be kept down.
Geothermal power is not the be all and end all where alternative energy is concerned, it is one of the many sources of alternative energy that is being successfully used in many parts of the world. As our technologies improve, hopefully this vast source of power will be easier to locate and extract making it more cost effective for governments to fund.
Creating More Energy Efficiency in Your Home:
Many people today are concerned about the cost of electricity and are looking for ways to cut back their energy usage. The easiest way for people to do this is to implement energy efficiency in homes by eliminating waste and using energy efficient appliances. Most appliances manufactured these days are designed to save energy, but one can also check the star rating to ensure that the appliance uses as little energy as possible.
Another way to ensure a home is energy efficient is to prevent warm air leaking out in winter or cool air in summer. This can be achieved by insulating the roof area which may be costly, but will eventually pay for itself by the savings in power costs. Double glass in windows is also effective as there is a lot of heat leakage through glass. Having insulated curtains or blinds and making sure all doors in the home fit properly without any gaps, are other ways to save on heating and cooling costs.
The Source and Cost of Green Electricity Generation:
What is going to power our homes and businesses when our supply of fossil fuels run out or become to expensive to use? Green electricity from renewable sources will be the power source of the future. We need energy to keep our economy functioning and have a constant supply of electricity to our homes and businesses. Green electricity comes from clean sources and will not lead to any release of noxious gasses, such as carbon monoxide into the atmosphere.
We already do create green electricity from sources such as solar, wind and hydro power, but we need to step up out efforts if we are going to reduce our reliance on coal and gas. More research is needed into green electricity generation methods such as biomass and wave power.
Some of these are in their infancy and as such, tend to cost more. The good news is people are becoming more aware of the need to protect our environment and are usually willing to pay a little extra to obtain green electricity.