Our planet has been severely damaged by the uncontrolled human activity, especially in terms of air pollution. Burning of fossil fuels has increased greenhouse gas emissions, thus making the atmosphere warm at an alarmingly high speed (Ciplet, Roberts, & Khan, 2015). Alternative sources of energy can become the solution to the problem of environmental protection. They are safer and more sustainable in the long-term perspective and can also help reduce countries’ dependence on limited gas and oil resources (Engdahl, 2015). In this essay, I describe the most popular alternative sources of energy, such as solar, wind, geothermal, etc. and discuss the main advantages of each.
Alternative sources of energy are any sources, which use renewable energy that does not harm the planet. Solar energy is one of the most popular, sustainable, and accessible sources with unlimited potential. With the help of solar panels or solar thermal, solar energy is trapped and used to heat water, while more sophisticated Photovoltaic (PV) Cells convert energy into electricity and can store it for further use (Balfour, Shaw, & Jarosek, 2011). It is the most promising source of energy from the conservational perspective because sunlight can be effectively transformed into electricity without harming the environment (Foster, Ghassemi, & Cota, 2009). Moreover, solar energy is beneficial from the economic perspective because it is available in abundant quantity, especially in developing African states. Although solar panels are still relatively expensive, their use can help reduce dependence on oil resources and ensure energy security for years to come.
Wind is another powerful source of energy that can serve as a perfect alternative to fossil fuels. Wind turbines are increasingly used worldwide to convert the kinetic energy into electricity to drive machines or power our homes. Similar to solar energy described above, wind power is totally safe and clean and does not affect the environment (Wagner & Mathur, 2012). Building wind power plants in regions with high winds can reduce economic and political dependence on oil producers and create new jobs. Countries harnessing wind power can take advantage of the inexhaustible and sustainable supply of energy that does not depend on prices or natural resources.
Geothermal and hydroelectric power can also be used as alternatives to the harmful fossil fuels. Similar to the sun and wind, water can be the powerful source of clean energy that improves public health and environmental quality (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2013). New technologies can transform the kinetic power of tidal waves, ocean currents, rivers, and pressurized hot streams coming from the earth’s surface into electricity. The main benefits of this source of energy are that no fuel is required and no harmful by-products are produced. Finally, one also needs to mention the biomass energy, which can at least reduce the amount of fossil fuels used, if not replace them altogether. Although this source of energy is comparatively ineffective compared to other traditional and alternative sources, it does not create any greenhouse emissions and can use biological materials efficiently and with no harm to the environment (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2013).
As seen from the description, alternative sources of energy are clean, environmentally-friendly, and sustainable. Sun, wind, water, and biological materials are available in every part of the world, so it is easy to combine them in an efficient manner to minimize the use of fossil fuels. Power plants using renewables typically convert kinetic energy into electricity, thus generating almost unlimited amount of electricity to satisfy the needs of the population. Given these advantages of alternative energy sources, one may conclude that countries need to invest more in advanced power plants instead of relying on limited gas and oil resources that harm the environment.
Balfour, J. R., Shaw, M., & Jarosek, S. (2011). Introduction to photovoltaics. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Ciplet, D., Roberts, J. T., & Khan, M. R. (2015). Power in a warming world: The new global politics of climate change and the remaking of environmental inequality. Boston, MA: MIT Press.
Engdahl, S. (2015). Energy alternatives. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press.
Foster, R., Ghassemi, M., & Cota, A. (2009). Solar energy: Renewable energy and the environment. Boca Raton, CA: CRC Press.
Union of Concerned Scientists. (2013). Benefits of renewable energy use. Retrieved from http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/renewable-energy/public-benefits-of-renewable-power#.WW8aTfnyjIV
Wagner, H.-J., & Mathur, J. (2012). Introduction to wind energy systems: Basics, technology and operation. New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media.
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