This research report analyzes the growing interest of the use renewable energy as an alternative to the non-renewable energy. In the past, the world has totally relied on traditional energy sources like gas, oil, and coal. The global growth of industrialization in the entire world especially in China, India, and developed countries like Japan, Europe, and US has increased global demand for oil (Boyle 2004, p.5). Over years, there have been is a gradual decrease in supply of oil by both OPEC and Non-OEC members. Furthermore, the oil reserves are not sufficient to meet the ever-growing demand for energy. Over dependency on fossil energy is rapidly changing the climate of the world and increasing the threat of global warming.
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Issue of discussion
Fossil fuel is a non-renewable energy source. With the current rate of coal depletion, the world reserves will only last for two hundred years. Coal is very expensive to transport and when burned it produces a number of by-products. The by-products include carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and ash, which have severe impacts on the environment. When mixed with water, carbon dioxide forms acid rain. These rains kill vegetation, destroy living organisms, and damage structures. Coal mining destroys large tracks of land and has negative impacts on surface water and ground. Due to these negative impacts, technology has been designed to remove emissions of coal combustion and now power plants follow strict guidelines. This has increased cost of constructing coal power plants.
Nuclear is a controversial energy source. When large nuclei atom split, they release large amounts of energy capable of producing steam and driving turbines and generators. This splitting has caused many catastrophic accidents and thus stringent safety rules and regulations have been implemented in nuclear power plants. Due to this, construction of the plants is very expensive and takes a lot of time to finish. Furthermore, nuclear by products are very toxic. Disposing the nuclear waste has been a challenge ever since.
Substitute energy sources have many benefits to the society and the environment and this is the reason why oil and gas companies should shift to renewable energy (Krueger 2010, p.45). These alternative renewable and environmental friendly energy sources are indicated below.
This method uses the force of falling water to generate electrical power. It uses two methods to produce hydroelectric power: pumped storage and dams. In reservoirs, electric power is produced from flowing water that drives the turbines of water generators. The power produced relies on the amount of water and the dissimilarity in height between the water supply and its exit. This height disparity is referred to as hydroelectric head. If the power demand is small, surplus energy drains water to fill up the top water reservoir. If the power demand is high, water pour out through turbines into the subordinate reservoirs.
This system has several advantages. First, it eliminates the cost of fuel. Hydroelectric plants, on the other hand have longer economic lives. The plants can function for more than one hundred years. The plants are very cheap to operate since they are automated and so have few technicians on site who monitor its operation. Another advantage of hydropower is that it can reduce carbon dioxide emission. We can conclude that the cleanest power in the world is hydroelectricity.
Solar power involves use of sunlight to produce electricity. This is directly done using photovoltaic cells or indirectly using intense solar power that focuses the energy from the sun to boil water, which is intern, used to generate power. This method has two advantages. First, it is almost 100% free. Solar power does not require ongoing and costly materials such as oil and coal, and the cost of operation is significantly below other conventional power production methods (Langwith 2009, p.34). Therefore, fewer personnel are required to monitor this process. In addition, resources are not extracted or transported to the plant saving on transportation fees..
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Another advantage of solar power is the decentralization of power. The conventional fuels like oil and coal are normally transported over long distances. If people switch to solar power, they can produce a lot of electricity enough to fulfil their domestic demand. The supply of energy, on the other hand, will be more stable if people do not import fuel for power generation.
Wind power comprises of the alteration of moving wind into a precious type of energy. Wind turbines can be used to produce electrical power, wind pumps for water pumping, and windmills for mechanical power. In order to produce electricity, wind turbine is used to convert wind to kinetic energy. Typically, wind energy devices comprise of horizontal wind turbine designs with several blades that interlinks to a nacelle situated at the top of wind towers. In a wind farm, every turbine is connected with a medium voltage collection of power system and a communication network. At the power generation plants, electric energy’s voltage is raised significantly before being linked to transmission networks.
Wind power has one main advantage. It uses less water and does not pollute the environment. This type of energy exists constantly as long as there is wind. During the process of energy generation, no greenhouse gas is released to the atmosphere. Steady power wind power can be attained if the turbines are positioned in areas with constant and regular winds. Such areas include the coastal areas or mountain sites.
Another form of renewable energy source is Geothermal. This form of energy relies on thermal energy produced in the earth’s core. For decades, geothermal energy has been exploited in various countries. Geothermal gradient pushes steady conduction of energy in form of heat form to the surface. The main advantage of geothermal process is that it does not use any form of fossil fuels and so no greenhouse gas is emitted. There is minimal maintenance after construction of geothermal power plant, so only few personnel are employed to maintain the process. In the end, cost is saved.
Fossil fuel, which the world depends on for power is slowly running out. Burning of fossil fuels has led to global warming and serious pollution of the environment. To help avert this danger, I recommend renewable as a better alternative source of energy. More researches should be undertaken to enhance the efficiency of the use renewable energy as an alternative to the non-renewable energy. Equally, governments should offer incentives to encourage their citizens to adopt renewable forms of energy. Renewable energy is a bold step to independence on fossil fuels and cleaner environment for our future generations.
Boyle, G 2004, Renewable energy, Oxford University Press in association with the Open University, Oxford.
Krueger, L 2010. The energy crisis, Greenhaven Press, Detroit, MI.
Langwith, J 2009, Renewable energy, Greenhaven Press,Detroit.