Alternative Energy Represents Attractive Options
The traditional form of energy the world over refers to fossil fuels. This motley term includes crude oil, petroleum products, coal and the like. Fossil fuels are carbon-derived substances that have formed from the remains of dead organic matter over a period of time spanning millions of years. As a source of energy, their supplies are limited, and cannot be replenished. Moreover, the reckless consumption of coal and petroleum worldwide has naturally drawn attention to the environmental hazards of this mode of energy. Global warming, the rising incidence of asthma, and various other ills may be traced to an increasing burning of fossil fuels. As a result, the need for the adoption of alternative energy modes has made itself starkly felt in recent times. Several types of alternative energy have been developed in varying degrees. In the sections below, we briefly discuss four major forms of alternative energy.
Hydroelectricity: Ancient and Developed Mode
Energy derived from water is known as hydroelectricity. This essentially employs the force of falling water, as seen in naturally occurring waterfalls, to turn turbines for the generation of mechanical or electrical energy. Hydroelectricity is among the oldest and most widely used forms of alternative power. Regions that have a number of rivers and streams make fertile ground for the construction of dams to store water in huge amounts. Hydroelectric dams can provide power to an entire city at cheap tariff. However, the construction and management of hydroelectric dams do entail considerable finances and expertise respectively. An index of the popularity and success of this mode can be gauged from the fact that presently, almost 20 percent of humanity’s power needs worldwide are being met by hydroelectricity. In addition, hydro power comprises nearly 90 percent of all the power that gets generated globally by the combined diverse alternative forms of energy.
Wind Power: Feasible but Unreliable
Employing the force of the winds for the generation of electricity recommends itself as a form of alternative energy in its being inexpensive, easy to operate, and environment-friendly. Areas that are home to intense winds make ideal locations for the setting up of windmills. Such regions can merrily employ their force to turn windmills that can be used to generate oodles of electricity. Windmills are easy to construct and the force of the winds causes them to move, and to eventually generate electricity. However, on the flip side, winds have no reason to be punctual, as it were, and so make for an unreliable option. The associated technology is being used with success in various parts of the world. The Netherlands has emerged as a prime example of an effective utilization of this form of alternative energy.
Nuclear Energy: A Debatable Option
Nuclear power has the potential of generating huge amount of electricity. However, this mode has certain inherent factors and risks that cannot be ignored. Indeed, nuclear technology remains the exclusive reserve of a certain elite band of nations. The fear of misuse of related technology and materials is too real in today’s terrorism-racked world to be ignored altogether. Over 14 percent of the global electricity in 2007 came from nuclear power plants.
Tidal Energy for Coastal Areas
The naturally occurring tides in the coastal areas are a clean, renewable and cost-effective form of alternative energy. This mode employs the rise and ebb of tides that occur owing to interplay between the gravitational forces of the sun, earth and moon. Since tides are not dependent on the weather, their motions can be predicted with a fair degree of accuracy. The motion of the tidal waves is employed to firstly fill reservoirs of water. The water is then released through turbines that generate electricity.