Monday, April 23, 2012

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Green Energy Sources

Today, almost everyone is now becoming aware of the effects of global warming. Fortunately, it’s not too late and we can still make positive changes, which is why many are pushing for more green energy sources.

The advantage of using green energy sources is that they are cleaner so they does not emit as many harmful pollutants into the air, which creates a lesser impact on the environment. Green energy sources are also renewable which means we will never run out of them, unlike fossil fuel types such as oil, which is expected to dry up in another decade or two.

The , also known as the Green Mountain Energy ...
Green Mountain Energy Wind Farm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Although green energy facilities are expensive to build, many can require less maintenance so you don’t have to shell out a lot of money to operate them in the long-term.

They can also bring economic benefits to certain areas, and in come cases even boost tourism.

While these sound good, there are some who say that there are disadvantages to using such technology.

While green energy sources can produce electricity, how much they can generate is often not consistent. This is because we have no control of the weather, for example, so if a certain area relies on solar energy and there is an unexpected weather disturbance which reduces the sun's rays reaching the earth, the system will not be able to convert sunlight into electricity.

Building these facilities also requires a lot of land so we may have to encroach on farmland or wildlife areas, which is what many are concerned about if more wind turbines are to be put up.

Another disadvantage is the fact that some of the green energy sources cannot be installed in certain areas of the planet. For instance, wave energy can only be utilized if ocean waves reach at least 16 feet. The use geothermal energy can only be done in geologically unstable parts of the planet.

But if you look at such arguments, places that cannot use one form of green energy source can usually substitute another. And if wind turbines need more space, they can be installed near the coast instead of on land. In fact, several studies show that you can generate more electricity with wind turbines planted in the ocean anyway.

While the weather is something we cannot control, most weather disturbances don't last too long, and if energy is being properly stored from a solar panel system, it should have enough backup energy to make it through a period without sun. .

The point is that there are ways around many of the arguments which discourage the use of green energy sources. In fact, research is ongoing to try and harness other means to generate the power we need, and new technologies and resources are being developed on a regular basis.

A very good example of this is called ocean thermal energy. Power is generated by harnessing the different temperatures in the water. It is currently being used on a small scale both in Japan and Hawaii.

Generation mix of Spain's Electricity supply -...
Generation mix of Spain's Electricity supply - Over 50% from renewables! (Photo credit: Tom Raftery)
In the US, only 7% of our energy comes from green energy sources currently - lagging far behind most other developed countries. We actually ranked much higher just 11 years ago and if we don’t want to have to worry about the cost of oil or even reduce our dependency on it, we really have to invest more in clean types of energy.

We can get it from green energy sources such as biomass, biodiesel, geothermal, solar, water and the wind. These are things we have all around us and all it takes is for someone to harness them instead of relying on traditional non-renewable means to produce energy. The future of our planet, and humanity, depends on us using our creativity and great brains to develop methods to utilize these resources in an efficient manner!

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1 comment:

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