The Quest For Sustainable Energy

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We have enough fossil fuel to satisfy world energy needs for the foreseeable future. However, we all know that eventually either the fuel will run out or the environment will be ruined or both. Economic growth around the world is causing increased demand for all types of fuel. The only real solution is to develop alternative sustainable energy sources that are non-polluting (not carbon based).

Solar Power

Solar energy is the radiant light and heat that comes from the Sun. At present only a small portion of solar energy is used. Solar power has the potential to become an unlimited source of clean renewable energy. It is simply a matter of developing the technology to convert solar power to practical use. Current technology is expensive and cumbersome. Better solar power technology will provide the world with the clean sustainable energy it needs.

Wind Power

Wind energy is renewable, clean (non-polluting) and its growth will create new jobs. Wind turbines need to be manufactured set up and maintained this takes people, hence job creation. However, beyond the initial costs and the maintenance costs wind is essentially a free resource. In the long run wind energy will more than pay
for itself.

The biggest disadvantage with wind is that it is not a totally reliable source of energy because it is intermittent. However, in combined with other renewable energy sources, such as, solar, hydro-electric and/or nuclear power, wind is a viable source of clean renewable energy.

Hydro Electric Power

Hydro electric energy comes from power dams. This type of energy became widely used in the twentieth century to generate electricity. Hydro electric energy is a source of clean renewable energy that will always be an integral part of the energy portfolio. Even though power dams require a large investment they have a long life and can generate a lot of clean energy.

Nuclear Power
Nuclear power has proven to be a reliable source of clean energy. Controversial in the latter part of the twentieth century, it is now realized that nuclear power is essential if we are going to substantially cut green house gas emissions. France produces 80% of its power from nuclear power plants and has not had one single accident proving nuclear power can be safe. Nuclear power plants require a large investment but like power dams they have a long life and can produce a lot of clean energy.

Geothermal Power

Geothermal power comes from heat stored in the earth. Geothermal power plants require no fuel to operate so they are emission free. The do not rely of intermittent power sources like wind and solar so the capacity is extremely high. It is considered a renewable energy source because it uses only a small portion of the heat available in the earth. Geothermal power plants can produce an extremely large amount of clean energy from a single power plant.

In the near future the world needs to wean itself off of fossil fuels. Failure to do so will result in enormous global consequences never seen before by mankind. The world will need an energy portfolio made up of numerous alternative clean energy sources. All of the energy sources discussed above will be part of the future energy portfolio.

 

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