In many ways, we have an energy dilemma right now. Our infrastructures are based on fossil fuel consumption and there is plenty enough available to meet our current and future needs. As we burn fossil fuels, however, we release emissions into the environment that are believed to contribute to the pattern of global warming that is being experienced.
This has led to the development of alternative energy systems and applications. When we think of alternative energy, we often look at solar, wind, biomass and hydropower as the keys to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Each has certain advantages that are worth considering.
Enough solar energy falls on our planet every day to give us all of the power that we need for an entire year. It is a vastly untapped resource that could completely revolutionize how we produce power. It can be collected anywhere and even the heat from the sun can produce energy.
Wind power is a technology that has been around for several generations. It used to pull water up out of the ground. Now it can help us to pull power from the air. By installing turbines in high wind areas and improving the total capacity of turbines, this clean energy resource can provide abundant energy. It also takes up the least amount of development space.
The advantage of biomass, which is the burning of organic materials to create energy instead of fossil fuels, is that it can often work with current coal-fired power plants. Then, by using sustainable growing methods, this alternative energy has the potential of becoming a carbon neutral opportunity.
This alternative energy system changes the environment in different ways as it is often used through a damming process. Tidal power systems are available to create a lower footprint, but are restricted in their placement. Once operating, this form of energy is clean and reliable. There is a fossil fuel cost associated with the implementation of a hydropower project using current technologies.
Fossil fuels are ultimately a finite resource. They may not run out soon, but there is a day when they could be scarce. By developing alternative energy systems and applications now, we can set the stage for a cleaner, healthier, and productive planet.