Alternative energies are receiving high levels of investment today. Because they cannot be fully consumed like a fossil fuel, the potential of this technology is virtually unlimited. By examining the advantages and disadvantages of alternative energy, it becomes possible to find the right form of energy to supply our needs for today and tomorrow.
What Are the Advantages of Alternative Energy?
1. They are a renewable resource.
Sunlight is plentiful. Wind will happen. Sustainable crops can be grown. Gravity will always cause water to fall. The Earth will always generate its own heat. That means we don’t have to worry about our source of energy being fully consumed.
2. They require little maintenance.
When compared to a traditional generator, alternative energy plants require little maintenance. This reduces the overall costs in producing power while still maintaining current consumption levels.
3. They produce few waste products.
Although some alternative energy collection devices do require fossil fuels to be manufactured, their ongoing energy collection efforts requires virtually nothing. This means fewer waste products are created that can negatively impact the environment.
4. They create energy security.
Fossil fuels are unevenly distributed around the world today. By creating an alternative energy resource, every nation can experience energy security without being dependent on others.
What Are the Disadvantages of Alternative Energy?
1. They can be regionally specific.
You must be near a river to collect hydropower. You must live in a windy area to collect wind power. You must receive sunny days on a regular basis to collect some forms of solar power. This means alternative energy is regionally specific, with some being unsuitable.
2. Power generation is comparatively minimal.
Although the amount of power alternative energy resources can produce is increasing, it is small amount when compared to traditional sources of power.
3. There can be environmental consequences.
Just because it is an alternative energy resource doesn’t mean there won’t be environmental consequences. Wind turbines can cause aviary deaths. Biomass plants may release particulates or burn non-waste products.
4. It could have systemic stability issues.
There can be peak power demands that could overwhelm entry-level alternative energy systems. In order for a transition to alternative energy to work, systems must provide a stable resource of power at all demand levels, which may not be possible at this time.
The advantages and disadvantages of alternative energy show us that these technologies offer us a lot of future potential. It is up to each of us to maximize that potential.