Can Alternative Energy Replace Fossil Fuels


Today we have a great energy debate going on. We know that fossil fuels are a proven technology for energy, but a vast majority of climate scientists agree that the emissions from burning fossil fuels are changing the environment of our planet. Alternative energy, such as solar and wind, offers us the opportunity to stop burning fossil fuels for our power needs.

Yet one of the reasons why alternative energy has not completely replaced fossil fuels is because it may not have the infrastructure support to do so.

Alternative Energy Products Lack Societal Infrastructure

If you drive somewhere, chances are you’ll put gasoline into your vehicle. Even electric vehicles, which produce no emissions, get their power more often than not from a coal-fired power plant.

If you heat your home, you’re likely using the same coal-fired electricity or you’re using natural gas. You might even be burning wood, releasing particles into the atmosphere when you do.

Now there are solar products, wind products, and other alternative energy sources that we could use to power what we need, but the efficiencies of those products are nowhere near what we receive from fossil fuels. At best, for example, you can purchase an indirect solar car hybrid that offers a minimal amount of alternative energy support.

Even in the US infrastructure, alternative energy sources provide only a small part of the power we use. From data released in 2015, about 10% of total US energy consumption came from alternative energy.

What Is Stopping Alternative Energy?

In a word: cost.

Fossil fuels have had more than a century of investments to develop the technologies we use today. Alternative energies have only had about half of that time to develop, often without the same levels of funding that fossil fuel technologies have received.

Then there’s the fact that alternative energy is more of a technology than an actual resource. When new technologies are introduced, they are more expensive to produce results because there is no scale of production available. When production can be scalable, costs go down, but that process takes time.

By definition, fossil fuels are finite. One day they may disappear completely. That’s why alternative energies to replace fossil fuels need to be developed now.