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The Pros and Cons of Using Renewable Energy


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When people think or energy sources, they mostly think of coal, natural gas and oil, these fuels have been the source of energy for a number of years. One problem however is that they are limited in supply and availability.

Estimates have shown that the currently available sources will only meet our current energy demands for about 50 to 70 years or so. In order to find alternative sources of energy the world has decided to pursue renewable energy sources. However even renewable energy sources have their advantages and disadvantages too.

The available renewable energy sources that we have include solar, hydro, wind, geothermal, ocean and biomass. The most common of these advantages is that they are clean energy sources and do not pollute the air. They also do not contribute to global warming or greenhouse effects. Because the sources of such energy are natural the cost of operations are substantially reduced and they require less maintenance on their plants. One common disadvantage is that it is impossible to produce large quantities of electricity than can be done with fossil fuels. Because they are new technologies the costs of initiating them is also high.

Solar energy utilizes the energy from the sun. It has its advantages because these systems can easily fit into existing buildings and do not affect land use. Since the area that these collectors rest in is quite large, a lot more materials are needed. Solar radiation is also controlled by geography too. It is also limited to the daytime as well as non-cloudy days.

Wind energy makes use of the power of the wind in order to create electricity. Though it produces the most jobs it is reliant on strong winds too. Wind turbines tend to be large and though the areas under them can be used for farming, most people think of them as unattractive looking. These turbines are also very noisy to operate and they threaten the population of wild birds too.

Hydroelectric energy makes use of water in order to produce power. It is the most reliable of all energy sources that are renewable. Its disadvantages are that it affects the ecology and causes downstream problems. Decay of vegetation on the riverbed can also cause a buildup of methane which contributes to the greenhouse effects. Dams may also cause an alteration of the natural river flow and affect wildlife in the area as well. Water which is colder and which is lacking in oxygen tends to be released into the water this kills the fish, sudden release of water like this may also result in flooding.

Geothermal energy makes use of the steam from the Earth's ground in order to generate power. It uses a smaller land area that other types of power plants. They can literally run continuously throughout the year. The disadvantages tend to be that these plants are site specific and it can bring up toxic chemicals and heat from the earth when it tries to obtain the steam. Drilling such geothermal reservoirs can also cost a lot.

Biomass electricity is made from the energies of wood, agricultural and municipal waste. It tends to help save on landfill waste but the transportation is also expensive and tends to affect the diversity of the land. Other than this the process is quite complex and should be much simpler.

Ocean energy has proven to be a clean and abundant energy form. It tends to be expensive and in order to access this energy, you need at least a 40 degree Fahrenheit difference in water temperature throughout the year. Other than this, the construction and putting in place of pipes may damage the ecosystem.

Darren Williger is an over-caffeinated, low carbohydrate eating, winemaking enthusiast who writes for , , and EnergySection.Com


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