Nature presents us with many ways to harness alternative energy sources.
According to "Energy Revolution," a comprehensive report published by Greenpeace International, "The amount of power that can be accessed with current technologies supplies a total of 5.9 times the global demand for power."
The sun alone can produce 3.8 times as much power than what is currently used worldwide.
What about the cost of converting these energy sources to electricity? The expense for the needed technology has been decreasing over the last decade and it continues to fall.
These are some factors to consider when determining the benefits of sustainable power.
Harmful Environmental Emissions
Harmful emissions are the air pollutants released by the combustion of fossil fuels, which include oil, coal, and natural gas.
These emissions are also referred to as greenhouse gases. The biggest culprit is carbon dioxide (CO2). Here's the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere from different sources:
- Fossil Fuels: 1.4 - 3.6 pounds*
- Wind: 0.02 - 0.04
- Solar: 0.07 - 0.2
- Geothermal: 0.1 - 0.2
- Hydroelectric: 0.1 - 0.5
*all measurements are CO2E/kWh (pounds produced per kilowatt-hour)
Combine all four alternative energy sources (using the high-end numbers). It doesn't come close to the low-end total produced by fossil fuels.
Supply of Alternative Energy Sources
Surfacing mining, deep mining, offshore oil drilling, and now fracking have all become methods to extract fossil fuels from the earth. There's a constant need to devise new ways of harvesting fossil fuels, as older methods become limited in the amount they can extract.
Heat from the sun, fast-moving waters, and blowing winds are plentiful in supply. In fact, that's why they are termed "renewable" energy sources. The availability is regular, they can be replenished, and they never go away.
In the United States, renewable energy contributes a fraction of the potential it offers for electrical output.
The Cost of Electricity
If you pay attention to gas prices, you've noticed they fluctuate all the time. All it takes is a large storm or an overseas threat of war to make oil prices skyrocket. The cost of coal is especially affected by global demand.
The costs for natural energy depend on the availability at the local and regional levels.
There are other interesting facts. The expenses related to renewable energy technologies continue to decrease year after year. For example, residential and industrial buildings pay 60% less for solar panel installations than they did in 2011.
Similarly, wind-generated electricity costs have declined an impressive 80% since 1980. According to the same report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, "In areas with strong wind resources like Texas, wind power can compete directly with fossil fuels on costs."
A Better Way
Renewable energy sources have less impact environmentally than more traditional options.
Solar power, wind power, tidal power, and geothermal energy can be found anywhere in the world.
Alternative sources of energy are replenished naturally.
The potential is limitless.
For families and businesses considering green applications, solar power is a recommended starting point. The efficiency is increasing. The prices are dropping. Solar power is quickly becoming a more competitive alternative to conventional power supplies.
At Valley Electric, we specialize in solar installations and wiring for alternative energy sources. We'd love to help you begin your green journey.
For more information and a cost estimate, contact us today.
Valley Electric specializes in residential, industrial, commercial telephone systems/data wiring, fire alarm installation, motor sales and service, solar installations, and alternative energy source wiring.