Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Renewable energy advantages

Since gas and home heating prices are very likely to be soaring in years to come, it is really a logical choice to explore renewable energy not only to save some money that would otherwise be spent on huge energy bills but also to help our environment that is being heavily polluted with fossil fuels. These days, the more and more people realize that our large dependency on fossil fuels is causing us many problems not just because fossil fuels will eventually become depleted but also because of overall health of our planet.

If we are to believe some estimates our supply of oil will run out in a little over 30 years and natural gas will be depleted in a little over 50 years. As you can see there should really be an urgency to seek renewable sources of energy so that we can have the solution in time when our current energy sources dry out.

But just what is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is energy that comes from a source that does not harm the environment or deplete any of our natural resources like fossil fuels do. Wind power and solar power are the two most popular examples of renewable energy. Wind energy and solar energy are not the only alternatives to fossil fuels there are also biofuels, geothermal energy, wave and tidal power and even nuclear power although some of these may not be so desirable from environmental point of view because they can potentially cause harm to our environment making it even more polluted than it is now.

It is also needed here to explain the difference between renewable and alternative energy.

While many use these two terms as they were completely the same, there is actually a significant difference between renewable energy and alternative energy. Technically speaking, renewable energy is form of „clean energy“ - energy provided by natural solutions that are always present in nature such as solar, tidal, wind, geothermal and wave power. Alternative energy is on the other hand referring to any alternative for fossil fuels and this can include biofuels and nuclear power.

We are still heavily dependant upon fossil fuels, and this is the cause of great pollution that is currently happening to our planet. Our entire industry, our entire way of life has been built around the fossil fuels, and without fossil fuels world wouldn't be able to satisfy its energy demand which would lead to all sorts of problems. Because of this we are depending so much on fossil fuels. Renewable energy isn't something that is only couple of years old, in fact renewable energy has been around for over a hundred years but it's still much cheaper using fossil fuels, and there are of course powerful fossil fuels lobbies that want to maintain their dominant position giving renewable energy very little room for further development. The only real chance for renewable energy is current ecological state of our planet that needs quick solution, and many agree that solution can be only in much bigger use of renewable energy in years to come.

We definitely need to see more incentive from the governments around the world to research and produce renewable energy products, as very little has been done over the last few years, exception are perhaps Germany, Spain, and couple of Scandinavian countries. Many believe that change is only a matter of time, and that renewables will surely dominate global energy sector in years to come but it will be very interesting to see what fossil fuels lobbies would say to this. Change would of course be more than welcome from both energetic, as well as environmental point of view, but truth to be told renewable energy is still in its early phase, meaning it would take at least couple of decades more before it would become strong enough to compete with fossil fuels, especially in worlds' biggest polluting countries, U.S. and China.

There is also one additional reason why fossil fuels have been a little bit more attractive over the years. Energy made from renewable sources can't be stored like we can store fossil fuels like for instance gas and oil. If you are using solar energy to power your home and you have several days with no sun you may end up with no power. The same goes for wind energy - what do you do if there are no windy days, how will you get energy then? Science still hasn't given us answer to this question and there is lot of questions that need to be answered before renewable energy becomes dominant on global scale.

Regardless of these flaws there are many companies today looking into renewable energy sector and searching ways to harness renewable energy as efficient as possible, reliably and economically. Future definitely belongs to renewable energy but what exactly renewable energy revolution is going to happen nobody knows. The sooner the better, not just to satisfy ever growing world energy demand but also to protect our environment and our planet from further pollution.

There have been many positive examples of exploiting renewable energy over the globe, and we should definitely build on them to ensure renewable energy prominent place in years to come.

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