Options for the future.
The alternative energies that most research has been invested in so far are those derived from the wind and the sun. The primary reason that these energy sources are so popular is because of the limitless supply of energy available, and the the advanced stage research already conducted into performance and deployment. Sun generated power is probably the first choice for home-owners to help do their bit for the reduction in fossil fuel consumption. Solar panels are easily and quickly installed, either roof mounted or free standing, on the shed or just about anywhere that you have a little spare room; and they aren't the eye sores that they once were. Photovoltaic tiles can heat water, your house, your swimming pool or to provide your home with power. As an energy conservation technique, they are without doubt the easiest way for you to help protect the environment.
The personal power revolution.
A growing energy conservation technique is the creation of a home energy plant. This provides for the opportunity to insure your family against rising energy prices and ensure energy security. It is certain that energy prices will continue to rise. The costs of such a system is quite modest. The benefits of this are reaped every month in the form of reduced energy bills, in some cases the energy company can end up owing you money for excess capacity that is fed back into the Grid. Further benefits can be in the reduced reliance on the grid. No more brownouts for all time. Such systems are particularly suitable for regions that suffer from violent storms and where power is delivered through overhead lines. An interesting on-line presentation on Home Power may be viewed by following the link.
The world perspective.
The '80s saw enough wind and solar power sources commissioned in California alone to power over 10 million homes but that’s still a drop in the ocean. Nearly 80% of non renewable reserves globally are in solid form, but mining is diminishing daily, and not because scarcity of coal but because of the cost of extraction. These fossil fuels are a natural product that forms over the course of many millions of years. This means that when we have exhausted supplies of fossil fuels we cant just wait for more to appear, we need to act now to find alternative, climate friendly renewable energy sources.
Micro Hydro Power.
Micro Hydro Electric power is another of the alternative power sources that presents itself in periods of hardship and soaring energy costs. Water turbines are not a new idea, as are wind mills and passive solar systems. Water power is one of the most established forms of sustainable power generation and it presents one of the best solutions for reliable, high-output energy, with the minimum of modification or upgrade.
Hydro-Electric generation relies on location, as it needs a place where there is a reliable supply of water. The best source of water is a flowing river that is continuous and has a sufficient drop. Dams are often used in large installations, sometimes serving the dual function of storing water for power generation, as well as water supply for domestic use and water for farming and crops. The biggest and most complex generate power into the grid during periods of high demand (when power commands a premium price), then reverse taking energy from the grid to refill the Dam in periods of low demand (when energy is cheap).
As the term suggests, Bio-fuels are sources of energy that are formed when biological material is decomposed. Where fossil fuels take many millions years to form, bio-fuels can be manufactured very quickly indeed, in a matter of days. Fossil fuels generate huge amounts of pollution. Bio-fuels are comparatively safer.
Bio-fuels have advantages over fossil fuels as follows: Bio-fuels lessen the burden on dwindling reserves of fossil fuels. Bio-fuels are kinder to the environment. They cut carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Bio-fuels, especially, bio-diesel can be very cost-effective for users. On the other hand, creating fuel from food crops diminishes that available for food stocks. There is a train of thought that people, being a higher priority than fuel, food stuff should not be farmed for making fuel. Always a downside.
The way forward.
It is a fact that whether we can safely create sources of power using fossil fuels or otherwise, it will not be an option for much longer. Our Children and their Children are not going to be offered the luxury of discussing options, because without research now it is highly probable that the planet will run out of fossil fuels far in advance of us coming up with a viable solution.
A number of worldwide committees have been created as a means to discuss and implement the future in respect of energy consumption; many nations have eventually decided to take the issue with the priority it deserves. Significant amounts of money are being thrown into funding research and creation of non-renewable fuel improvements (chiefly in pollution reduction) as well as looking for other options in fossil fuel replacement.