Different Energy Sources - Energy Essay Example
Different Energy Sources
Depending on the available resources, a country or a community may choose which energy source is viable to sustain electricity - Different Energy Sources introduction. Energy sources have various similar and different qualities. Due to this, a single energy source is not used for everything; different sources are used to run different machineries, gadgets and/or vehicles. There are many types of energy but for mankind to harness the source’s potential, these have are oftentimes converted into electrical energy. Just some of the most common sources of electrical energy are coal or fossil fuels, hydroelectricity, solar power, wind power, geothermal power and nuclear power.
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Currently, the United States primarily relies on coal energy which is detrimental to global health, because electricity produced from coal produces a lot of emissions; this aggravates global warming. There are, however, other means of producing electricity using more environment-friendly resources. One of the sources of energy which has great potential in this regard is solar power. Solar power is basically free and it can provide an unlimited source of energy once installed. Also, solar energy produces no harmful emissions aside from the fact that it requires little or no maintenance. However, one of the biggest downside of solar energy is the costliness of initial installation. Another disadvantage with solar energy is its unavailability during nighttime which can, however be solved by a backup battery system (Solar Energy Advantages and Disadvantages).
Wind energy is another energy source that is being used as a source of electricity and similar to solar energy in many ways, this source of energy also produces no greenhouse gases which is harmful to the environment. It is also virtually free once it has been installed, and it also does not require much space (Trevino and Alatorre). However, wind energy will also be unable to provide a constant energy source because it is dependent on the presence of wind; no electricity will be produced if there is no wind. As compared to solar power, solar panels are generally quiet but wind turbines produce a lot of noise which could prove to be a nuisance (Ryan).
Hydroelectric energy is a major source of energy for many countries, and just like the two aforementioned energy sources, it does not contribute to global warming. The downside is that it is only feasible in areas that have flowing water. In addition, the construction of a dam would be costly and could provide a threat to the local marine ecosystem (Advantage and Disadvantages of Energy Sources).
Geothermal energy is also an energy source that produces no emissions although only a few countries rely on such a source because not many places have the potential for such. There is also a possibility that with this source of energy, some hazardous gases and minerals may leak from underground, which might be difficult to clean up (Geothermal Energy).
Fossil fuels are used to produce electricity and run vehicles but this energy source is non-renewable and it contributes to global warming and acid rain (Fossil fuels: Advantages and Disadvantages). There is currently much debate whether mankind should stop using fossil fuels and resort to alternative energy sources because fossil fuels have many adverse effects on the environment such as the production of greenhouse gases during combustion. Independence from fossil fuels such as oil would also mean that there would be less reliance on oil-exporting countries.
Another very much debated energy source is nuclear energy which like many other possible energy sources, produces no emissions. Nuclear power plants also produce huge amounts of energy but only take up minimal space which is good (Trevino and Alatorre). However, it could also pose a threat to environmental stability but in a different manner; nuclear energy provides a huge threat to life that it is not even considered. The possibility of a nuclear meltdown which could emit dangerous radiation provides a grave threat to mankind. In fact, there are already many documented cases of a nuclear meltdown, such as the plant in Chernobyl. Another disadvantage is that nuclear power plants have a very limited life span: only 40 to 50 years (Trevino and Alatorre).
To summarize, various energy sources have its advantages and disadvantages. Some are environment-friendly, some are not. Some are cheap, some are costly. Some are non-renewable, while others are unlimited sources. Some dangerous, some are safe. It is up to the energy users to decide which energy source would prove to be most efficient in the area. However, consideration should especially be given to different aspects such as the welfare of the people and the environment.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Energy Sources. Accessed April 21, 2008, from <http://www.spsu.
Fossil Fuels: Advantages and Disadvantages. Accessed April 21, 2008, from <http://library.thinkquest.org/20331/types/fossil/advant.html>
Geothermal Energy. 2006. Accessed April 21, 2008, from <http://www.geogise.com/alternative-energy- resources/geothermal-energy.php>
Solar Energy Advantages and Disadvantages. Accessed April 21, 2008, from <http://facts-about-solar- energy.com/solar-energy-advantages-disadvantages.html>
Trevino, Celina & Alatorre, Omar. Advantages and Disadvantages of Nuclear Energy. Accessed April 21, 2008 from, <http://gvctemp18.virtualclassroom.org/Nenergy/adva.htm>
V. Ryan. 2005. Advantages and Disadvantages of Wind Power. Accessed April 21, 2008 from <http://www.technologystudent.com/energy1/wind8.htm>