Solar Panels, Wind, and Alternative Energy
Our fossil fuel resources are being depleted faster than they can ever be replenished. Not only are oil prices skyrocketing, other energy costs such as coal and natural gas prices are rising at alarming rates. It took millions of years for those fuels to form, but most of them have been depleted in less than two hundred years. The amount of energy released is monumental and the atmosphere and our lungs have suffered because of it.
Although vehicles and power plants today are much more efficient and cleaner burning than coal burning industries of the past, there are millions more now than then, compounding the impact on the planet. The changes to the environment that fossil fuels have brought are becoming evident everyday and are prompting many people, from scientists to politicians, to begin using and searching for new forms of renewable alternative energy.
Renewable energy comes in many forms. It can be home wind turbines energy, coming from large fields of windmills or solar power which is abundant and becoming easier to harness and use every day with many breakthroughs taking place at the molecular level using nano-engineering. Solar panels are not only manufactured in a factory, but are created in laboratories with chemistry and biology. There is great potential for solar panels to be grown, possibly from seeds, on green roofs and gardens. Imagine vines with an electrical charge that can power everything from an iPod to a refrigerator, or houseplants that can emit light at night providing natural solar lighting.
The main limiting factor preventing widespread green energy use is energy efficiency. Photovoltaic energy has been notoriously inefficient for the cost of using it. Photovoltaic panels are still expensive, but they are becoming more efficient every day and new development processes are driving the cost down. There is also a greater amount of competition for clean energy development today than there has ever been. Even traditional energy companies are getting into the renewable energy market.
One often overlooked form of long lasting power is nuclear energy. While it is not nearly as clean as solar power, finding methods for disposing of spent nuclear fuel being the main issue, it is stable and provides an abundance of power for very little cost compared with coal. Refining and enriching uranium or plutonium is a difficult and dangerous process, and cooling the reactor can cause environmental damage to rivers and streams but solar power is not immune to environmental hazards either with many panels being made from silicone wafers which are expensive, hazardous and destructive to produce and dispose of.
One of the newest forms of harnessing energy is water energy. Waves, currents and tides produce a huge amount of force, on the surface as well as underwater. Buoys can be attached to underwater levers which allow them to move with the waves. Each direction shift can produce power, and these buoys can be placed close together creating underwater energy farms that are completely invisible, until diving deep underwater. Natural forces are becoming the new clean American energy, and hopefully we can become your energy source news provider