energy is an umbrella term that refers to any
source of usable energy intended to replace fuel sources without the
undesired consequences of the replaced fuels. Typically, official uses
of the term, such as qualification for governmental incentives, exclude
fossil fuels and nuclear energy whose undesired consequences are high
carbon dioxide emissions, the major contributing factor of global
warming according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and
difficulties of radioactive waste disposal.
Over the years, the nature of what was regarded alternative energy sources has changed considerably, and today because of the variety of energy choices and differing goals of their advocates, defining some energy types as "alternative" is highly controversial.
The term "alternative" presupposes a set of undesirable energy technologies against which "alternative energies" are opposed. As such, the list of energy technologies excluded is an indicator of what problems that the alternative technologies are intended to address. Controversies regarding dominant forms of energy and their alternatives have a long history.
Alternative Energy in Ireland
The Irish are currently pursuing energy independence and the further development of their robust economy through the implementation of research and development into alternative energy sources.
At the time of this writing, nearly 90% of Ireland's energy needs are met through importation - the highest level of foreign product dependence in the nation's entire history.
This is a very precarious situation to be in, and the need for developing alternative energy sources in Ireland is sharply perceived. Ireland also seeks to conserve and rejuvenate its naturally beautiful environment and to clean up its atmosphere through the implementation of alternative energy supplies.
The European Union has mandated a reduction in sulphuric and nitric oxide emissions for all member nations. Green energy is needed to meet these objectives. Hydroelectric power has been utilized in Ireland in some areas since the 1930's and has been very effective; however, more of it needs to be installed.
Ireland also needs to harness the wave power of the Atlantic Ocean, which on it's west coast is a potential energy supply that the nation has in great store.
Ireland actually has the potential to become an energy exporter, rather than a nation so heavily dependent on energy importation. This energy potential resides in Ireland's substantial wind, ocean wave, and biomass-producing alternative energy potentials.
Ireland could become a supplier of ocean wave-produced electricity and biomass-fueled energy to continental Europe and, as they say, “make a killing”.
At the present time, Ireland is most closely focused on reaching the point where it can produce 15% of the nation's electricity through wind farms, which the government has set as a national objective to be reached by 2010.
But universities, research institutes, and government personnel in Ireland have been saying that the development of ocean wave energy technology would be a true driving force for the nation's economy and one which would greatly help to make Ireland energy independent. A test site for developing wave ocean energy has been established in Ireland, less than two miles off the coast of An Spideal in County Galway Bay.
This experimental ocean wave harnessing site is known as “Wavebob”. The most energetic waves in the world are located off the West coast of Ireland, says Ireland's Marine Institute CEO Dr. Peter Heffernan.
The technology to harness the power of the ocean is only just emerging and Ireland has the chance to become a market leader in this sector. David Taylor, CEO of the Sustainable Energy Initiative, or SEI, tells us that SEI is committed to innovation in the renewable energy sector.
Wave energy is a promising new renewable energy resource which could one day make a significant contribution to Ireland's electricity generation mix thereby further reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
Padraig Walshe, the president of the Irish Farmers Association, tells us that with the closure of the sugar beet industry, an increasing amount of Irish land resources will become available for alternative uses, including bioenergy production.
Today, renewable energy sources meet only 2% of Ireland’s total energy consumption. From a farming perspective, growing energy crops will only have a viable future if they provide an economic return on investment and labour, and if the prospect of this return is secure into the future.
Currently the return from energy crops is marginal and is hampering the development of the industry. Biomass energies need to be further researched by Ireland.
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... renewable energy sources, wind is by far the most competitive today. If we're able to utilize sites close to the sea or at sea with good wind machines, then the price per kilowatt-hour is competitive against other sources of energy, go the words of Svend Sigaard, who happens to be president and CEO of ...
... storage and disposal solutions for the long term to be developed as technology advances. The splitting of an atom releases energy in the forms of both heat and light. Atomic power plants control the fission reactions so that they don't result in the devastating explosions that are brought forth in atomic ...
... plant, and there is no promise of the plant turning a profit. Some geothermal sites, once tapped, might be found to not produce a large enough amount of steam for the power plant to be viable or reliable. And we hear from the environmentalists who worry that bringing up magma can bring up potentially ...
... fluid. The OTEC plant pumps the warm sea water into the reaction chamber and boils the intermediate fluid. This results in the intermediate fluid's vapor pushing the turbine of the engine, which thus generates electricity. The vapor is then cooled down by putting in cold sea water. Open Cycle OTEC is ...
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