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.
Record high prices at American gas pumps and continued trouble-brewing in the Middle East, Nigeria, and other areas of importance to the oil-driven economy have made it clear to Americans that we are in need of developing many new avenues of energy supply and production.
In short, we need to reduce our dependency on oil, for it is ultimately finite and, frankly, the cheap sources of oil (not all oil - just the stuff that is cheap to remove from the earth) are running out. Energy consultants and analysts are insistent that cheap oil has “peaked” or is very soon going to peak.
What this means for us is an expensive future - unless we can find new sources of powering our mechanized and electronic civilization, new sources which are alternatives to oil.
We must also switch to alternative forms of energy because our present forms are too damaging to the atmosphere. While this writer does not believe that the global warming trend is much, if at all, sustained by the activities of mankind (in short, it's a natural cycle and there's nothing we can do about it except prepare for the effects of it), we certainly do contribute at present to the destruction of the environment and to things like air pollution with our energy sources as they are.
Coal is another source of energy that we need to wean ourselves off of - again, it is finite, and it is filthy, and the mining of it is dangerous and environmentally disruptive.
We can also explore new, streamlined methods for producing electricity that we presently generate so much of via hydro-power so that we are less disruptive of the environment when we have need of constructing things such as large dams.
Developing nations which have turned industrialized in recent decades especially will need the benefits of alternative energy research and development, for they are presently doing much more environmental damage than the United States.
The United States, Japan, and some European nations have been implementing studies into and programs for the development of alternative energy sources, and are therefore already leading the way in doing less environmental damage.
The developing nations such as China and India need to look to Japan and the West as examples of what research and development to give government backing and private investment currency to.
We could also add great robustness to our own economy by being at the forefront of such alternative energy sources development and then marketing the technologies and services to nations like India, China, Brazil, and so on and so forth.
Biofuels from things like “supertrees” and soybeans, refined hydroelectric technology, natural gas, hydrogen fuel cells, the further building of atomic energy plants, the continued development of solar energy photovoltaic cells, more research into wind-harnessed power - all of these are viable energy sources that can act as alternatives to the mammoth amounts of oil and coal that we presently are so dependent on for our very lifestyles.
The energy of the future is green.
More ArticlesAn Alternative Energy Education Method
... solar arrays are already letting their makers enjoy commercial success. In the last two decades, the cost of photovoltaic cells expressed in terms of per-watt has gone from nearly $1000 to just $4! It has been predicted by analysts that by the year 2015, the cost per watt should only be about $1 (in today's ...
... ethanol to be only 20% energy efficient (gasoline made from petroleum is 75% energy efficient). Biodiesel fuel was recorded at 69% energy efficiency. However, the study did turn up one positive: cellulose-derived ethanol was charted at 85% efficiency, which is even higher than that of the fantastically ...
... reactions so that they don't result in the devastating explosions that are brought forth in atomic and hydrogen bombs. There is no chance of an atomic power plant exploding like a nuclear bomb, as the specialized conditions and the pure Plutonium used to unleash an atomic bomb's vicious force simply don't ...
... wave of the future, out of both need and the fact of government support. Rising oil prices make alternative energies' tantalization rise in the minds of investors. As investors become more interested, there is more money available for companies to start up or expand, and that leads (of course) to more ...
... Wright Brothers' flight. The biggest claim of the proponents of free energy is that enormous amounts of energy can be drawn from the Zero Point Field. This is a quantum mechanical state of matter for a defined system which is attained when the system is at the lowest possible energy state that it can ...
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