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Advantages and Disadvantages of Alternative Energy Sources

Solar power represents an alternative energy source of the future.

Solar power represents an alternative energy source of the future.

What are advantages and disadvantages of alternative sources of energy today?

At the beginning, we have to explain the alternative energy definition.

What is Alternative Energy?

Alternative energy also known as renewable energy is the energy that is considered an alternative to fossil fuels.

Here we find the green energy sources, which are also renewable and are produced by the sun, wind, hydro, geothermal heat, bio, waves, rain, waste and other sources of clean power.

Renewable energy sources have appeared as a response to the conventional energy sources represented by fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas because during combustion, these fuels are releasing harmful emissions into the atmosphere, which leads to global warming and climate change.

What are the Advantages of Alternative Energy?

1. Alternative energy represents a renewable energy source that will never run out.

Fossil fuels are considered non-renewable energy sources because they are finite sources of energy due to the fact that they will run out in just a few decades.

Alternative energy is considered a renewable energy source because provides a sustainable and stable supply of clean energy in the long term.

Wind turbines harness the power of the wind.

Wind turbines harness the power of the wind.

2. Alternative energy is good for the environment.

Alternative energy is good for the environment because renewable energy sources like wind and solar produce zero emissions.

Biomass (wood chips) is another renewable energy source (trees regrow) that produces very low emissions (lower than natural gas).

3. A reliable source of energy.

Alternative energy is considered a reliable source of energy because the technological development in recent years allowed these clean energy sources to enter more and more into the global energy mix.

However, the renewables represent today a very small percent in the world energy mix, but the continuous technological development of the human society will allow the renewables to consolidate their position in the energy mix of every country up to the level when the world energy mix will consist only of renewable energy sources.

4. Energy independence.

Alternative energy sources are the solution to getting energy independence for every household.
In the society of the future every household will produce and store its own clean electricity produced by the renewable energy sources available in that place.

Places with plenty of sunshine will harness the power of the Sun to produce clean electricity that will power the house during the day, but also during the night with the help of advanced energy storage devices.

What are the Disadvantages of Alternative Energy?

1. One of the main disadvantages is represented by low efficiency.

The today’s technology used to generate renewable energy (clean electricity) has its limits.

The low efficiency specific to these technologies creates a problem with the feasibility of such projects because the investment may return in a long period of time, which in some cases does not justify the initial investment.

The Sun is a constant source of clean power.

The Sun is a great source of clean power.

2. A very high cost.

Sadly, even if alternative energy sources have appeared to replace the fossil fuels that pollute, the green technology of today is still expensive for most of the population.

Without governmental incentives and subsidies that support the development of the green energy sector in the world, many green projects developed today would be remained only on paper.

3. Alternative energy is not a constant source of energy.

If we take each alternative energy source to see if it represents a constant source of clean energy, we see that some of them rely pretty much on weather conditions.

Solar panels do not produce electricity during the night, and low amounts of electricity during cloudy and rainy days.

Wind turbines produce clean electricity during the day and also during the night, but only if there is wind.

Wood chips that are burned as biomass to produce low emission electricity requires huge quantities of wood (to produce wood chips) every year.

However, the latest energy storage devices available on the market allow us to store the clean electricity produced by our solar panels or wind turbine for a later use (during cloudy days, during the night or during days without wind).

Also, if we want to have a continuous source of clean power at our disposal, we need to combine solar and wind power because if there is no sun, it means that is night, or it is a cloudy day, so there are plenty of chances for a good wind that can be used by our small turbine to produce clean electricity.

The latest battery created by Tesla for the home and small business (Powerwall 2) can store now 14 kWh of clean energy and deliver an output of 7 kW.

At utility scale, Tesla provides now an improved battery called Powerpack 2.

Wood chips used as biomass represent a good source of renewable energy with low emissions.

Wood chips used as biomass represent a good source of renewable energy with low emissions.

4. Alternative energy is generated in small quantity compared with the global demand of energy.

Today, is very difficult to generate enough clean energy to power a medium town, a big town or even an entire country.

Renewable energy is produced in small scale compared with the global demand of energy, and to increase the generation capacity in the world up to a level which would count in the global energy mix, we need to use large surfaces of land (which can be used for agriculture) and huge financial efforts of the governments around the world.

That is the reason why green technology needs to evolve, an improved efficiency of the devices that are harnessing renewable energy would decrease the land surface required to install them, and a further decrease in costs, would facilitate the emergence of new green projects around the world that would increase the generation capacity and the presence of the renewables in the world energy mix.

Magda Savin
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Magda Savin

I write about the renewable energy sector, electric cars and climate change issues.
I love nature and good food, so I travel all over the world to see new places and meet new people.
Magda Savin
Magda Savin
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