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Alternative Energy Pros and Cons – AEN News

largest floating solar farms in the world

One of the largest floating solar farms in the world.


Alternative energy represents the energy sources that will replace the dirty fossil fuels used on a large scale to generate heat and electricity.

Today, almost all countries in the world rely massively on fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas to cover their energy demand, which have lead to a massive accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that produces global warming and climate change.

Alternative energy does not necessarily mean renewable energy, when talking about alternative energy we refer to the clean energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, tidal, nuclear fusion, geothermal, hydrogen etc.) that will replace in the future the dirty fossil fuels for a cleaner environment.

On the other hand, renewable energy refers to the energy sources that are infinite resources of power, but they are not necessarily clean such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, tidal, biomass, nuclear fusion etc..

To make a difference between the two terms used to describe these energy sources we can say that alternative energy is the green source of power that represents an alternative to fossil fuels for a cleaner environment, while renewable energy refers to all the energy sources that are produced continuously without being exhausted, and are not necessarily clean.

Pros of Alternative Energy

Alternative energy has much more pros than cons, actually it has even more pros than renewable energy.

1. Alternative Energy is 100% Clean

Because the dirty fossil fuels used today on the entire planet to generate heat and electricity are heavily polluting the environment, the alternative energy sources that will replace them must be 100% clean (without producing harmful emissions).

Solar panels used today to generate solar power are 100% clean, wind turbines used to generate wind power are also 100% clean, hydropower is 100% clean, tidal energy is 100% clean because the turbines used to generate the electricity are not producing harmful emissions.

Nuclear fusion is another source of clean power that will be available in the future.

Hydrogen is a green fuel that produces clean energy and the only by-product resulted after burning hydrogen in air is water vapors, so no harmful emissions.

2. Alternative Energy is Part of the Renewable Energy Sources

Renewable energy refers to all the energy sources that are infinite (compared to our time), so they never get exhausted.

At the same time, alternative energy includes clean sources of energy that are renewable (they never run out) such as solar power, wind power, hydropower, tidal power, geothermal energy, hydrogen, etc.

Solar and wind power are both produced by the Sun, hydropower is the energy of the falling water (falls due to the action of the Earth’s gravity), tidal energy is generated by the gravitational forces of the Moon, the Sun and the Earth combined, while geothermal energy is the underground heat produced by the heated core of our planet (the inner Sun).

Hydrogen is an element that is very abundant in the known universe and is also a clean source of power.

3. Alternative Energy is Friendly with the Environment

By definition, alternative energy represents the energy sources that will replace the fossil fuels in the future, such as coal, oil and natural gas in order to stop the air, water and soil pollution.

Alternative energy is friendly with the environment because solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, tidal and hydrogen are producing electricity without releasing harmful emissions in the atmosphere.

4. Alternative Energy Can Create Energy Independence

Any homeowner or company that decides today to use alternative energy to pay lower energy bills and to reduce its carbon footprint is a promoter of the future in which any man will produce its own energy without polluting the environment.

If you have a solar PV system installed on your rooftop or a wind turbine in your yard, you can generate your own electricity that is clean and free.

The size of the system used to generate alternative energy will make you more or less energy-independent.

5. Alternative Energy Represents A Long-Term Source Of Clean Power

A solar PV system installed on your rooftop today will generate clean electricity for about 20 to 25 years, which means that the investment made in the system will be recovered in about 5 to 10 years (depending on the size of the PV system).

Of course that a new technology in the solar sector could emerge in the future, but even with the today’s efficiency of the solar PV panels (around 20%), the investment is recovered in the first decade of use, and all the clean electricity produced after that is totally free.

6. Alternative Energy Comes From Space Or Is Produced By the Earth’s Core

All the sources of alternative energy known today are produced by the Sun, by the gravitational forces of the Sun, Moon and Earth combined, or by the heated core of our own planet.

Being generated by celestial bodies such as the Sun, the Moon or our planet, alternative energy represents the energy sources that are independent from us, exists here since the beginning of the planet, and will exist even if we as civilization, will be long gone.

7. Alternative Energy Can Be Generated All Over the Planet

Solar panel systems are usually installed on rooftops or in the yard of the homeowner, and the massive solar farms can be found on the large plains with no buildings or large obstacles around (to avoid shadowing).

Wind power is also produced on land using large wind turbines installed in areas with good wind and again, with no obstacles around the wind farm that could stop or reduce the speed and the force of the wind.

However, wind turbines can be found today on the sea (offshore), and in the future we can see flying wind turbines over the oceans of the planet to turn the strong winds found there into clean energy for us.

Cons of Alternative Energy

Like all the energy sources known to man today, alternative energy has a few disadvantages, which are mostly related to the impact on the environment.

1. Alternative Energy Can Have An Affect Plant and Animal Life

Wind turbines are used to turn the kinetic power of the wind into mechanical energy that spins a turbine to produce clean electricity using generators.

The spinning blades of the turbine can kill any birds and bats that are crossing the field of the rotating turbine.

At the same time, the turbines used to generate hydropower and also the turbines used to produce tidal energy can kill the marine life that gets close to the rotating turbines.

Solar farms also known as photovoltaic (PV) power stations or solar fields are shading the soil located under the panels, which can affect plant growth in the area.

2. Alternative Energy Is Expensive Today

Like all the new technologies available on the market today, the systems used to produce alternative energy such as solar, wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal, tidal, hydrogen, etc. are very expensive because they represent cutting-edge technology used to make you more energy-independent, and also to reduce your carbon footprint.

However, in the developing countries, the average income per family is not enough to purchase a solar PV system due to the high price paid for the system compared to their low income.

The incentives granted by the governments to help the spreading of the home solar PV systems are helping only a small part of the population in these countries (the middle class).

When talking about spreading solar and wind power on a large scale, all the countries of the planet are investing to increase the generation capacity for alternative and renewable energy because the environment needs to be cleaned and we can achieve this only by stopping the use of fossil fuels, which is not possible at the moment.

Increasing the generation capacity for alternative energy on the planet is only the first step towards a cleaner future.

There is much more to be done to make the air, the water and the soil clean again (as it was before the industrial revolution), but the change has already begun.

3. Alternative Energy Can Release Harmful Emissions Into the Atmosphere

Biomass is a form of alternative energy (is cleaner than fossil fuels, but releases some harmful emissions while burning) that turns wood and plant waste, organic waste, garbage, etc. into low-carbon energy.

Geothermal heat is another form of alternative energy provided by the heated core of our planet and reaches the surface under the form of steam and hot water.

Sadly, in some cases, along with the steam and hot water, several types of greenhouse gases located under the surface of the planet can be released leading to air pollution.

Another form of water and soil pollution appears when the geothermal reservoirs contain traces of toxic heavy metals such as boron, mercury and arsenic.

4. Alternative Energy Is An Intermittent Source of Power

Almost all the alternative energy sources known today are intermittent (solar and wind power), so they need to be combined with other (less clean) sources of power in order to ensure a continuous source of electricity (combined clean and fossil) for the grid.

Hydrogen, biomass, geothermal and tidal energy are considered stable and not intermittent sources of alternative energy because hydrogen and biomass are producing clean energy directly.

The amount of clean energy produced depends on the amount of fuel used (biomass or hydrogen), and the tides responsible for generating tidal energy are also known because they are predictable.

Conclusion

Alternative energy might be intermittent, may bring some harm to wild and marine life, but let’s not forget that the technology used to harness all the alternative and renewable sources of power available on the planet today will evolve in the future and many of these disadvantages will be removed because we can produce huge amounts of clean power here on the planet without polluting or destroying the environment.

Danny Ovy

Danny Ovy

I am a writer and reporter for the clean energy sector, I cover climate change issues, new clean technologies, sustainability and green cars.

Danny Ovy
Danny Ovy
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One Response to "Alternative Energy Pros and Cons – AEN News"

  1. Audeh says:

    I think . pv (solar energy) will increase temperature of earth because it has black color if it spreads widely.
    Inventor : Audeh Alkatee

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