Chapter 6 - Energy Sustainability
Part 8 - Alternative Energy
"Phasing out fossil fuels is the grandest scientific, technological, economic and social challenge of the 21st century.(Armaroli and Balzani, 2011)
There are many positives to implementing alternative energies in mainstream power generation, however there are many barriers and challenges that must be overcome in creating the infrastructure, storage, and transmission of the power to places that need them the most. New infrastructure costs money, and uses natural resources, something which we are trying to limit by the movement towards alternative energies. The trade-off of the global climate and reducing the amount of carbon in the air in the long run will have to be evaluated and compared to the environmental impacts that surround many of these large-scale alternative energy systems. New technologies and new approaches are being developed to solve many of these problems, but an economically competitive, rapidly transferable solution has not yet been identified that will dramatically reduce our dominant reliance on fossil fuels power generation in the short term future.
The use of multiple alternative energies, often in a distributed locally based system for transmission efficiency, and not relying on one single source, will be the key in gaining our energy independence while reducing our carbon footprint, and thus our impact on Earth's ecological systems. Our energy future is changing, perhaps not fast enough, but we are making progress toward a future that can be more sustainable than our present.
- solar energy
- wind energy
- geothermal energy
- biomass energy
- wave energy
- solar power
- wind power
- horizontal axis wind turbine
- vertical axis wind turbine
- cut-in speed
- cut-out speed
- wind farm
- wind speed
- NIMBY (not in my backyard)
- Environmental Impact Statement
- solar electricity
- solar thermal systems
- solar generation plants
- photovoltaic cells/arrays/modules
- concentrated solar power (CSP)
- dish solar energy generating plant
- tower solar energy generating plant
- trough solar energy generating plant
- Fresnel solar energy generating plant
- solar irradiance
- Towards an Electricity-Powered World. (2011) Armaroli, N. and Balzani, V. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE Volume: 4 Issue: 9 Pages: 3193-3222.
- Solar Photovoltaics. Energy Basics. U.S. Dept. of Energy.
- Concentrating Solar Power. Energy Basics. U.S. Dept. of Energy.
- Wind Energy Technologies. Energy Basics. U.S. Dept. of Energy.
- Hydropower Technologies. Energy Basics. U.S. Dept. of Energy.
- Biomass Technologies. Energy Basics. U.S. Dept. of Energy.
- Geothermal Technologies. Energy Basics. U.S. Dept. of Energy.
- Ocean Energy Technologies. Energy Basics. U.S. Dept. of Energy.
(Photo credit: Siemens AG, 2011)