Sustainable Energy Sources

Sustainable Energy Sources

Christopher Smith

August 19, 2013

 

As the world tackles energy needs and climate change, Sustainability plan for energy sources has become a major topic. Sustainability within a growing population is important to look at the future of mankind. Sustainability not only consist of energy efficiency shown on a meter but also in an individuals action. Alternative energy resources could solve the issues seen today for developed and third would countries.

Sustainable resource

Renewable resources for sustainable energy come in various methods. Wind energy and sun energy is two of the most predominate in the world. Currently scientists are looking for other way to achieve energy needs. Biomass, geothermal, and water is some of the ways technology is advancing to make other types of sustainable energy. According to Energylinx (2013), “Sustainable energy is about using energy wisely and using energy generated from clean sources and clean technologies” (para. 1). Sustainable energy is more then just renewable energy. Sustainable energy is about using energy in an efficient manner. It is about an individual, taking necessary steps to use energy wisely and living within personal means. Sustainable energy for a society has to meet the demand of social, economic, and the environment. These three demands must be equally considered and kept in balance for anyone to even start thinking ideas are sustainable. For example, biofuels have taken many leads in the industry. One form of biofuel is corn fuel. Corn fuel is not truly sustainable for a worlds demand. If ever vehicle was running on corn, the corn production needed would cut into not only the environment as individuals desecrate the eco-system but also the demand for food. This would have a negative effect on the environment and economics.

Geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is an exciting new renewable resource for meeting energy needs. Geothermal is look at as a clean resource to most companies. Geothermal uses the earth natural heat to produce energy. One way to produce energy from this method is to use the heat from magma. Magma is molten rock; this is an extreme heat source. Geothermal is looked at as a renewable resource in Hawaii, instead of a sustainable resource. Individuals are concerned about the environmental impact this type of technology would have. Some of the concerns are the process called fracking and poisonous gas release into the air. Other concerns are the cutting down of the tropical rain forest to meet the needs of roadways and fracking.

According to Cocke (2013), “With hydraulic fracturing, a mixture of water, sand and chemicals is pumped deep into the ground where pressure causes fracturing, or cracks, in the shale. Gas and oil seeps into the cracks and can be pumped to the surface. But Susan Petty, president of Seattle-based AltraRock Energy, says that geothermal fracking is different. It involves a technology called hydro-shearing, which doesn’t pose the same risks, she said. With hydro-shearing, water is pumped down wells into the reservoir to expand existing cracks. But, she said, the pressure is much less and the technique is not trying to break rock, only open up existing cracks” (Geothermal pulled Into fracking debate).

Although the debate on fracking in Hawaii is about the leeching of harmful substances into the aquifers, the issue of sulfur gasses into the air remains undisputed. Companies say the amount of gasses released is nothing to worry about because Hawaii’s volcanoes are still active and releasing those gasses naturally. The word “naturally”, stands out to most activists on the islands. Natural is just that natural. Fracking and releasing gasses is not natural. The rainforest is also precious to most of the people living in Hawaii. Most of the rain forest has been damaged because of past development. Currently people are trying to save what is left, in the hopes that prior damage will be reversed naturally over time.

According to Oracle thinkquest (2013), “The people who are against geothermal say that Hawaiian rain forests are cut down to make roads and buildings for the geothermal plants. If the Hawaiian rain forests are cut down, many endangered native plants and animals may become extinct. Some of these plants and animals live only in this area. Furthermore, steam from geothermal plants is full of sulfur and other chemicals” (para. 3).

The positive side of Geothermal is an unlimited amount of heat that can be used for energy. As the heat from down below is used, it can drive turbines that will turn the generators for energy. Hawaii is an oil-based state for energy. The use of geothermal is an obvious choice to a cheaper more abundant energy source. Tapping into a hydrothermal convection is one of the most typical ways of capturing energy. In this process cold water is allowed to seep into the earth, through cracks. As the cold water enters the earths crust, the cold water heats up. Once the water is hot, steam rises. Geothermal technology would capture this steam and direct it to a turbine, driving a generator to produce energy.

Solar energy

Solar power is another form of renewable resource. Solar energy works by exciting electrons. Basically, a crystal is device of a tight bold of electrons, shared by the atoms that make up the crystal. When the suns rays hits the crystal the electrons become excited. The excited electrons start to move around creating current. This process is what happens when an individual places solar panel on Solar energy has a good outlook for the future. Based on solar water heater stats of 1995-2005, solar water heaters for pool systems was actually good. According to Brown (2013), “The U.S. rooftop solar water heating industry has historically concentrated on a niche market—selling and marketing 100 million square feet of solar water heaters for swimming pools between 1995 and 2005” (Chapter 9). After 2005 federal tax credits were offered to help give incentives for individuals wanting to “Go Green.” The industry tripled in sales, with Hawaii, California, and Florida leading the way. California has set a goal to install at least 200,000 solar water heaters by 2017 and New York looking to meet a goal of 170,000 of these units. Germany has approximately two million homes with solar space and water heater systems installed.

Geothermal is also looking good for area within the Pacific Rim. Geo thermal can provide direct heat or electricity. The versatility and accessibility to millions of people help to make it easier to promote at an affordable cost.

According to Brown (2013), “ The geothermal potential to provide electricity, to heat homes, and to supply process heat for industry is vast. Among the geothermal rich countries are those bordering the Pacific in the so-called Ring of Fire, including Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, the United States, Canada, Russia, China, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Australia. Other well-endowed countries include those along the Great Rift Valley of Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, and those around the Eastern Mediterranean. As of 2010, there are some 70 countries with projects under development or active consideration, up from 46 in 2007” (Chapter 9).

Oil and natural gas will be depleted one day, as different nations start to feel the strain off maintaining that type of energy the cost will go up. Alternative energies will become more attractive to save money while helping the environment. Both soar and Geothermal will continue to have its place in the alternative market as renewable sources of a sustainable plan.

Conclusion

In conclusion Sustainable energy programs is the way most societies is heading to. Situations, like Peak Oil and climate change in the face of government and corporation, incentives to get the general pubic involved as well will be used for years to come. Solar is well on its way for both water heat and electricity. Geothermal has its place as well, but for now public opinion and technology seems to be the hold up for such systems to be installed for a major share into the market. Going green slogans may have gone out of style the need for energy and cost savings will not be going out of style anytime soon.

References

Brown, L. (2013). World on the edge how to prevent environmental and economic collapse. Retrieved August 20, 2013, from http://www.earth-policy.org/books/wote/wotech9

Cocke, S. (2013). Lawmaker raises alarm about geothermal fracking in hawaii. Retrieved August 19, 2013, from http://www.civilbeat.com/articles/2013/01/30/18208-lawmaker-raises-alarm-about-geothermal-fracking-in-hawaii/

Energylinx. (2013). Sustainable Energy . Retrieved August 19, 2013, from http://energylinx.co.uk/sustainable_energy.htm

Locke, S. (2013). How does solar power work. Retrieved August 19, 2013, from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-does-solar-power-work

Oracle thinkquest. (2013). Geothermal, an energy alternative. Retrieved August 19, 2013, from http://library.thinkquest.org/5410/Geothermal_folder/geothermal.html

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