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Alternative Energy

Essay by   •  May 21, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  2,634 Words (11 Pages)  •  1,192 Views

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The reality is that at some point in the foreseeable future, we will undoubtedly run out of oil. Our oil supply is diminishing at a rapid pace and we probably have about fifty years or so left before it runs out completely. For most of our existence oil has been our main source of energy. This enormous problem we face deserves some serious attention and serious action. Scientists and governments everywhere should be working diligently on finding alternative forms of energy. The term "new energy" has risen in the past years as several alternatives to oil have been discovered and tested. This "new energy" and it's pioneers have constantly been pushed aside and met with serious amounts of resistance. This is due to the oil industry and the possibility that "new energy" could potentially cripple it. Over the years however, it has been obvious and impossible to hide the fact that new forms of energy do in fact exist and they are unlimited by nature as well as clean to our environment.

Everyday functions such as getting to and from work, or power to run a home or a place of business can all easily rely on clean "new energy" instead of the typical dirty energy that we use today. It's without a doubt that the way we live our lives today is destroying the environment and the world we live in. There are many examples of new energy sources and ways in which we can use them effectively. There is a problem and an obstacle that faces making "new energy" a reality, this being the lack of strong willed individuals willing to stand up to the oppression of the oil industry. It's not an easy task obviously, but it's tough to gauge where we could really be with clean energy if no one actually gives it a shot.

Hydrocarbons otherwise referred to as "fossil fuel" formed as a result of photosynthesis. Fossil fuels today account for over 80% of the world's use of energy for industrial purposes. The remaining percentages are made up of nuclear energy, electric, and "new energy" makes up about 1% of the world's energy usage. These are disturbing numbers and stats. We're in a world that is fully conscious of the damage being done as a result of our energy usage and yet we still limit our use of clean energy to a mere 1%. Capitalism is at the core of this. The truth is that "alternative energy" really doesn't stand much of a chance at being taken seriously as long as the oil industry is booming. "New energy" threatens the market for oil executives and it in turn threatens the livelihoods of those involved. Oil accounts for about 40% of the world's energy usage. Unfortunately, the United States is a huge contributor to this problem of energy monopoly we are facing. As a country, the United States' population is just over 5% of the total global population. Even at this low level of population, we, as a nation consume over 25% of the oil in production today. That's an incredible ratio. Out of this 25%, half of it is imported oil, meaning that we rely on foreign country's and regions to supply us with our primary source of energy. One could argue that this is the main reason for our continued involvement in the Middle East and it makes sense from a business standpoint. I'd want to protect my way of life and ensure it as much as possible. The problem is much bigger than this and we fail to see it consistently. We are consuming oil at an alarming rate, much faster than it is produced, making our world unsustainable.

One very effective and clean alternative to oil is "wind power." One example of early usage of wind power is the basic sail on a ship. For centuries human beings relied solely on the Earth's wind to move ships from point to point. Windmills were being used by the Persians to pump water and power textile mills. Modern wind turbines used to harness energy from natural wind have come a very long way in a short amount of time. There have been many advancements made to these ancient forms of energy. Wind energy as an alternative source of energy appeals to many people for many reasons. For one, there's a whole lot of it. Another reason, is the cost involved with wind energy. It's incredibly inexpensive. And a third reason, is that is absolutely and unquestionable clean energy. No other form of energy can match these qualities and this makes wind energy a very popular alternative to the use of oil.

In the early 90's the United States released information gathered by the Department of Energy stating that North Dakota, Kansas, and Texas were considered to be the areas with the most heavy winds in the country. It was further revealed that wind energy harnessed from these three states alone could potentially be enough to provide the entire nation with all the electricity it needs. Looking back on the findings from the 90's it's obvious that we have all underestimated the incredible potential this renewable energy source really has.

Although wind energy isn't really all that popular here in the United States as a serious alternative to oil, there are other places in the world that are taking this clean energy source seriously. Europe has been a huge advocate for wind energy for some time now. Their fear of global warming and their refusal to have to depend on oil as a sole energy source have sparked the movement to cleaner, newer energy. The majority of Europe's existing megawatts of energy capacity has been developed on land, although they are now looking to develop wind energy with wind turbines off shore. A study showed that if Europe aggressively moves towards developing wind energy offshore, that its possible for wind to supply the entire continent's residential electricity by the year 2020. That would be an incredible achievement, and something that nations across the globe should look into. There are many countries in Europe that have been aggressively motioning towards bringing more wind power to their regions. Some of these countries include: Germany, Denmark and the United Kingdom. Denmark alone gets over 20% of its electricity from wind turbines. That's a staggering number. Not only has Europe led the way with regards to the actual implementation of these wind turbines for harnessing wind energy, but they have also given their local economy a big boost as a result. The major wind turbine manufacturers are all based in Denmark and Spain giving Europe a big boost financially. Unfortunately, the lack of leadership here in the United States has contributed to lagging in wind energy. Technologically, we can obviously compete with anyone in the world, but the fact that wind energy or any alternative forms of energy for that matter are not on anyone's priorities lists is what's keeping us behind the Europeans in this department. With



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