Term Paper: Alternative Energy Source or Technology

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Alternative Energy Sources

United States consumes about 3.8 trillion kWh per year. About 87% of this power is derived from fossil fuel power resources. With the increasing global population the power demand is sky rocketing. In the recent years power plants have been increasing their production capacities to carter for the ever increasing demand, this has led to the increases in the carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere and consequently global warming is threatening the lives on the globe. With these facts, a renewed need for another power production alternative is triggered and there is urgent need to address the problem of power demand and reduce carbon dioxide emission. There are several advantages of using wind power plants as opposed to the current use of fossil fuel driven power plants (Hazel 17). This paper will analyze these advantages while comparing those of using wind power to those of using fossil fuels. The Alternative Energy source will also be described and its consequent environmental impact analyzed. While doing this analysis, the economic factors which have driven this implementation will be considered and also the factors that make this alternative viable politically.

Effects of fossil fuel on the environment

During the combustion, fossil fuels produce heat energy carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Sometime sulfur emissions are also produced. These gases have detrimental effects to the environment; carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere results in rise of global temperature, global warming. The gases released during combustion also combine with rain water to produce acid rain, which destroy vegetations. Also Carbon dioxide released to the environment destroys the ozone layer and exposes the lives on earth to highly dangerous radiations from the sun.

The wastes from the processing of fossil fuel form clogs that destroy soil fertility and increase the soil acidity. When the toxic material finds their way to the water sources they contaminate it and deny people and other animal fresh drinking water.

Fossil fuels are widely used around the world and they require to be transported from where they are mined to the power plants. During transportation, fossil fuels leak in the ocean waters and endanger the marine lives. Wind will not need to be transported from one place to the other and also it does not affect the environment (Emerson).

More should be invested in wind power generation.

The demand for power in the United States is ever increasing due to industrialization and increase in population. Currently, of all the energy sources used fossil fuels contributes about 87% and the other sources contribute the other 13%. Researchers have indicated that the fossil fuel sources might not last for another century; this will force the government to invest in other forms of energy like wind energy. The potential of wind energy in the united has been placed at 20%. The potential regions that can be used for power production are found in almost all state. According to data from a research conducted by Northwest Laboratory, North Dakota is can produce a wind power that can contribute 20% to the national grid.

What are the environmental costs associated with wind power production alternative

Wind power production process is clean and has very few environmental impacts as compared fossil fuels. Fossil fuel produces costly implications to the environment; the clogs formed on farming grounds necessities rehabilitation process. The acidic rain that is formed as a result of accumulation of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide causes rotting and decomposition of structures and reduces their projected lifetimes. Building of new structures is an indirect cost paid due to use of fossil fuels. If wind power is used these costs will be reduced (Shwartz, Mark).

The production plants required for fossil fuel power plants are very costly to install as compared to the ones for wind power production. Degradation of the structures due to heat is also very high in the fossil fuel power plants while the lifetime of a wind power plant is longer ("Energy resources: wind Power.").

Fossil Fuel Power Production Environmental Concerns

Although wind power plants have relatively little impact on the environment compared to fossil fuel power plants, concerns have been raised over the noise produced by the rotor blades, visual impacts,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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