Lets take a couple of minutes and look at alternative sources of energy . There are different reasons for this . One reason is that we simply want to become more energy independent in the United States , and for us that partly means no longer needing to buy and important a lot of oil from places that are hostile to us such as the Middle East and Venezuela. We get the majority of our imported oil from north of the border in Canada, and we produce about 50% of our own oil (which we don’t sell to anyone overseas because we use up all of our oil), but our modern American civilization requires tons of energy and thus barrel after barrel of oil , so we still have to import from places we would rather not be dependent on . Yet, our government feels pressured from “green” groups not to allow any more areas for drilling to be opened up in our own country, and therefore we are now driven to seek out alternative energy sources to fossil fuels.
Speaking of the “green groups”, people today are concerned about pollution . Coal and oil refining and burning produce large amounts of pollution over time, and so do the aging electrical power grids that they support. Oil spills in the ocean usually don’t happen, but when they do they are absolutely disastrous. We also don’t want to fight the fire while we’re feeding the flames–we want to set out cleaning up our ugly, smelly land fills and other areas of pollution, so why should we continue to create more pollution with our energy production while we try to clean all this up? We have actually been getting cleaner as a society since the early 1970s, but people today are more mindful of pollution than ever before, and so the push is on to get rid of as much of it as possible–again, this means finding alternative fuel sources.
Biofuel is one of the main source of alternate energy that we are talking about today . There are different sources of biofuels and it turns out that one of these can be the decaying matter in our landfills. So, burning the waste chemicals of the landfills (which burn cleanly) is an alternative way of generating energy that would also diminish the landfills, ridding us of much pollution. Universities and some private companies are working on this technology at the time of this writing.
Other sources of biofuels are food crops such as corn and soy beans . However, many people are opposed to using much of these because as of right now the fossil fuel energy required to create the biofuels defeats their whole purpose, and because critics point out that it’s not usually a good idea to burn one’s food just to be able to drive one’s car. So research into more efficient ways of devising biofuels continues, but holds much promise.
Solar energy is the most well known alternative energy source . Solar panels continue to become better, cheaper, and more miniaturized and of course they create zero pollution, but we probably have another century to go before we can rely heavily, as a society, upon solar energy.
One of the most intriguing alternative energy sources being developed today is geothermal energy. This simply harnesses the heat that wells up under the earth’s crust and it is a zero-pollution energy source. Much development of geothermal plants still needs to be done, however.
Two other source of energy we need to think about are atomic energy and of course wind energy . However, both face stiff opposition–wind energy because the number of windmills that would need to be in place to make it practical is daunting to ponder, and atomic energy mostly because it is not well understood by the general populace and because “green groups” oppose the need to store the nuclear waste material.
We have a very long way to go before we can rely practically on alternative energy instead of today’s main sources of energy , but development continues relentless