Current demand for energy increases all the time, the population of the world is increasing rapidly meaning each day more and more people need food and warmth. Increasingly people want to travel, and the fuels we use to produce energy are swiftly deteriorating. We must use our remaining fuels wisely and efficiently and look for new sources of energy, an example of increasing efficiency, would be insulating homes more thoroughly, in this way, we can clearly make our existing supplies last for a longer period of time.
We also need to understand what energy sources are available on our planet, in this report I shall look at different types of energy with advantages and disadvantages for each in regard to electricity production. In particular, I shall distinguish between renewable and non-renewable energy sources, new sources are obviously being constantly researched however we must also consider the effect of each source on our increasingly delicate environment, some such energy source can cause lasting damage to this planet. First I shall look at renewable energy sources, these are sources that can be replenished and so will not run out.
Wood is an example of a renewable energy source, it can be cut down for fuel and then fresh trees can be planted to replenish the energy source. There is however one flaw with using wood as an energy source, and that is that burning wood produces CO2. Our demands for fuel and our worries about the rise of global warming have encouraged us to search further a field for alternative energy sources. We need renewable sources that do not pollute the planet or contribute to global warming by producing greenhouse gases. Power Sources Currently Available: Renewable Energy Sources: Wind:
The wind is powered by the sun’s heat energy, and is a renewable energy source that has been used for many hundreds of years, most prominently for the production of flower to make bread. In more recent times, wind power is still used for it’s initial purpose, however now wind is also used to drive generators and produce electricity. The energy produced is clean, however, wind power can only be harvested in areas where the wind blows with enough energy throughout the year. Despite the clean energy, wind farms are an eyesore and are also fairly noisy and so in rural areas there are often campaigns to prevent the building of a wind farm.
This is a good reason why, as shown in the image of the “Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium”, wind farms are often built out to sea, where there are no people to complain about noise pollution and an eyesore. Water: We have three main different ways of harnessing the power water has to offer, these are: Hydroelectric Power: The kinetic energy available in large bodies of moving water is phenomenal and has been used as a prominent source of energy for many hundreds of years, to help grinding corn into flower, as with wind, in medieval times and even in Roman and Greek times for the same purpose.
These people always used the water wheel to do this work however in more modern times, turbines have been invented, these are used to turn generators in a hydroelectric power station, such as Hoover Dam shown in the image. These power stations use stored gravitational potential energy of water in high reservoirs built in mountains. The gravitational potential energy is converted into kinetic energy as the water flows down the mountain below. The energy produced in this way is renewable. The sun causes the water to evaporate continuously and to be drawn up into the atmosphere.
This water then falls as rain to be collected in reservoirs and used again. Tidal Power: The tides also involve the movement of huge amounts of water. Tidal power generation schemes, such as that at La Rance, Brittany, generate power by turning turbines as the tide flows into a dammed river estuary. As the tide falls, the turbines are spun again. The energy for the movement of the tides is provided by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun. This is a renewable energy source, using a small fractional of the continuous supply of gravitational energy.
Wave Energy: Energy can also be extracted from waves. The continuous movement of the seas and oceans is the result of the combination of tides and wind. A variety of methods have been developed to make use of the rise and fall of water due to waves. Again, this energy is renewable, as the movement of energy of the waves is continuously available. Water power is clean, producing no greenhouse gases or unwanted waste products. One drawback of harnessing water power is the visual impact on the environment of features like dams.