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Alternative Energy Sources: Wind, Solar and Wave Energy

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As Earth continues to suffer the effects that result from our dependence on fossil fuels, the need for developing alternative energy sources increases. The process of burning fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide and this gas is wreaking havoc on the planet’s climate. Climate change is a serious threat to many species, and scientists predict the aftermath from these changes may be devastating. Increased temperatures and superstorms pose a direct threat to many forms of life, including humans. The world’s ice is melting at an accelerated rate. Sea levels continue to rise, upsetting the balance of many ecosystems across the globe. Replacing fossil fuels with alternative energy, such as wind, solar, and wave energy, is a positive way to slow down global warming and hopefully prevent the most harmful effects from taking place. Scientists forecast many negative scenarios if humans worldwide fail to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal. It is recommended that alternative energy sources be used instead of fossil fuels in homes and businesses worldwide.

Wind Energy

Wind energy is a promising alternative energy source. It describes the process of harnessing the power of wind and converting it into electricity. The windmills that our ancestors used have largely been replaced by more powerful, mechanical wind turbines, which have proved themselves to be a more efficient energy source. The motion of air molecules in one direction cause large turbine blades to spin. The turbine connected to the blades ultimately converts energy to electricity. The electricity is transferred to a power grid and then used. Wind energy provides several advantages when compared to fossil fuels. For instance, wind energy is a clean, renewable source. Because wind energy does not require any water to convert into electricity, it is a great energy choice for communities who want to conserve water as well as limit fossil fuels.

Solar Power

The sun provides the planet with a great deal of energy. Plants have been able to harness that power for millions of years, and recently humans have started to learn how they can capture the energy of Earth’s nearest star. Solar power is a great way to reduce fossil fuel dependency. Several forms of solar energy are used on small and large-scale projects. The three most common types of solar powered projects include solar thermal, solar cells, and passive solar. Solar power provides several benefits. While it is a clean energy source, it is also cost effective. Many solar powered setups may require an initial investment, however, many business owners and homeowners find that the systems pays for themselves over time. Solar power produces so much energy that some home and business owners sell their excess electricity to utility companies.

Wave Energy

Wave energy is a promising alternative resource that taps into the kinetic energy of the constantly-moving tides and ocean waves. Using many different kinds of mechanical solutions, scientists and engineers aim to convert that energy into electricity. The amount of energy harnessed is directly related to the size of the wave. Unlike solar power that has been around for many years, wave energy is relatively a new concept. While wave power stations are in use around the globe, the United States has yet to really tap into this energy source. The state of Oregon is currently working on a system that would utilize wave power. The first wave energy station was established in Islay, Scotland. The station is referred to as the “LIMPET.” The wave energy system reduces the creation of greenhouse gasses and does not contribute to global warming, making it a viable technology that offers many advantages.