Alternative Energy

Is It Our Future?

Essential Question (EQ)

Is alternative energy a viable solution to the energy crisis AND environmental/ecological problems linked to burning fossil fuels?

Basic (Background) Information

The six most promising types of alternative energy are wind, solar, nuclear, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biofuel/biomass

Pros of Changing to Alternative Energy

Cleaner Environment

If we convert to alternative energy then we will have a cleaner environment because there will be less smog in the sky and less waste and pollution to dump in places like landfills and oceans.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions Comparison (Example)

The Cumberland power plant in Tennessee produces 19.6 million tons of carbon dioxide per year compared to the 0 tons of carbon dioxide produced by The South Texas Plant in Wadsworth, Texas.

Fossil Fules Nonrenweable

Fossil fuels are nonrenewable resources. This means that they will eventually run out. If we convert to alternative energy now we will not have to change again. Fossil fuels have only about 100 years left worth of supply not counting growing demand and that will run out. If we don't have a sufficient amount of alternative energy plants civilization will fall.

Oil Reserves (Example)

Saudi Arabia has the most oil left in the world. Saudi Arabia is projected to only have 72.4 years of oil left. Once there is no oil left then energy will have to be produced with alternative energy sources.

Less Waste

Almost all alternative energy sources produce much less waste than fossil fuels. This will reduce the carbon being put into the air and may help lessen global warming.

Less Maintenance Required

Less maintenance is required for some types of alternative energy because they don't need for people to put furl in them. Generic example: solar panels only need to be checked every so often not every day.

More Stable Ecosystems

If we convert to alternative energy (that doesn’t require deforestation) then less species will go extinct and the earth will have more biodiversity therefore making our ecosystems more stable. (Healthy climax communities)

Cons of Changing to Alternative Energy

Not Practicable (Cost)

Completely switching to alternative energy is not practicable. Building alternative energy plants cost more money than fossil fuel plants do. Also most motor vehicles on the planet have petroleum based engines and would all have to be scraped and replaced with more expensive engines that accept alternative energy. Almost all the power plants in the world are coal or oil based so they would ALL have to switch and that would take a lot of time, money, and manpower.

Safety Issues Associated With Some Forms of Alternative Energy

Some forms of alternative energy, such as nuclear energy, can be unsafe and cause health problems for those living around the plant. Nuclear energy causes cancer and it may be unsafe to build a dam on a river. (It can cause flooding)

Nuclear Saftey/Chernobyl (Example)

The Chernobyl accident in Russia proved to some that nuclear energy is too dangerous to use. It spread millions of tons of radioactive material all over Europe.

Space Required For Alternative Energy

Some forms of alternative energy, with current technology, require vast amounts of space. Solar, biofuel/biomass, and wind energy all require large areas to collect enough resources to make sufficient energy and that can not only damage wildlife it can also destroy views.

The Genesis Solar Energy Project (Example)

The Genesis Solar Energy Project is very large and cannot produce much electricity. It is 1950 acres and can only power 100,000 households. (580,000mw/h)

Waste Issues 

Some types of alternative energy produce harmful or lethal waste. For example nuclear energy produces nuclear waste which can mutate animals and people. Also, some forms of biofuel also output carbon dioxide which is the same gas that fossil fuels emit.

Can Destroy Environment

Alternative energy can harm the environment too. A hydroelectric plant requires a dam which can harm the natural cycle or path of a river. Hydroelectricity can also harm the fish that live there, or the usefulness of farms near it.

 The Aswan High Dam (Example)

The Aswan high dam has had some bad effects on the environment. It has stopped the yearly flooding which brings soil that is good for farming and it has caused some salt water to go into the Nile delta.

Conclusion/Answer to Essential Question

Final Thoughts

With current technology, alternative energy is not a viable solution to the energy crisis (growing demand for energy) however it would solve most ecological problems. If we focus more on developing our methods of producing renewable energy than we can replace fossil fuels and solve the energy crisis once and for all.


Works Cited

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