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Alternative Energy: Solar And Wind Essay

2284 words - 9 pages

AbstractThe ever growing amount of pollution in our air, land, and seas caused by fossil fuel burning power plants makes it blatantly clear that alternative forms of energy need to be implemented. While carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, man has been eradicating forests that purify our air. For more than 20 years, the technology to produce clean electricity with little or no harmful byproducts has been available, but not mass implemented. It is time that the world realizes the impact that fossil fuel burning power plants are having on the environment, and switch to clean sources of renewable energy. The two most popular and environmental friendly solutions that can easily meet the world's energy demands are wind turbine and solar power generators.IntroductionThe generation of electricity using renewable resources as opposed to burning fossil fuels is quickly gaining attention in the United States as a new land use. Wind generation facilities have been in operation in areas of Europe and California for decades, however, it was not until the current inflation in oil prices and promises to close coal fired generation plants that serious attention has been placed on the topic of renewable energy generation. Since the invention of the first fossil fuels by GM, the health of our ecosystem has been steadily declining. Renewable resources such as solar and wind generated electricity provide both humans and the earth a better alternative than fossil fuels. In order for man to continue to flourish on earth, we must strive to increase the research, development, and implementation of renewable energy resources before we damage the earth beyond repair.Pollution Caused by Fossil Fuel Electricity PlantsThe Department of Energy [DOE] (2008) states that the US uses fossil fuels "…to generate more than 2/3rds of its electricity. 51% is generated with coal, 15% is generated with natural gas, and 3% is generated with petroleum." These fossil fuel-fired electricity producing power plants are the largest producer of air pollution in the United States, pumping out more than 25 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air annually. Carbon dioxide is now the most abundant anthropogenic (human-caused) greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. In 2003, the total worldwide energy consumption of electricity solely produced by oil, coal, gas, and nuclear means was over 113 quadrillion BTUs. The DOE projects that by 2030, this number will increase to over 166 quadrillion BTUs, nearly a 50% increase in 25 years. This will ultimately increase the carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution rates by an exponential amount. Until 2004, the concentrations of CO2 have been rising at a rate of about .5% per year, sparking world energy use to be at the center of the climate debate. With increased population growth and without intervention, the pollution rate will only continue to increase to critical rates. Plants can naturally convert carbon dioxide into oxygen during photosynthesis, but...

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