Alternative energy continues to fuel wide-ranging debate on a number of fronts. Mankind has known for a very long time that fossil fuels such as coal and oil are finite. There will reach a critical stage in which we find ourselves running out of these reserves. The question as to when this will happen is debatable but we are becoming increasingly aware of the challenges associated with using fossil fuels.
The broad spectrum of the alternative energy debate includes a range of topics and issues and can be a fairly complex one. The complexity varies depending on, but is not limited to, your beliefs, moral values, education on the topic, and/or agenda/s. Social, corporate and environmental sustainability issues have become common topic today and the energy debate must have these broad subjects at the forefront of any discussion.
Alternative energy is defined as any type of energy that is a renewable energy source. Examples of alternative energy are wind, solar, any type of biological process, and geothermal energy flows. Most examples of alternate energy sources can all be indirectly linked to the sun. The exceptions would be geothermal energy or tidal energy. These energy sources are powered by the Earth and the moon’s gravitational pull.
Alternative energy is defined further by its effect upon the Earth’s atmosphere and landscape. The end goal of all alternative fuels is that there are no waste products or harmful byproducts associated with alternative energy’s use.
Are there any hazards to using alternate energy?
If we consider nuclear power as an alternative energy source, then there should be recognition of the dangerous side-effects of radioactive power. When a nuclear core is breached or a meltdown occurs, living organisms and the environment immediately suffer as radiation poisoning spreads. It is for this reason that many environmentalists do not consider nuclear power as an alternate energy. Other alternative energy sources such as the sun, wind and water, do not produce any harmful side-effects.
Is using nuclear power considered an alternate energy source?
This is a debatable question. Several scientists argue that nuclear power is a renewing process that can provide unlimited power. Technically nuclear power would not be considered an alternative energy source due to its byproducts. As evident by the Chernobyl reactor meltdown, the environment suffers a deadly blow if something goes wrong.
What is the initial cost of switching over to using alternate energy?
Switching over depends on what exactly you are switching. Houses that have to be retrofitted using solar panels to generate electricity can be quite costly although many governments around the world are assisting by way of rebates or subsidies. Vehicles are less expensive to retrofit but require work. The best way to get an estimated idea is to search for a mechanic or contractor that is already using alternate energy sources.
The cost of alternative energy sources to consumers can vary for anything switched over. The cost of switching an entire global economy, which has primarily been built around the availability of cheap oil, is massive to say the least. With that said, many argue the cost of doing nothing will be far greater.