Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on TwitterAlternative energy sources are sources of energy that aren’t classified as fossil fuels or nuclear. Fossil fuels take so much time to form and machines and power plants that use them have been found to be major emitters of carbon dioxide, and hence may be causing global warming. Nuclear energy, on the other hand, is difficult to dispose without putting communities in the nearby surroundings at risk.
Because of these reasons, concerned sectors are pushing governments to explore alternative energy sources. Most of the preferred sources are renewable, i.e., easily replenished. Hence, they may come out cheaper in the long run. What’s more, since their carbon footprint is not as high as fossil fuels, they are considered friendly to the environment.
Some alternative energy sources are ocean tides, underwater currents, wind, and the Sun.
Perhaps the fastest rising renewable energy source is wind power. It is immensely popular in the United States and Europe, which both own a huge fraction of the 121,000 Megawatt capacity installed worldwide.
The automobile industry, which accounts for a large fraction of worldwide carbon emissions, is currently experiencing major changes. In a market that was once largely dominated by the Japanese, American car companies like Ford are slowly developing their own hybrid cars; that is, cars that don’t rely so much on gasoline.
These hybrid electric vehicles make use of an internal combustion engine propulsion and electric propulsion combo system. They are naturally less powerful than their purely gasoline or diesel-powered counterparts (and more expensive too) but since governments are making large strides to encourage their development, sales are picking up.
When oil (a fossil fuel) prices were high, it was relatively easier for people to go green. Nowadays however, with oil prices at much lower levels than the past years, consumers and companies find it hard to be attracted to other sources of energy. The economic downturn is complicating things even more, as investing in new infrastructure to accommodate alternative energy sources is just too costly.
The future looks bright for green advocates though. Leaders of countries with the biggest economies have already committed stimulus programs in support of green technologies. Also, the global economy is expected to rebound soon.
Since the price of oil has always been highly dependent on the global economy, it won’t be long until oil prices become less attractive again and people will find it easier to shift to alternative energy sources once more.
The US Department of Energy has a web page that talks about climate change. Want to practice energy efficiency? Read more about the government-backed Energy Star program.
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