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Alternative Energy

The following is a paper I wrote about alternative energy for one of my classes in high school:

Alternative energy is defined as “energy generated in ways that do not deplete natural resources or harm the environment” (Google). In order to take advantage of the abundance of natural resources the Earth has to offer, people must be educated on how to do so in the most efficient manner. Although they may be the most convenient, our dependence on fossil fuels has costly effects later on. Some of the ways fossil fuels are currently affecting the environment include: climate change, air pollution, oil spills, and acid rain. Recently, people have become more aware of the long term effects of this. As concern begins to grow, the demand for alternative energy sources increases. Alternative energy sources are more easily accessible than people realize. Some forms of this include solar, wind, and hydropower energy. These are types of renewable energy that are easily harnessed from nature and are not man made.

Solar power is one of the easiest ways to produce electricity. The sun’s light rays are collected into the solar panels and then converted into usable energy. Solar power is thought to be expensive because of the cost of the panels themselves. Most people do not realize that “the price of solar power lowers and that of conventional fuels rises” every year (AltEnergy). Upfront, the cost may seem high, but after a few years of production, the panels will eventually pay for themselves through the amount of energy they produce. As humans, we tend to want to see immediate results, but in this case, patience is a necessity. Some companies even offer tax rebates, which allow users to get the money back when tax season comes around. This makes the option of solar power more and more accessible for the average person. A problem that most people tend to run into is where to put the solar panels. The first step is to have a location that the sunlight can reach. From there, they can be mounted on roofs or stands so they can start capturing the sunlight. The photovoltaic cells in the panels convert this light into electricity. Once the system is installed, the sun does all the work for years to come.

Wind energy is another form of a renewable resource. The process is simple. Wind is gathered through the wind turbines or wind mills and is converted into electrical energy for everyday use. Currently, “wind power is the world’s fastest growing energy source…” (Alt Energy). There are many places that have taken advantage of wind turbines and have created wind farms. Denmark now produces 40 percent of its energy from wind power. Wind farms are areas that are filled with large wind turbines that collect and convert the wind into energy. Wind energy is also used with sail boats. The sails act as the steering wheel and face in the direction the boat wants to go and the wind moves the boat. Humans have been familiar with this concept for thousands of years. Wind is everywhere and most people are not taking advantage of its many uses in everyday life. It may not be enough to power everything a person does, but slowly building up to that point is possible with the large amount of technology we have access to today.

Hydroelectricity is a form of power that is gathered from moving water. Water is collected through hydroelectric dams such as the Hoover Dam located in the United States. Dams are man-made structures that are built across rivers and help control the water flow. The movement of water allows the process of hydroelectricity to happen by “extracting the kinetic energy from the moving water and converting that energy into power” (Electricity Forum). These dams are equipped with turbines. The turbines have metal coils that surround magnets. The water that falls from the dams causes these magnets to spin and produce electricity. The water then falls into a reservoir and is reused in the process again. Hydroelectricity offers a safe form of a renewable resource that is both naturally occurring and reusable.

The benefits of renewable resources over fossil fuels are endless. They are, overall, better for the Earth and the people who live on it. Fossil fuels are causing the environment to slowly decline and there are ways to prevent that. Solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy are all ways that people can use everyday resources to replace fossil fuels and keep them from harming the delicate environment. It is human nature to want to stick with the resources that we already have, but it is also important to take into account the effects of these resources on our future.

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