Natural Resources and Energy Paper Essay
Natural Resources and Energy Paper
Wind Power and Global Role
The world has been using wind energy for over 100 years now to generate power. “The first known use was in 5000 BC when people used sails to navigate the Nile River” (Alternative Energy, 2008-2012). Beginning in the early 1900’s, wind mills were used to pump groundwater in Midwestern portions of the country primarily. Today, windmill technological advances have brought about the development of powerful wind turbines and sophisticated windmill farms across the country. In many cases, the development of these devises has caused a decline in generating cost resulting in wind energy competitive with several other conventional sources of electricity. Today, wind is one of the leading sources of electricity beating out coal; coal can cause health issues as wind does not. Wind power has been the fastest growing energy source and some people are saying that is the reasoning behind the Global Warming Effect. There is talk already that in the next thirty to forty years the world’s energy will have to come from wind, solar or some other renewable resource. Wind power is used globally and plays several different roles in different areas of the world. Most areas though are using the same types of equipment for the energy resource, which are the windmills and turbines. In these different areas the climate control will control the amount of wind power being produced. In the hotter areas that have less wind are definitely not going to produce the same amo Alternative energy, Capacunts of wind energy as places that are in the windy areas like Seattle and Chicago. So from a geographical stand point, if someone is looking to generate mass quantities of energy from wind, then being in Arizona is not going to be a good choice. Growing Human Population
The population in terms of its affect on wind energy has very little effect on wind power production for one reason and one reason only. That is because winds are a direct result of the `uneven heating of the earth’s surface by solar radiation. So technically they are just another source of solar energy. There are still some major deficiencies of Wind power. Wind is not a constant source of energy at a particular place. Wind cannot be concentrated in one location, so that it will take up an enormous amount of space to
create an equal amount of wind energy. And finally, once the energy is produced by the wind storing the energy becomes a major concern, meaning how you disperse the energy gathered effectively to the population. Only recently has wind power spread across the country as a somewhat viable source of power with the global initiatives to create and produce alternative energies. The Wind Farms were primarily used in California and recently spread out across the United States. There are some benefits of this energy such as agricultural, rural land use, pastures as well as farmers to use wind power in land open areas. Winds are probably never going to be the main or considered as a major energy producer for this country or for the world for several reasons. The population uses a huge amount of its energies. Because the way that wind energy is created, it has a role in our energy cycle but is reduced because it does not produce the end product energy. The wind is converted into electricity and is a secondary source. Wind used with another source of energy, such as fission being the byproduct of another source of energy could generate several other improvements on different energy sources as well as decreasing the amounts of pressure on current energy sources may be a better and cost-effective approach to using wind energy. The problem with wind power and population is that wind power is not as efficient as our typical fossil fuels and has lower thermal dynamic potential to create the energy needed by the growing population. Another reason is as stated earlier the vast amount of space needed to create the power already effects the population. Most wind farms are in land masses that have already been cleared away, which limits the location. There are pluses and minuses to these areas. The land is usually prepared and cleared in advance so it can be used for farming and other industrial uses. At the same time of harvesting the wind power, some of the concerns would be the noise pollution that comes with a wind farm. Any type of populated area would be unbearable to endure. The population effects on wind energy are in reverse. The growing population does not have an effect on the production of wind energy other than the materials needed in its construction, the removal of large amounts of trees, and the loss of birds because of the blades over time. It seems as though we may be doing more damage than good for the return of energy that would be needed to support the population.
Risks and Benefits of Renewable Energy
Renewable energy resources are sustainable resources that replenish naturally. Such resources are produced from the sun, wind, biomass, tides, and geothermal. The main advantage of renewable resources is that the source is readily available and would never run out. Other important benefits include reducing contributions to global warming and with no polluting emissions. The disadvantages of using renewable energy is the expensive initial cost for setup, the difficulty to achieve the energy requirements needed, and the maintenance on the equipment. Depending on the application, the risks and benefits will vary when using the energy resource. Wind power is an electric energy obtained from surface air currents caused by the solar warming of air. Wind energy is a clean and cost-efficient way for energy. Wind power is placed in rural areas and requires constant wind (at least 15 mph) to operate. The wind turbines are most effective on high grounds where wind speeds are greater. At times, the turbines may kill birds and bats that get in its way. Other risks and disadvantages of wind include the cost, the noise pollution, and the unreliability factor of wind (Clean Energy Ideas, 2012). Solar energy power converts sunlight for heating and generating electricity. Solar power is used in commercial and residential applications. In order for solar power to generate energy, an open area along with sunlight is a necessity to perform properly. The weather, the time of day, and pollution can affect the performance of solar panels. At times, space could be limited and trees would be cut to make room for placing the panels in areas for sufficient amount of energy. Because of lack of space, many solar panels are placed on top of the roof. Some people think the panels make the buildings and property unattractive (Clean Energy Ideas, 2012). Biomass fermentation is plant and animal materials used as fuel. Biomass produces ethanol from different materials such as corn, grains, wood, saw dust and wood chips, plants, and animal wastes. Biomass is easily available where plants and crops are grown. Most of the source is from plants that gather its energy from the sun. In addition, the source is used for heat production, electricity, and fuel for cars. Biomass requires burning of materials, which contributes to air pollution, but it produces less greenhouse gases compared to fossil fuels (EHow, 2012). Hydropower is created as water flows through rivers and streams, the dams convert the energy of water to kinetic energy as the water turns turbines to generate electricity. Hydropower is efficient with 90% of the energy consumed to electricity. The benefits include clean source of energy, availability, and the reservoir can be used for leisure (boating, fishing, and swimming) and irrigation purposes. On the other hand, the risks involve overflow which can destroy the plant vegetation in the process (Benefits of, 2012). Geothermal energy is extracted from the heat produced by the Earth’s core. For centuries, many places have been extracting the source for hot springs. Some areas have geothermal power plants to generate electricity. In other areas, ground source heat pumps are used to extract water for the home or business hot water supply, which helps to reduce energy costs. The disadvantage is that a large area is needed to run the piping system (Clean Energy Ideas, 2012).
As the human population increases, the demand for energy will increase as well. There is much debate for the preferred choice of energy. Wind and other renewable energy resources are a clear alternative if we want to have a sustainable future for our children. Comparing the factors, the advantages with the use of renewable energy outweighs the risks and disadvantages. Although the initial cost will be expensive, the energy used will pay for itself in the long run. Reducing air pollution, contributing less to global warming, and reserving nonrenewable energy resources are just a few benefits with the use of renewable energy as an alternative.
Alternative Energy. (2008-2012). Retrieved from http://www.altenergy.org/
Benefits of (September, 2012). Benefits of Hydropower. Retrieved from http://benefitof.net
Clean Energy Ideas (September, 2012). Natural and Renewable Energy Sources. Retrieved from http://www.clean-energy-ideas.com
EHow (September, 2012). Advantages and Disadvantages of Biomass Energy. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com