Alternative Energy Sources
The Alternative Energies
Alternative energy is a term used to define all other sources of energy apart from fossil fuel. They include all other sources of energy, which can be used in place of fossil fuels, as a mechanism to address challenges brought forth by such fuels. These sources include solar energy, water, wind, geothermal, and hydrogen sources among others (Black 119). The reason for the invention of these sources is the problem that is being created in the environment by the fossil fuels, resulting in global warming. The history of alternative energy sources, dates back to 1950s, when people begun to understand the use of solar and wind energy for private purposes. In 1971, the government of USA endorsed the use of solar energy as an alternative to fossil fuels since it does not harm or interfere with the natural environment.
People are beginning to get environmentally conscious and want to have sustainable sources of energy with less or no side effect on users and the environment (Michaelides 13). The definition and constituents of an alternative energy source have over time changed, bringing forth a lot of controversies regarding their usage. Today, due to the varieties of such energy choices, defining an energy source as an alternative is somewhat controversial. If hydrogen was to be used as an alternative energy of the next century and, we must examine whether its production can be maintained. This is so as to meet the ever increasing needs of energy internationally (Black 121).
The reason that the companies dealing with alternative energies are still lagging behind is the many challenges that their industries face. One of the challenges is cut-throat competition from the fossil fuel companies (Michaelides 11). Oil is cheap in the market and widely available. This makes it difficult for alternative energy firms to compete in the same market. Another thing that makes oil preferred is portability. Unlike wind, electricity and hydro sources of energy, it is easy to move around with oil, making it preferred.
Due to the complexity of the production of such energies, their costs of production tend to be higher that production of fossil fuels (Black 122). For that reason, their consumption retails at higher prices that the other ones. This discourages their use since a rational consumer will not opt for expensive things when there are alternatives in the same market. Another challenge that the industry of alternative energy faces is an oversupply of equipment in the market without an adequate demand. These are some of the social and economic factors that are affecting the adoption of alternative sources of energy (Aitken 9).
The new approach to global warming through research has shown that this condition is coming as a result of human activities. There is a lot of carbon emission into the air by industries and vehicles, which is adversely affecting the ozone layer (Archer 103). Through the erosion of that layer, sun rays are hitting the ground much stronger than before. This is a wake-up call for a change of living habits, warranting the use of alternative energy sources. Much of what is bringing arid areas that were initially green is the over employment of factors that degrade to the environment and lack of consciousness about sustainability (Archer 105). For that reason, the companies dealing with alternative sources of energy have a chance to solve this crisis and help the world in controlling the damage done to the environment through the use of fossil fuels. Deforestation in search for wood and the use of carbonated sources of energy are said to be the major causes of global warming.
There have been concerns by some social movements around the world addressing the over-exploitation of natural resources, but it is yet to attracting enough attention from stakeholders (Haldar 11). There have been several conferences discussing global warming, and the result seems to be bringing more understanding of the issues around it. Social movements are better placed in addressing the issue of global warming than political arms of the government. This is due to their involvement with the general public, who are the majority stakeholders in contributing to the issue.
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Fossil fuels are running low on deposits with very little coal left in the world. Due to the small supply of coal, industries have turned to using oil, and that is the primary cause of the current over-exploitation of it and the frequent crises. Natural gas is very little in all the world deposits. The mines continue to go lower in quantity because its use is increasing on daily basis. Oil sources are sinking deeper due to the continuous exploitation, making it easily affected my market waves, and hence instability in prices (Michaelides 17). This has given a substantial push to the companies producing alternative energies since energy requirement is continually increasing. These sources of energy take a lot of time before they can be formed again, estimated to be millions of years, making them vulnerable to extinction. The more we consume crude oil, coal, and natural gas, the more their deposits are losing quantity, and might soon run empty. People are buying SUVs that require a lot of fuels, and this is where the electric car manufacturers are working on to replace oil with electric power in such vehicles. Due to the increase in the population of cars in the world, the oil reserves are running short of supply, calling for alternative mechanisms for getting energy.
Another reason for replacing oil with alternative sources like solar power is the political and social conflicts between the producing nations and the consuming ones (Aitken 7). For example, solar and wind energy sources are naturally occurring in all parts of the planet, and can be tapped without business treaties between governments (National Renewable Energy Laboratory 13). For instance, the oil crisis of 1973, the government of USA had a hard time trying to restore goodwill in the OPEC group of countries. This is after Iran, and Saudi Arabia declared USA a hostile business partner and cut the oil supply. This was a political move to stop America from supporting the war in Israel. This shows that over dependence on oil can make countries slaves of others, hence calling for alternative sources of energy.
There is hope that alternative energy industries will soon pick since this time round; people are beginning to understand the benefits of using renewable sources of energy. Fossil fuel sources are also running out due to over-exploitation, and it is the best time for people to shift to sustainable energy sources. Renewable sources of energy have not been growing as expected due to consumers over-reliance on the sources of energy they are familiar with; fossil fuels (Black 119). The market uptake of alternative energy sources is not yet up to standards, making some companies lose hope and quit production. However, people are shifting gradually, following the understanding of global warming and the relationship with fossil fuels. The recent oil crises have also made people realize that over-reliance on such sources can be detrimental if it runs short of supply (Aitken 17).
In conclusion, alternative energy sources seem to be the upcoming solution to market and environmental crisis revolving around fossil fuels. There have been numerous trials to come up with better and renewable clean sources of energy, but the world still lags behind in their adoption. This is the over-reliance on oil as the primary source of energy and its availability in the market. However, there is a definite move in some countries, where companies are working day and night to make cars and production machinery that use these new energies to make the world shift. Global warming has been for long, an issue for a long time, and the latest scientific research results, human activities seem to top the list of the causes.