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Advantages and Disadvantages of Alternative Energy

The conventional sources of energy, especially coal and oil are not only causing an irreparable
damage to the environment but are also getting very expensive. Alternative energy offers a
solution for the rising demand for energy but it is also posing a number of challenges.

Advantages of Alternative Energy

 Environmental benefits. Low or zero carbon emission is without a doubt the main
advantage of alternative energy over fossil fuels. Solar and wind power virtually
produce zero carbon emissions, while wood is providing a sustainable, environmentally
friendly and inexpensive energy for heating, of course under condition that the
firewood is sourced in sustainably managed forests and burned in efficient wood
burning stoves.

 Increased energy security. Fossil fuels are unequally distributed and make the global
economy dependent on a few exporting countries. Utilisation of alternative energy
thus significantly reduces dependence from the international energy supplies which in
turn increases energy security by providing a stable and cost-effective energy supply.

 Sustainability. Unlike the traditional types of energy which are non-renewable,


alternative forms of energy are renewable which means that they offer sustainable and
stable energy supply in the long term. The Sun will not stop shining, the wind will not
stop blowing, trees that are cut down for wood can easily be replaced, etc..

Disadvantages of Alternative Energy

 High cost. Unfortunately, the technologies that utilise alternative sources of energy
remain relatively expensive. This of course has a major influence on the prices of
energy which in turn causes concerns about adverse economic effects. A large segment
of industry depends heavily on cheap energy in order to be able to keep up with the
fierce global competition.

 Low efficiency. Alternative energy technologies are relatively new in offices and are not
particularly efficient. This poses a problem with feasibility because the investment may
not return, even in the long term. As a result, the interest of private investors for green
technologies remains relatively low, while the Government can finance only a certain
amount investments at a time.

 Issues with the stability of the system. The energy sector is not only seeking for
alternative solutions to lower carbon dioxide emissions but to meet the rising demand
for energy as well. In order for the energy supply system to remain stable, it is crucial
for the supply to meet the demand. And with current technologies available,
alternative types of energy – especially the most desirable ones such as solar energy –
are unable to produce enough energy to meet the demand.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Renewable Energy

 One major advantage with the use of renewable energy is that as it is renewable it is
therefore sustainable and so will never run out.
 Renewable energy facilities generally require less maintenance than traditional
generators. Their fuel being derived from natural and available resources reduces the
costs of operation.

 Even more importantly, renewable energy produces little or no waste products such as
carbon dioxide or other chemical pollutants, so has minimal impact on the
environment.

 Renewable energy projects can also bring economic benefits to many regional areas, as
most projects are located away from large urban centres and suburbs of the capital
cities. These economic benefits may be from the increased use of local services as well
as tourism.

The Disadvantages of Renewable Energy

 It is easy to recognise the environmental advantages of utilising the alternative and


renewable forms of energy but we must also be aware of the disadvantages.

 One disadvantage with renewable energy is that it is difficult to generate the quantities
of electricity that are as large as those produced by traditional fossil fuel generators.
This may mean that we need to reduce the amount of energy we use or simply build
more energy facilities. It also indicates that the best solution to our energy problems
may be to have a balance of many different power sources.

 Another disadvantage of renewable energy sources is the reliability of supply.


Renewable energy often relies on the weather for its source of power. Hydro
generators need rain to fill dams to supply flowing water. Wind turbines need wind to
turn the blades, and solar collectors need clear skies and sunshine to collect heat and
make electricity. When these resources are unavailable so is the capacity to make
energy from them. This can be unpredictable and inconsistent. The current cost of
renewable energy technology is also far in excess of traditional fossil fuel generation.
This is because it is a new technology and as such has extremely large capital cost.

What is Alternative Energy?

Alternative energy also known as renewable energy is the energy that is considered an
alternative to fossil fuels.

Here we find the green energy sources, which are also renewable and are produced by the sun,
wind, hydro, geothermal heat, bio, waves, rain, waste and other sources of clean power.
Renewable energy sources have appeared as a response to the conventional energy sources
represented by fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas because during combustion, these fuels
are releasing harmful emissions into the atmosphere, which leads to global warming and
climate change.

What are the Advantages of Alternative Energy?

1. Alternative energy represents a renewable energy source that will never run out.

Fossil fuels are considered non-renewable energy sources because they are finite sources of
energy due to the fact that they will run out in just a few decades.

Alternative energy is considered a renewable energy source because provides a sustainable


and stable supply of clean energy in the long term.

(Wind turbines harness the power of the wind.)

2. Alternative energy is good for the environment.

Alternative energy is good for the environment because renewable energy sources like wind
and solar produce zero emissions.

Biomass (wood chips) is another renewable energy source (trees regrow) that produces very
low emissions (lower than natural gas).

3. A reliable source of energy.

Alternative energy is considered a reliable source of energy because the technological


development in recent years allowed these clean energy sources to enter more and more into
the global energy mix.

However, the renewables represent today a very small percent in the world energy mix, but the
continuous technological development of the human society will allow the renewables to
consolidate their position in the energy mix of every country up to the level when the world
energy mix will consist only of renewable energy sources.

4. Energy independence.

Alternative energy sources are the solution to getting energy independence for every
household.

In the society of the future every household will produce and store its own clean electricity
produced by the renewable energy sources available in that place.
Places with plenty of sunshine will harness the power of the Sun to produce clean electricity
that will power the house during the day, but also during the night with the help of advanced
energy storage devices.

What are the Disadvantages of Alternative Energy?

1. One of the main disadvantages is represented by low efficiency.

The today’s technology used to generate renewable energy (clean electricity) has its l

The low efficiency specific to these technologies creates a problem with the feasibility of such
projects because the investment may return in a long period of time, which in some cases does
not justify the initial investment.

(The Sun is a constant source of clean power.)

2. A very high cost.

Sadly, even if alternative energy sources have appeared to replace the fossil fuels that pollute,
the green technology of today is still expensive for most of the population.

Without governmental incentives and subsidies that support the development of the green
energy sector in the world, many green projects developed today would be remained only on
paper.

3. Alternative energy is not a constant source of energy.

If we take each alternative energy source to see if it represents a constant source of clean
energy, we see that some of them rely pretty much on weather conditions.

Solar panels do not produce electricity during the night, and low amounts of electricity during
cloudy and rainy days.

Wind turbines produce clean electricity during the day and also during the night, but only if
there is wind.

Wood chips that are burned as biomass to produce low emission electricity requires huge
quantities of wood (to produce wood chips) every year

However, the latest energy storage devices available on the market allow us to store the clean
electricity produced by our solar panels or wind turbine for a later use (during cloudy days,
during the night or during days without wind).

Also, if we want to have a continuous source of clean power at our disposal, we need to
combine solar and wind power because if there is no sun, it means that is night, or it is a cloudy
day, so there are plenty of chances for a good wind that can be used by our small turbine to
produce clean electricity.

The latest battery created by Tesla for the home and small business (Powerwall 2) can store
now 14 kWh of clean energy and deliver an output of 7 kW.

At utility scale, Tesla provides now an improved battery called Powerpack 2.

(Wood chips used as biomass represent a good source of renewable energy with low
emissions.)
4. Alternative energy is generated in small quantity compared with the global demand of
energy.

Today, is very difficult to generate enough clean energy to power a medium town, a big town or
even an entire country.

Renewable energy is produced in small scale compared with the global demand of energy, and
to increase the generation capacity in the world up to a level which would count in the global
energy mix, we need to use large surfaces of land (which can be used for agriculture) and huge
financial efforts of the governments around the world.

That is the reason why green technology needs to evolve, an improved efficiency of the devices
that are harnessing renewable energy would decrease the land surface required to install
them, and a further decrease in costs, would facilitate the emergence of new green projects
around the world that would increase the generation capacity and the presence of the
renewables in the world energy mix.

What are the possible mitigation measures?

Major options needed to reach the maximum concentration objective of 450 ppm CO2eq
include:

 Replacing coal-fired power plants with modern, highly efficient natural gas power
plants, provided that natural gas is available and that gas leaks are kept low during
extraction and distribution;

 More efficient energy use, as well as tripling to nearly quadrupling the share of zero-
and low-carbon energy sources by the year 2050; this includes renewables, nuclear
energy, fossil energy with CO2 capture and storage (CCS), and bioenergy with CCS
(BECCS).

 Reducing CO2 emissions in all transport modes, through technical improvements,


behavioural changes, as well as new infrastructure and urban redevelopment
investments.

How can individuals contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions?

 Individuals could substantially lower emissions by changing their diet, reducing food
waste, and modifying consumption patterns such as mobility demand and modes,
energy use in households, choice of longer-lasting products. Such changes in behaviour
may improve energy efficiency by 20 to 30 % in 2030 (medium evidence, medium
agreement).

 In developed countries, lifestyle and behavioural changes could reduce energy demand
in buildings by up to 20% in the short term and by up to 50% by mid-century.