Writer’s choic Examining Your Community’s Source of Energye
Use of Renewable Resources Rather That Non-Renewable Resources
The use of renewable and non-renewable resources is a subject that is open to discussion all over the world. There are so many questions raised as to why people have not adapted the use of renewable resources in the provision of energy requirements. The continued use of non-renewable resources is dangerous to the future generations. Various communities should be encouraged to change their norms and start to use renewable resources that are naturally regenerated to safeguard the future. Fossil-based fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal are currently the largest provider of the world’s energy consumption. For instance, in the USA, fossil-based fuels provide for about 85 % of the country’s power requirements, (Gray, 1999). This situation is threatening to the future needs for power. We all understand that if the consumption of these resources is not regulated then at one point in future they may get exhausted. The conserved oil gas and coal at the current consumption rate is approximated to last for the next 46 years, 58 years and 118 years respectively, (Pimentel et al., 2002, p. 1117). These approximated uses changes every year, and it only remains true if there will be no future discoveries of oil reserves or other non-renewable energy sources.
Implementation of the transition to use of renewable resources.
There is a need for a change from high consumption of energy given from non-renewable resources and maximize the utilization of the available renewable resources, (Pimentel et al., 2002, p. 1117). Use of fossil-based fuels generates most of the electricity supplied to Georgia and its neighborhood. Georgia power, a utility that is operated by the Southern company is the major supplier of electricity to Georgia and its neighborhood. This company uses coal among other fuels in the production of its electricity and is also a significant emitter of carbon dioxide to the environment. Wood energy can be used as an alternative to coal and due to its abundance, it can be used as a safer method to generate power.
There are various difficulties encountered in this transition despite its economic and environmental benefits. Technologies involved in production and collection of renewable energies required relatively larger pieces of land. Due to high population growth, land as a factor of production is reducing at a high rate. The land resource is required by all sectors ranging from agriculture to construction industries. Therefore scenario brings in competition from various areas for this limited resource. Countries like The USA devote much of their land to agriculture in effort to boost food production, (Pimentel et al., 2002, p. 1117). In this paper, the use of solar energy, wind power and geothermal power will be considered as an alternative environmentally friendly and safe energy resources. This energy sources will be an alternative to the most commonly used kerosene for lighting and the electricity produced out of fossil fuels.
Fossil energy systems require less labour than the renewable energy systems. For instance wood fired steam plants required more labour force than coal-fired plants. However, the problems that are caused by the fossil fuels are more hazardous to the environment. This transition is yet faced by another constraint that is the relationship between the location of the renewable power production plants and large population centers, (Pimentel et al., 2002, p. 1117). This problem can be dealt with by setting aside land that is not suitable for settlement and agriculture for the production of renewable energy. For example, areas arid and semi-arid areas are not likely to be used for agricultural production. On the other hand, they can be enough stations for the manufacture of wind power. Therefore, planning, budgeting and investment in renewable energy is necessary to the current world to save the future generations.
For the society to move from over dependence on non-renewable energy, the people should be enlightened on the danger that comes with the use of non-renewable resources. The community should be aware of adverse impacts such as global warming, air and water pollution that affect human health just to mention a few. Pimentel et al., (2002) says that wind farms located in the deserts of the southwest of America may be too far and hence require a high cost of transporting the energy to the settlement areas. But he does not compare the cos of transportation of the power with the world’s major problems such as global warming. Therefore, it is important to dig a little deeper into the pockets for the safety of the future.
Wind power is generated from a wind turbine connected to a generator that produces electricity out of the force of the wind. The wind occurs due the difference in pressure of two areas forcing air to move from the region of high-pressure to the low-pressure area hence causing the wind. This method of energy production has been in use since the ancient times only that the technology involved in electricity production has changed. There is the adoption of new techniques incorporated to increase its efficiency. Statistics shows that over the last decade, the use of wind turbines in the production of electricity rose by 20% every year. Power harnessed by big wind turbines can supply about 600 homes sufficiently in the United States, (Gray, 1999). Some homes have small individual turbines out of which they can supply for themselves electricity. The wind, apart from being a renewable source of energy, it’s a clean source of energy. It does not pollute either air or water. The cost of electricity production via this method are nearly zero after the turbines have been erected. Due to increase in technology and mass production of wind power, the cost of turbines is gradually reducing and the government’s involvement in giving incentives spur the development of wind energy, (Nelson, 2009).
The use of kerosene lanterns is common in most families that have limited access to the national power grid. Solar energy provides another renewable alternative source of energy in proving enough lighting in the homesteads. Kerosene lanterns have adverse effects on the user and the environment. The kerosene that burns in the lamp releases a lot of carbon dioxide to the environment, (Gray, 1999). The gases emitted build up in the environment for a long time, and they contribute significantly to global warming. In cases of a poorly ventilated house, the emitted gases cause a bad smell and may lead to fatal respiratory diseases. Another demerit associated with the use of petroleum fuels is the bad quality of their light. Lighting produced by kerosene lamps is dim compared to solar lamps and therefore not recommended for in reading for a prolonged period. The dim light make the eye strain that result in eye irritation. The lamps explode easily and may cause a fire in congested homes.
Another highly used source of energy is hydroelectric power. Coal-fired plants and hydro-electric plants work in a similar way yet on is safer than the other. Hydro-electric power is widely used in Georgia and its neighborhoods. Falling water at high speed is used to turn the turbines that are collected to a motor that produces electricity. The knowledge used in this system is to build a lot of pressure by accumulating a lot of water in a dam to make a larger reservoir. The greater the height of water from the outlet the higher the speed at which water flows out to the turbines and the more electricity is produced. The energy in the flowing water is converted to mechanical energy by the turbines and then to electricity by the generators.
The energy consumption in the Locust Grove City.
Locust Grove town in Georgia is among the high consumers of non-renewable energy. Below is the calculated approximate consumption of electric energy in my residence, Locust groove. According to the United States Census Bureau in 2013, the city is a home to 5,648 people with 1,887 households where I belong. Taking an example of my home, the monthly bill for July 2015 was 2,211 kWh that is an approximate average of the previous months. Then this calculates to 26532 kWh per year per household. That is, the monthly consumption multiplied by the 12 months in a year (2,221 × 12 = 26,532). Given that there are 1,887 households, then take the 26,532 yearly consumption per household and multiply by the total households in Locust Grove city. That is, 26,532 × 1,887 = 50,065,884 kWh. Therefore, the average energy consumption in Locust Grove city in Georgia is approximately at 50 million kWh.
According to the FAQ – Output, an average turbine generates about 2 to 3 megawatt (2,000 – 3,000 kWh) when the average speed of wind ranges between 27 and 56 mph. Wind turbines do not generate power to their capacity, they project an annual output of 30% – 40% of their capacity. Using a capacity factor of 25% and an average power output of 1.5 MW (1,500 kWh), then the output per year will be calculated as follows. 1.5 MW × 365 days × 24 hours × 25% = 3,285 MWh = 3,285,000 kWh, (FAQ – Output). Considering the power requirements of Locust Grove city above, the number of turbines that should be installed to serve the area is as follows. Take 50,065,884 kWh divided by 3,285,000 kWh that equals to 15.24 (2 decimal places). Hence, we only need to install a minimum number of 16 wind turbines to supply all the power needs in Locust Grove city. Therefore, I recommend the use of wind power as the most appropriate alternative renewable resource.
Recommended alternative renewable resource
In justification of my choice for wind power as the most suitable energy production method. I consider the following facts as the major driving force to arrival at my judgement. The most important factor is that wind power is always available and can never be depleted, (Nelson, 2009). However much mankind can harness energy from this resource, it remains available and naturally provided. Therefore a guarantee of the future solution of our energy problems. The second point is that wind power does not produce greenhouse gases or any pollutants to our environment. Fossil-based fuels are the primary pollutants of the environment even though they are the most used source of energy in the world. The effects of this pollution are now beginning to reveal themselves through disasters related to global warming, air pollution that leads to respiratory diseases that are deadly to mankind.
Initial installation of a wind power station is expensive compared to the other non-renewable resources, (Nelson, 2009). But as the familiar saying states that “cheap is expensive”. On the other hand, wind power requires very minimal and sometimes up to zero expenditure to run it after installation. Minimum labour requirements with adequate power generation at low production cost as long as the wind is blowing. As indicated earlier in this paper, wind energy generation requires large tracts of land to generate in substantial amounts, (Pimentel et al., 2002, p. 1117). The positive side of it is that the wind turbines are often installed and raised at a high distance above the ground. The land below can be used for agriculture in growing of only short variety crops. Such crops include barley, wheat, highland rice, and millet. They are recommended because they cannot act as wind breakers hence they will not affect the energy output of the power station at any point.
In conclusion, wind power generation plant is a project that has the possibility of being implemented in the Locust city of Georgia. Even though there is competition for land use in agriculture, mining and other industrial activities. It is easier to build the project, especially where the turbines are installed on top of buildings for small scale production of power for individual homesteads. Another factor is that the power supply to Locust Grove city and the entire Georgia comes from the southern deserts of America. As calculated above a 16 turbine wind energy plant can be constructed on the deserts and the power harnessed added to the national grid and transported by the existing Georgia power company to the residential areas. There is expected a positive response from the people of Locust Grove city, and it is environments. The reason is, electricity generated by the wind can equally perform the same activities as those performed by the non-renewable sources, (Gray, 1999).
After adequate education and enlightening of the people on the importance of using clean power, the system will be accepted as long as there is no extra cost on power bills as a result of the changes. The high cost of the initial setup of the power plant but this can be funded by the government budget using part of the funds allocated to the fight against global warming by the state. On the environment, people who are already using wind power have already complained of noise pollution. The sound produced by the wind power machines can be disturbing where they are installed close to residential houses or offices. This problem can be solved by proper planning and placement on the power plants away from homesteads. Equally, a central place can be designed for a mega project that can serve the entire city.
FAQ – Output. (n.d.). Retrieved August 19, 2015. https://www.wind-watch.org/faq-output.php
Gray, T. O. (1999). American Wind Energy Association, Washington, DC (US), & AWAE (US). The wind energy. Views on the Environment: Clean and green. Oak Ridge, Tenn: United States. Dept. of Energy. Office of Scientific and Technical Information.
Nelson, V. (2009). Wind energy: Renewable energy and the environment. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Pimentel, D., Herz, M., Glickstein, M., Zimmerman, M., Allen, R., Becker, K., … Seidel, T. (2002). Renewable Energy: Current and Potential Issues. Bioscience, 52, 12, 1111-1120.
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