Are alternative energy sources the answer to ending human dependence on oil?It estimated that the demand for energy will double by the year 2050 according to a forecast given by the International Energy Agency.
It estimated that the demand for energy will double by the year 2050 according to a forecast given by the International Energy Agency. Energy is and will continue to power-up economies of countries and with finite nature of non-renewable energy from hydrocarbons, renewable energy will play an important role in sustenance of economies energy needs. Turning to nature to generate energy through renewable technology is one way to reduce the continued dependence on hydrocarbon fuels (Price, 2010).
Countries should aim to achieve a greater percentage of energy through renewable energy by harnessing wind, geothermal, hydro, biomass, ocean energy and solar energy. Renewable energy helps in the fight against global warming as it has a lower carbon emission compared to hydrocarbons fuels (Bauman, 2009).
However the thought that energy independence can be achieved through renewable energy is a dream because there is no liquid fuel yet that can replace oil in terms of scale of the industry dependent on oil and efficiency of oil. Long term renewable energy technologies for wide scale application continue to be gimmicks that have no near term impact like the solar powered cars, cellulosic ethanol fuel among others (Bauman, 2009).
The subsidies to encourage the development and adoption of renewable energy so that the industry and technologies can mature and drive costs down are commendable. Many governments in developed nations have put strong incentives to encourage market demand for technologies such as solar power, wind farms installations and biofuels industry. However history has shown that such alternatives include numerous failures and few successes if any (At renewable energy forum, n.d.).
The resources available for renewable energy base in US are vast and practically untapped. If the wind energy of the Rocky Mountains states and Midwestern together with solar energy in the Southwest and West is harnessed could make the US economy a zero-CO2 emission in the next fifty years without the use of nuclear power. However the all these renewable technologies can never replace the highly reliable 24/7 year round nuclear and fossil fuel power stations.
The ability of biofuels to reduce Green House Gases (GHG) emission since the transportation sector contributes to the majority of carbon emissions can play a major role in addressing climate change (Price, 2010). The use of food crops like corn to produce ethanol raises major concerns on nutrition with over half of the world population malnourished according to World Health Organization. These crops utilizes land, water and resources necessary for food production and also the production of ethanol has seen a rise of prices of foods such as cereals, chicken, pork beef among others as corn products are used to feed animals or produce cereals (Hae-Kyong, Ellinger, Hadjimarcou, & Traichal, 2000).
The marketing of renewable energy has not been successful as consumers beliefs are not fact-based or knowledge-based but are emotionally charged. Even though some technologies are rapidly approaching a point that they are more cost effective with the traditional energy, the uptake of these technologies and the reluctance of the consumer to pay a premium for this services presents an additional challenge (Hae-Kyong, Ellinger, Hadjimarcou, & Traichal, 2000).
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