<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Alternative energy sources

In the long term, alternative energy sources such as wind, and solar hold out great promise as fuels and as means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power stations and widespread reliance on oil in transport and electric power. This is so not only in emerging nations, but worldwide. There have been especially high hopes for a very sizeable expansion in wind power. Surprisingly to most the nation with the most installed capacity in wind power in 2012 was the U.S., at 33%. Germany was next with 26%, followed by China with 25%, and then India with 11%. No other emerging nation had as much as 10% of capacity. And in all cases, wind energy has been heavily subsidized by governments.

Another alternative energy source in hydropower. Hydropower is very important in Quebec. Much of this is exported to the U.S. In the U.S., after more than a century of investing in hydroelectric power, hydropower constitutes only 7% of electricity generation. The future of hydropower in emerging nations is briefly considered later in this chapter.

All other alternative renewable fuels, solar etc., constituted only 3% in the U.S., while oil and gas, at 80%, remains dominant.

Solar power is one source of alternative energy that is finally beginning to grow. At the end of the 20 th century the cost of solar power was prohibitive; solar could be installed only in presence of huge subsidies. However, technological change in past few years has sharply reduced the cost of deploying solar power which is only gradually becoming more competitive with oil and gas as an energy source.

Consider also nuclear power – another option for emerging nations. The picture is different in the U.S: new nuclear power plants will not be coming on stream very soon. In 10 years the U.S. could not complete the construction of even one nuclear plant, even if the cornerstone were laid today. However, China has in recent years embarked on a program involving significant increases in nuclear power capacities. And options for other emerging nations may be changing soon with the emergence of smaller and less costly nuclear reactors.

Primer on semi-sustainability

We will see that only a portfolio approach including several tools will help resolve long-term energy issues and enhance prospects for sustainable energy use. There are no magic bullets , no panaceas .

For the long run, nations rich and poor are seeking, for economic and econological reasons, to pin their hopes on increasing reliance upon alternative energy technology – wind/solar, nuclear/tides/bioproduced fuel, not ethanol from corn). However, by 2018 under the best of conditions alternative energy technology will contribute at most 10%-20% of total U.S. energy consumption and no more than 20%-25% of world needs. And this 20-25% includes energy made from wood chips, especially in Europe. And we have seen that this is not any kind of environmental positive.

In emerging nations, there is except in a few cases, little wind/solar yet but, some geothermal and hydro. For the world as a whole alternate energy in 2012 was only 13% of the total. Wind energy a decade ago was totally uneconomic at a cost of 80 cents kwh. It is now less than 10 cents kwh and still falling. Now solar arrays are bringing solar costs down rapidly also (Houston, Texas inaugurated a new solar plant in 2011) such that costs solar now range between 17 cents to 29 cents per kwh (still not competitive with fossil fuels).

Questions & Answers

what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
characteristics of micro business
Abigail
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Anassong
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
Virgil
is Bucky paper clear?
CYNTHIA
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
s.
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
tahir
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
Cied
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
China
Cied
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
Porter
many many of nanotubes
Porter
what is the k.e before it land
Yasmin
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
Cesar
I'm interested in nanotube
Uday
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
AMJAD
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
how to synthesize TiO2 nanoparticles by chemical methods
Zubear
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Good
Berger describes sociologists as concerned with
Mueller Reply
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
QuizOver.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Economic development for the 21st century. OpenStax CNX. Jun 05, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11747/1.12
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Economic development for the 21st century' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask