Solar, Water Or Wind Power – Which Is Most Likely To Succeed

Everybody knows that the reserves of fossil fuels are finite and they will one day get depleted. According to recent studies, humans consume fuels that are the equivalent of 11 billion tons of fossil fuels on an annual basis. The growing human population and the high consumption rates indicate that fossil fuels will get depleted by 2052.

Alternative sources of energy are gaining more and more importance because of these grim predictions. The most popular green and renewable energy sources include water, wind and sunlight. Which one of these options is going to turn into the most prominent energy source of the future?

Solar Energy

Solar energy production has a self-explanatory name. Photo-voltaic units are needed to transform the energy from the sunlight into electricity. Many households and companies are already relying on solar energy production.

Solar energy production started to gain popularity in the 1980s but the price was unreasonably high. Today, the price per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced has decreased approximately four times.

Still, solar energy production is more expensive than the traditional ways of energy generation. Technology has to go a long way until solar units become affordable and available to the mass consumer. Additionally, solar energy production has to overcome hindrances like darkness and poor weather. Although these seem like simple hindrances, they can affect energy production significantly.

Currently, less than one percent of the world’s energy needs are addressed by solar production, National Geographic reports. To become a main source of energy, solar panels will demand large areas where they could be set up. All of these hindrances need to be addressed before energy from the sun becomes the mainstream option.

Energy from Running Water

Hydropower is the production of electricity through harnessing the power of running water. It has been around for some time and hydroelectric power plants are already fully-functional.

The production of energy from water is a lot older than the use of solar panels. Greeks and Romans were capable of utilising the power of running water to complete various tasks. The waterwheel is one of the earliest examples of running water utilisation.

Water in motion generates kinetic energy that can be transformed in electricity. A turbine is usually placed in the way of the moving water. The current makes the turbine turn, which in turn results in the production of an electric current.

Many power plants are located on the way of naturally moving water like rivers, for example. A reliable water supply is a must for the electricity production to be reliable year-round.

Hydroelectric power plants are operating in many parts of the world. According to some estimates, the power plants relying on moving water in the world have a capacity of 675,000 megawatts. They can satisfy approximately one quarter of the global electricity needs.

Currently, hydroelectric power plants provide the cheapest option for energy generation. The turbines used today are capable of preventing energy loss and nearly 90 percent of the kinetic energy of the river is actually transformed into electricity.

On the negative side, mass hydropower demands dams, which affects the natural flow of rivers and can produce vast negative effects on the environment. Dams are expensive to build and in the case of a breakage, many lives can be lost. The high cost of power plant setting up is actually leading to a decrease in the utilisation of this form of energy production. Many countries are actually focusing on other forms of alternative energy like solar power.

Wind Turbines and Electricity

The next way of alternative energy production involves the power of the wind.

Wind energy production is the one that is most capable of competing for the award of most inexpensive electricity generation. It can actually already compete with the mainstream methods because the price of production is less than four US cents per kilowatt hour.

The only requirement for energy production through wind is strong air currents. Denmark produces approximately 20 percent of its energy by using wind turbines. Europe is increasingly investing in alternative sources of energy, mainly the production of electricity through wind. The United States are still behind, although the government is also looking for ways to stimulate the use of this alternative energy source.

Naturally, wind power has to overcome some challenges before it becomes the primary source of energy. The lack of wind stops the turbines and discontinues electricity production. Additionally, ways of storing the surplus energy produced are yet to be invented. It is also important to note that the turbines can be expose wildlife to danger. Birds flying in the area can get killed by the blades, which means that the placement of such power plants has to be planned carefully.

So far, solar energy is proving to be the most prominent way of electricity production. Investment in wind turbines is on the rise, as well. National strategies for the stimulation of alternative energy production and technological innovations will be determining for the selection of the new method of energy production that humankind will be relying upon in the future.

Written on behalf of Business Energy Prices – Haven Power

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