Energy is required to power homes, cars and manufacturing plants among others. The demand for energy is expected to grow as the global population numbers soar into the future.
The world is looking to turn away from it’s over reliance on traditional fuels that have been relied upon for centuries to power various aspects of human existence due to a number of reasons. First and foremost, these fossil fuels take centuries to create, meaning that at one point in time, their natural supply will be exhausted.
Secondly, the mining and consumption of these fuels result in the production of greenhouse gases which end up in the earth’s atmosphere, fueling climate change.
With climate change now a reality, coupled with the rising energy demands as we move into the future, the search for new energy sources has become necessary. This has led to the inception of alternative energy.
What Exactly Is Alternative Energy?
The term alternative energy can be defined in a number of ways, each slightly different from the other.
As seen above, traditional sources of energy have been seen to increase the world’s carbon footprint over the years. Alternative energy in this regard can be defined as any source of energy whose production and consumption does not increase the world’s carbon footprint in any way whatsoever.
With this definition in mind, we can list clean coal, natural gas, nuclear power and hydroelectric power as alternative energy sources.
Furthermore, alternative energy can also be described as clean energy. This refers to energy sources that do not result in the production of any pollutants. Energy sources that result in the production of pollutants such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and any toxic waste are eliminated as per this definition.
It is, however, important to mention that alternative energy is also defined as energy derived from non-traditional sources. Some of these sources include wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass. Some sources such as hydroelectric are left out as per this definition because they have been in existence for centuries.
Finally, alternative energy can be defined as renewable energy. Renewable energy sources include energy sources such as wind and solar; these cannot be depleted in terms of supply as compared to fossil fuels which can be.
As you can see from the above, the definition of the term alternative energy varies with the context it is used in. However, the general assumption is that it refers to any energy source that is supposed to replace fossil fuels and coal. The use of solar and wind energy has increased in recent years. Homes in the suburbs of states like New York have become covered in solar panels designed to provide electric for residents homes’.