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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

I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
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
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
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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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
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