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Sources of Sustainable Energy

Sustainable energy is most easily defined as energy that comes from a source that is sufficient enough to meet the needs of today without sacrificing the needs of tomorrow. In short, it is energy that is infinitely renewable without causing harm to the environment. People started adopting renewable energy sources such as solar power in their homes decades ago, but modern businesses and government agencies are now starting to jump on the bandwagon as well.

Many ecological and environmental education providers such as colleges and universities are encouraging students to develop and implement strategies for utilizing sustainable energy at the school and in the community as part of their educations. Students are learning to recognize the inefficiency and cost of continuing to use fossil fuels as a main energy source and are finding new ways every day to lessen the use of these finite fuels by replacing them with sustainable, environmentally-friendly alternatives.

Some of the biggest areas of study regarding sustainable energy sources include geothermal energy, solar power and hydroelectricity. There are promising studies in all of these fields, many of which are already being utilized in both the private and public sectors.

Geothermal energy is one of the oldest form of sustainable energy use. Though the concepts get complicated, geothermal energy may be simply explained as using heat stored in the Earth to produce energy. The ancient Romans took advantage of hot springs to heat their homes, public buildings and bath houses. Today, geothermal energy is used more for electricity production though a small amount is used for spas, agricultural or industrial applications or desalination. The extraction of geothermal energy is extremely expensive and is therefore generally limited to areas near hot springs or other sources of heat that are close to the Earth's surface.

Solar power has also been used since ancient times. It is perhaps the biggest potential source for green energy as the use of the radiant heat from the sun is limited only by human creativity. There are two kinds of solar energy. Active solar energy harnessing involves the use of such devices as solar panels to convert sunlight into power. Passive solar energy use involves such techniques as situating buildings so that they make the best use of sunlight or designing spaces so that they naturally circulate air warmed by the sun.

Hydroelectricity uses the force of flowing or falling water to produce energy. This is a wonderful potential source of energy because it is extremely clean. There are very few greenhouse gases produced by the use of hydroelectricity and it has no waste. The cost of production is also immune to the rise in cost of fossil fuels because it doesn't require any additional energy source to function. A disadvantage of hydroelectricity is that it takes a large amount of land and frequently requires the use of dams, which damage lowlands and wetlands as well as disrupting aquatic ecosystems.

In closing, there are many sources of sustainable energy that produce very little greenhouse gas and require minimal to no use of fossil fuels in order to produce energy. As technology advances and the financial and environmental cost of finite natural resources increases, it is anticipated that sustainable energy technology will continue to be refined and implemented.

What You Can Do
Spread the word
  • Tell people you conserve energy and use enery efficient appliances.
  • Read a book that explains how to conserver energy.
  • Look for small ways you can conserve energy every day.
Where you can buy it
Your Complete Guide To Renewable Energy
Your Green Home
The Party's Over: Oil, War And The Fate Of Industrial Societies
Get the Facts
Why Conserve Energy - National Wildlife Federation
Conserve Energy - Help Save the World
Reduce Energy - U.S. Dept. of Energy

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