In today’s time and date when the world is facing depletion in the fossil fuels, using alternative energy has become imperative. In this article, we will discuss the pros & cons of alternative energy.

Pros & Cons Of Alternative Energy

Alternative energy is the kind of energy that does not come from fossil fuels. It is called ‘alternative’ because it offers an alternative to the exhaustible source of energy or the fossil fuels. Alternative energy usually comes from the renewable energy sources; which means that they have easy accessibility and availability and do not run out. For example, the solar energy or the wind energy; these energy sources are not exhaustible and can be harnessed easily. These sources are constantly available; in fact we are always surrounded by them. The other example of alternative energy is bio-energy and bio-fuels, like: palm oil, ethanol, etc. In the bygone centuries, coal was considered to be an alternative source of energy, since the wood from the forests was running out. And when hundred years later, coal started to deplete then petroleum was thought to be the alternative. When all of the precious fuels like coal, oil, etc. started to deplete considerably, then it arose the concern of the scientists. In 1950s and 1960s, ethanol came into play as an alternative oil source and many of the nations in the world welcomed this change. In 2000s, due to the over use of harmful carbon emitting energy sources, biomass alternative energy sources were introduced. The alternative energy is clean and does not give off harmful material into the environment. It does not pollute the environment. Because of all of these prerequisite qualities of alternative energy, nuclear power is not still accepted as an alternative energy source. The radioactive material releases off high toxic residues, which makes it more harmful than beneficial. Due to the building pressure of population and overuse of the resources, every nation in the world is bound to put more research into finding unique sources for the alternative energy. Types of alternative energies are: solar energy, hydro energy, tidal energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, biomass, fuel cells etc. Let us study the good and bad side of the alternative energy.



Advantages & Disadvantages of Alternative Energy





Renewable: As suggested by the world itself, alternative or renewable sources of energy can be easily replenished. They will not run out, therefore there would never be a panic to find alternative energy sources to the existing alternative energy sources. They are quite a reliable source of energy, unlike the fossil fuels that may get exhausted. Like the solar energy or the wind energy; these sources are more likely to stay with us forever and to harness the energy from these sources would mean ensuring for ourselves a secure future, energy wise. Since we are on the verge of running out of our oil and gas sources, our economy is always fluctuating. With alternative sources of energy coming into play, this factor can be controlled.


Environment Friendly: The alternative energy sources do not give off any harmful toxins or gases in the environment. They are also carbon emission free; which means they do not have any harmful effect on the earth’s environment or the ozone layer. There are not any toxic substances disposed off into the water, from the alternative sources of energy, unlike non-renewable sources of energy.


Easy To Maintain:  These sources of energy call for an easy way to maintain it. Take for example the solar energy; there is absolutely nothing that needs to be done to maintain this alternative source of energy. Whatever bit of maintenance is required, it is required for maintaining the equipment with which the alternative energy is to be harnessed.





Inconsistency: Consistency is not a big forte for the alternative energy sources. Since the whole concept of harnessing unlimited energy from an alternative source of energy means that the source will be vast and never-ending; which means that there is no start and end to the source. Therefore, there is no way to control the source. This non-authority over the source leads to inconsistency. For example, there might be times when the winds will not blow in its full force, which would mean that it will not move the turbines on the wind farms with proper force. Since most of the alternative energy sources are natural, therefore a lot of natural factors have an impact on the energy that is harnessed from the alternative energy sources.


Set Up Cost: The initial setting up cost for the alternative energy plant is usually very high and requires a considerable amount of investment. Since harnessing energy from the natural sources is not an easy task, the tools and equipments designed to do it are usually technologically very advanced and are quite costly. Also, the research on finding new sources for the alternative energy is also an extensive process; it requires for a big investment of time and resources.


Global Acceptance: Due to the easy availability of fossil fuels or non-renewable energy, people are not much bothered about the alternative energy. Also, because there is no definite continuous availability of the alternate energy, the general criteria is to keep using the existing sources of energy. This disadvantage can be solved if people are educated on the issue of the harmful effects of using fossil fuels.

Pros & Cons Of Different Alternative Energy Sources


Hydroelectricity Pros 

  • There is abundant water available on the surface of earth. By harnessing energy from this abundant source, we will secure for ourselves a constant supply of energy.
  • Hydroelectricity can be easily produced. All we have to do is construct a reservoir, store water in it and manipulate its movement and flow. Once it is achieved, then the supply of energy is guaranteed.
  • Generally, these reservoirs are beautiful scenic sights. They offer a recreational haven and promote boating and fishing.


Hydroelectricity Cons


  • It can significantly impact the environment by destroying the habitat of many animals, endangering their survival. Also the forests and towns in the area where the dams are constructed, suffer from a considerable amount of demolition.
  • Producing hydroelectricity is only possible where there is good supply of water or proper water source is available.



 Tidal Energy Pros


  • It is a non-polluting source of energy with a lot of potential for sustainability.
  • Harnessing energy from tides is a reliable source of energy, since there would always be a momentum in the tides that can be used to work in the favour of producing ample energy.


Tidal Energy Cons

  • The technology is still in its initial stages and not fully formed. It is supposedly going to be a costly affair to finally be able to device a method to produce energy from tides.
  • There could be environmental and marine disruptions due to the construction of equipments to produce energy from tides.
  • There is a geographical restriction in producing tidal energy as seas or oceans with ample amount of tides are not situated in every part of the world.



Solar Thermal Energy Pros


  • It is a sustainable source of energy and the cost to set-up equipments that can harness energy from the sun, is low.
  • It is available in abundance and can be designed perfectly to provide energy even to small households.
  • Producing solar thermal energy is a well tried and tested technology now. There are no loop holes in the process.
  • It produces no pollution at all and the cost to maintain it is negligible.
  • To promote the use of solar thermal energy, government is providing tax incentives in many countries around the world.


Solar Thermal Energy Cons


  • There would be less amount of energy produced on higher latitudes due to the irregularity sun in those areas.
  • There can not be any energy produced during the night time, due to the absence of the sun.
  • It is a complicated process where a lot of storage and back-up is needed.



Wind Energy Pros 

  • It is a sustainable source of energy, producing no water or air pollution.
  • Energy can be produced perpetually, especially in the areas where strong wind blows constantly.
  • The technology to produce wind energy is in its working stage and the cost to maintain it considerably low.


Wind Energy Cons 

  • It is dependent on many geographical and environmental factors like local weather conditions, patterns, temperature and location.
  • Initial set up expense is very high.



 Geothermal Energy Pros 

  • It is a sustainable source of energy, where energy can be produced continuously day and night.
  • It does not produce any pollution and is considerably free, after spending money on the initial set up.


Geothermal Energy Cons 

  • The reservoirs for geothermal energy are limited and not available everywhere and they needs to be continually recharged with water, as it keeps steaming.
  • The ground water is potentially contaminated in the process of producing geothermal energy.
  • Environmental pollution can be caused as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide can be released by geothermal plants.



Ethanol Energy Pros 

  • It is a reliable source of alternative energy for fossil fuels.
  • It produces less amount of carbon dioxide as compared to coal or petroleum.


Ethanol Energy Cons 

  • Since food crops are needed to produce ethanol, the prices of food and livestock feed goes higher.
  • There is a high energy consumption involved in the process of producing ethanol but does not produce as much energy.
  • Ethanol is highly corrosive on some metals.

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