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Different energy alternatives to fossil fuels

However, in factories and at home, the electricity generated by the sun as well as its heat is of primary importance. Similarly, in its raw form, coal it is of little help to us. It is merely a sedimentary rock and enjoyable to behold. However, the electricity and heat that is produced following the combustion of coal in power plants is of great value to us (Chiras, 2010). Fossil fuels Fossil fuels are fuels that were formed by animals and plants’ decomposing remains under immense pressure and heat over millions of years. Fossil fuels include coal, oil/petroleum and natural gas. They are an attractive source of energy because they are most economically accessible and affordable energy source for both commercial and personal uses (Enviroliteracy.org, 2008). Energy Alternatives to Fossil Fuels Many hold the view that globally, the rate at which people are using fossil fuels is unsustainable. According to some experts, the world has already reached its oil production and extraction peak and within no time, coal and natural gas may follow suit (Enviroliteracy.org, 2008). Additionally, fossil fuels produce Carbon Dioxide, which has greatly contributed to the ‘global warming effect’. Consequently, population growth, climate change and the depletion of fossil fuel trigger the need for replacing fossil fuels with alternative renewable and climate-friendly energy sources. Alternative energy therefore points to sources of energy that do not exhibit undesired consequences. They are renewable and are known as ‘free’ sources of energy. Compared to fossil fuels, they emit less carbon dioxide (Davison, n.d). A good example of energy alternatives to fossil fuels is hydroelectric power. Hydroelectric power can be used and has been used to provide light, to pump water, to run machines in factories, and for grinding. To make the most of this energy source, people construct large dams to provide electricity as well as for flood control and irrigation. Unlike fossil fuels, hydroelectric power has the advantage of contributing to power supply in a cost-effective way. The hydrologic cycle of the earth replenishes the ‘fuel supply’ naturally. Consequently, it does not emit pollutants into the atmosphere and it does not produce waste that calls for unique containment. Additionally, because the fact that water occurs naturally and is not subject to foreign suppliers’ whims keeps the prices stable, there is no worry of production strikes, transportation issues, as well as other national security issues (Altenergy.org, n.d). Another factor that makes hydropower very convenient is the fact that it can quickly respond to demand fluctuations. Depending on gradual economic growth or daily use in the society, the gates of a dam can be closed or opened on command. Hydroelectricity production is often slowed at night when people draw on less energy. The water used is also recycled in the hydrologic cycle. Compared to fossil fuels, hydroelectric power is cheap and very efficient. Contemporary hydro turbines can transform up to 90 percent of the present energy into electricity. On the other hand, the efficiency of the best plants of fossil fuels is about 50 percent. Hydropower in the US is generated for an roughly 0.7/kWh, which is approximately one-sixth the price of natural gas and one-third of fossil fuel the costs. Every year, using hydroelectric power averts the use of about 22 billion oil gallons or 120 million coal tons. Nevertheless, hydroelectric

Different energy alternatives to fossil fuels