Renewable energy is any energy produced using methods that are considered to have little or no impact on the earth’s ability to renew the supply. Otherwise referred to as sustainable energy, renewable energy includes solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and wind turbines which are both considered as having the ability to produce energy without negatively affecting the environment. Harnessing of the sun and wind cannot exhaust their supply and running solar panel systems are literally maintenance free. Solar panel systems are becoming more and more popular as governments introduce cash incentives to households and businesses prepared to invest in renewable energy sources. The cash incentive provides a way of offsetting the initial high financial outlay for a solar panel system for the home or business.
At present, the majority of the modern world uses non-renewable or unsustainable fossil fuels to power almost every moving object that is required for the day to day running of lives and industry. Fossil fuels include oil, natural gas and coal. At the current rate of fossil fuel consumption it is estimated that certain non renewable energy sources could run out in is soon as 15 years time. In addition, the burning of coal is reported as a contributing factor to global warming due to the release of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are too thick to pass through the ozone layer so have a tendency to create a layer around the globe which reflects heat back to the earth. In turn, the polar ice caps melt, land mass is reduced due to submersion, wildlife lose natural habitat and prey, and sea levels could rise to dangerous heights, it is argued.
Petrol Due to Run Out
Oil is refined to produce fuel such as petrol (gasoline) and is can be used in different forms to fuel internal combustion engines such as those used to power automobiles or aircraft. It is also used as a solvent well known for its ability to dilute paints. Mogas is a term used to differentiate between motor gasoline and aviation gasoline or Avgas. It has been reported by several environmental organisations that petrol could face depletion at current oil usage levels as soon as 2025.
Assuming that no new sources of natural gas are found, it is argued that deposits can face total depletion in 50 years time. Natural gas deposits are difficult to transport due to their explosive nature so natural gas tends to be used close to its source. North Sea gas fields supply the UK quite effectively but many European countries have to use natural gas from Russia using hundreds of miles of underground piping. The future political state of other European countries, have the ability of hindering the supply of Russian natural gas to other countries and exacerbate a shortage in supply.
Coal Depletion is More Uncertain
Coal deposits are more readily available but are extremely difficult to mine with coal seams being as thin as just a few centimetres. Coal reserves are available all around the earth and it is estimated that there is enough coal deposits to last more than a thousand years. The issue is the potential effect of other fossil fuels depleting which could cause a heavier demand on coal than has ever been necessary and thus accelerate the exhausting of coal reserves considerably. Environmental activists are consistently advising that the use of as many renewable energy sources as possible can significantly reduce the depletion of fossil fuels and the negative effects of global warming.
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