Which Alternative Energy Source is the Best? Ranking Wind, Solar, Geothermal, and Other Renewable Energies
written by: Ashwin Satyanarayana•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 10/29/2009
If you had the choice, which alternative source of energy would you choose? What if evidence points out to you that whatever you had chosen were the wrong choices? A researcher finds intriguing information about the fact that the energy sources we might espouse might just be wrong.
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Not All Renewable Energy Sources are the Best Option
In the year 2007, Americans apparently met a whopping 7% of their total energy needs using the ‘renewable" energy sources . About 51% of all the renewable energy produced goes towards producing electricity and the remaining goes towards biomass production which in turn is used as a fuel.
In a rather surprising study, it was found that just what we thought are the best possible choices for alternative energy sources might be the wrong ones. Not only do they seem insufficient to meet our burgeoning energy needs but also are more polluting and can harm the earth’s atmosphere.
Mark.Z.Jacobson, a Civil and Environmental engineering professor at Stanford, reported that the most prudent choices for improving our debilitating energy crisis, would reduce the egregious impacts of air pollution being in wind and water and not in fancy nuclear plants and “growing on prairies"
Jacobson, in an apparently “first quantitative, scientific evaluation of the much debated and sought after energy-solutions", indicated that the options we now look forward to espouse are at least “ 25 to 1000 times" more polluting than the others.
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Which Sources are the Best?
Sources of Renewable energy like the Wind energy, Concentrating Solar Energy ( like heating water using solar cells), Geothermal energy, Tidal energy, Solar Photovoltaic (using rooftop panels), wave energy and hydroelectric energy -- in this order.
Wind Energy, according to Jacobson, was the most promising alternative energy source and he claims that it could be possible to really tap into this source of energy. This source of energy alone can bring down air pollution and emissions by an unbelievable 99% and can save about 15,000 per year from possible deaths. Surprisingly, he asserts that the amount of land required to have windmills producing energy would only occupy about 0.5% of the U.S land -- which is at least 30 times less than that required to grow grass and other biomass for Ethanol, for instance.
Jacobson feels that the mad rush to produce biofuels is not mandated and all that dollar spend on these fuels which hare yet again going to unleash a war of pollution and death on the face of this planet. He claims that this can be yet another man-made environmental disaster.