Thursday, May 19, 2011

Alternative Energy Sources
and Energy Conservation

Solar cells are becoming more efficient.
This is a wide-ranging topic which includes alternative fuel resources, transportation alternatives, sustainable development, waste management, and how each of us live our daily lives. Alternative energy sources and energy conservation are currently on the minds of many citizens as fuel prices rise in our struggling economy.

Solar energy has been around for a long time, and solar cells are becoming more efficient, transportable and even flexible allowing for easy installation. Wind power, which is growing rapidly around the world, is becoming more accessible as smaller turbines and individual units can power households and agricultural uses. Hydroelectricity produces no direct waste, though large-scale projects can have negative effects on fish and wildlife populations. Small-scale hydro or micro-hydro power is becoming increasingly popular. Small systems can be installed in small rivers or streams with little environmental impact.

Alternative fuels for cars are developing rapidly. Hybrid vehicles make a more efficient use of petroleum fuel and are becoming quite common. Plug-in vehicles are beginning to appear, and many cities are considering how to create “stations” for such vehicles to charge. Solar cars are still a novelty, but are gaining ground with new technology. Bio-fuel, typically made with corn-alcohol, is actually available in several locations in the Triad.

Energy conservation is a more complex topic. Each citizen has the ability to control the amount of water, electricity and fossil fuels they consume on a daily basis. Government, businesses and organizations also have the ability to control their use of energy through planning and practices. In the urban planning field, the provision of alternative transportation and sustainable land use patterns are the two biggest influences on energy conservation.

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