In this day and age I still find it hard to understand why we cannot make effective, renewable alternative energy from the elements around us.
Firstly we have the Sun, okay so the sun is something that we could not use in this country as we never seem to see it. But other countries have lots of sun shine and yet there is still little power generated by solar panels. I have seen solar panels in other countries such as spain, but they are very few in number.
There is also a new generation of Solar power stations which use an array of mirrors which reflect sunlight to a focused point usually a tower. This tower houses a heat exchanger that turns water to super heated steam which inturn drives a steam turbine. Generating electricity.
Secondly we have Wind power. We do use the wind here but there is a big objection to the wind turbines as some say they look unsightly or they spoil the view. Perhaps they should be installed in parliament as there´s an awful lot of hot air going to waste there.
Not exactly the most efficient of energy production, for the most efficient use the towers need to be 50,000ft tall and placed in the jet stream however they are clean. The biggest threat to wind power is the “nimby” mentality this country has when any proposals are made, where ever it maybe. (Nimby = Not In My Back Yard)
Thirdly we have Wave power. Surely we should use this as we’re an island and were surrounded by waves and sea. But again the environment argument raises its head, blocking the path of fish, rivers, etc. but the latest generation are greatly improved with underwater turbines which work on the action of the tide going in or our, as a new sausage type generator which lies on top of the sea – riding the waves. As the sausage moves up and down with the waves, hydraulic rams move inside and this movement turns a turbine and generates electricity.
Fourthly, there is Geothermal. In Iceland this is one of the main sources of energy and its completely clean. Water is pumped under pressure deep into the earth where it is warmed and then the resulting steam is used to turn turbines and generate electricity. The only waste being produced is steam and water vapour. I don´t know why we don´t use this more and more.
Okay, that´s the different types of alternative energy. So, why don´t we use them? Well the main reason is we have fossil fuels and as long as they´re in good supply then we will carry on using them. Until they run out and then where will we be.
The second reason is environmental. Where I live they want to put up wind turbines. This would provide enough energy to supply the town and all its businesses. But there is big resistance to this as there are certain people who don´t want their view spoilt. Even the wind turbines they want to install 10 miles off the coast have been objected to by a small sector of the community.
Well give it another 20 years when fossil fuels are in short supply we´ll see how much you don´t want your view spoiling now. Also just think of the impact that the fossil fuels have compared with wind turbines.
I don’t think that any normal government will even consider the above alternative fuels until there is a real problem with the supply we have now. Then there will be a big rush to get these sources up and running ASAP.
We should be looking at alternative fuels now as they wont last forever.