Sunday, January 17, 2010

Green Energy Sources versus Traditional Energy Sources...Friday, July 3. 2009

Today there is a lot of hype and a movement in some sectors to promote and implement green renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and tidal. In many cases cost is a deciding factor in what type of energy is used in the home and business. I think we all deep down want a cleaner planet with less pollution, but unfortunately some of us do not heed the danger of global warming and climate change and the fact the traditional energy sources are finite, and in many cases toxic to our environment and our health. For many of us, we would like to use green renewable energy but the startup cost is too expensive and the options are not readily available to us yet.

Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons, coal, fuel oil or natural gas, which were formed from the remains of plants and animals. These energy resources provide a great percentage of the electrical power the world uses and are used particularly for activities such as heating, transport and generating electricity. When fuel is burned dangerous substances are produced, such as carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide. These gases cause pollution and contribute to dangerous processes for the earth, such as the greenhouse effect and acid rain. The advantages of these energy resources are that a lot of energy can be generated using inexpensive materials and that the power stations in which these resources are handled can be built almost anywhere. There are many special interest groups such as big oil companies that want to keep their lucrative business going so they tend to control governments and consumers to a large extent to ensure they keep making record profits. "Big Oil" wants control. I have seen this first hand here in Saint John where one giant oil company tends to control the government and some individuals and gets away with being able to pollute our environment to a certain extent.

Greener energy sources, such as wind, solar and tidal power are starting to make headway as a large group of people are really concerned about the health of our planet and at the same time save money and not be dependant on traditional energy sources. Wind power is one example of a clean renewable energy source. I had an opportunity a few days ago to visit a giant wind farm in Kent Hills, New Brunswick. The project was estimated to have cost 170 million dollars. That is certainly a high price tag, however once the farm is set up, the costs of operation are minimal compared to other traditional energy sources. The wind farm in Kent Hills that went into production earlier this year has thirty -two turbines and produces 280,000 megawatt hours per year, enough power for 17,000 homes. The government of Canada invested 29 million in the Kent Hills Wind Farm through the Renewable Power Program. This initiative will reap benefits in the future with lower energy costs and help to reduce pollution and climate change. Now, not every business has 170 million dollars to set up a renewable energy source. There are many small companies and individuals that can set up sources of wind and solar power for as little as a few thousand dollars. There is an initial cost that deters some people from implementing green energy sources in their home or business. We have to weigh the costs of going to green renewable energy sources compared to continuing to use fossil fuels such as oil and be at the mercy of a few corporations that want control and continue on a path of destroying our environment. We can all make a difference whether it is buying a hybrid car, or having energy efficient homes, to a large company building a huge wind farm. The choice is ours to make. We need to continue to swing the pendulum the other way. The way towards green renewable energy and away from traditional sources of energy such as oil.

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