When it comes to developing and employing alternative energy, tomorrow isn’t far away after all. Already sustainable energy powers a myriad of locations throughout the world.
New technologies have already been developed and continue to be modified to become affordable options to traditional energies.
Innovative and affordable, these environmentally friendly energies promise a cleaner planet while still providing the reliable energy we need to continue powering our nations, cities, and homes.
Progress in Alternative Energy
Solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, biomass—these alternative energies are witnessing progress in both small and large-scale projects in many parts of the world. Additionally, new Eco-friendly products and merchandise are helping to create a more environmentally responsible 21st century.
The Future is In Our Hands
From electric cars to LED lighting fixtures, product-development that addresses our needs while helping to protect the environment is complementing new alternative energy platforms. All of these advances are leading to immense changes—changes that affect people and the environment for the better.
Advancements in Solar
Solar energy may well be deemed the sweetheart of the alternative energy world. Harnessing the sun’s energy to power our homes is increasing at a high rate in nations like the U.S., Germany, Australia, and even China.
In remote areas in parts of Africa, for instance, communities are skipping the fossil fuels and going straight to solar as they incorporate electricity into their villages—many for the first time! Some of the most compelling advances in solar energy include:
∙ Development of concentrated photovoltaics that amplify the energy coming from the sun
∙ Development of solar panels that can use energy created from indoor light
∙ Construction moves forward on the tallest solar towers in the world (two of them) in Riverside, California
∙ Largest operating solar farm in the world opens in the United Arab Emirates and employs upwards of 258,048 parabolic mirrors
∙ Energy company in Guatemala (Quetsol) offers remote villages pay-as-you-go solar kits that light the nights in the mountainous highlands for the first time
These are merely a sample of the solar advances happening today. In Europe, Germany is producing so much excess clean energy for the grid that it’s selling it at wholesale costs to its neighbors. In many places, the solar revolution is already in full swing.
While currently Denmark leads the way in wind energy, places like Iowa and Australia are also pioneering this dramatically evolving field. Companies are working on new strategies to effectively bring wind energy to regional grids. New “smart” grids are already being installed to better work with alternative energies.
Also, new developments in wind turbine construction allow more power to
be harnessed; simply installing bigger blades for turbines leads to greater
energy production. Other research
involves storage for wind and solar energy so that it can be used in
fluctuating periods when there are dips in energy absorption.
In places like coastal Maine, tidal energy is making a splash, but it’s all below surface. Companies in Maine as well as the UK have been hard at work trying to harness the power of the tides.
The reliable movement of waves can be harnessed using underwater turbines that produce energy without harming the marine environment.
Already this highly effective form of energy
is powering various coastal regions and many more projects are scheduled to
bring tidal energy to the grid.
Geothermal energy harnesses heat from the earth and transforms it into power. This heat has been called more reliable than solar and wind energies which can fluctuate.
Scientists have been hard at work extracting energy from geysers, volcanoes, and even on fault lines where large stores of geothermal energy exist. Geothermal heat pumps are becoming increasingly viable energy-collecting options for locations in the Western United States.
Algae, the green organisms that float on ponds, have been collectively deemed an alternative energy powerhouse. Imagine buildings with facades of attractive louvers filled with energy-producing algae that provide all the electricity needs.
Projects like the first algae-powered building in Hamburg, Germany are already in operation and showing companies around the world how such construction can be done!