Integration of Renewable Energy Into the Daily Lives of Society

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Many things these days are taken for granted and used with great liberty, but none more prevalent than the consumption of petroleum based fossil fuels worldwide. As stated in The International Energy Outlook 2006 (Energy Information Administration, 2006a), "World oil consumption rose by about 1.2 million barrels per day in 2005, after an increase of 2.6 million barrels per day in 2004". Current projections indicate increasing demand for oil by the transportation sector, where there is currently not a viable replacement for petroleum, despite emerging technologies entering the marketplace. Case study projections over the 2003 to 2030 period show one-half of the increase in demand originating from the transportation sector. (Energy Information Administration, 2006b) While there are few competitive options to petroleum for the transportation segment, renewable alternative energy resources do exist to lessen the reliance on fossil fuels in other sectors. Resources such as biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, wind, and solar all do their respective parts to lessen the world's reliance on fossil fuels. It is the latter; however, that has the greatest potential for implementation and acceptance, solar, with its ease of installation, low footprint, net metering (selling electricity back to the utilities), government incentives, and high return on investment. Despite this solar energy, both thermal and photovoltaic, have yet to see widespread use. The reluctance towards solar energy has been more out of mind-set than any other cause, the mind-set that "someone should do something" but just not themselves or the more common "it is not my problem; the world won't run out of resources in my lifetime"; which society, as a whole, deems an acceptable risk. While it is probable that the world most likely will not run out of resources in the next one hundred years this should not stop conservation efforts and endeavors to integrate renewable energy resources into daily life, more...
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