Aice General Papers
15 December 2014
According to Mother Nature Network, green energy comes from natural sources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, plants, algae and geothermal heat. These energy resources are renewable, meaning they're naturally replenished. There are many different types of green energy such as wind energy, solar energy, and hydroelectric energy. Each type of energy is very diverse in the way it affects our society.
“Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more,” stated Barack Obama in 2012. Wind energy occurs by spinning turbine blades which are connected to a generator that later makes electricity. The speed of the spinning is determined by the force of the wind. So, the more wind – the more electricity. The wind industry boomed in 2012, according to the American wind Energy Association. “In total, more than 60,000 megawatts of wind powered electric capacity were produced. That’s enough to power almost 15 million homes. 2012 also saw wind energy providing about 42% of all new generating capacity, another first for the industry.” Wind energy isn’t limited to just land though, in Scotland and Wales energy companies are experimenting with underwater turbines. This came as a shocker to most, “The United Kingdom may seem an unlikely candidate to lead a renewable energy revolution; it doesn’t have much for solar power, it doesn’t have much space for wind power and it doesn’t have giant coursing rivers for hydro. It does, however have thousands of miles of coastline and a lowering and restless sea whose tides ebb and flow with tremendous force,” exclaimed Peter Shadbolt for CNN. With the force of the tides, the turbines can be planted very near each other taking up minimal space on the ocean floor. Not only will the turbines take up minimal space but they’re invisible and can produce as much electricity as a conventional wind turbine. Also, said “wind” isn’t needed so the turbines will not rely on weather to produce their electricity.
David Anderson says that solar energy has the power to dramatically change the way the world gets its power. Solar energy is the conversion of sunlight to electrical power and the energy is made by speeding photons, which are created in the center of the sun by the fusion of atoms, creating an electrical current within a solar panel. Solar energy is extremely good for the environment by having little to no emissions released into the atmosphere. But, the creation or building of solar panels may release said emissions however it’s not the solar energy doing so itself. Also, the solar panels when damaged or disposed of properly could contain hazardous materials. Some say, the solar panel’s goods weigh out the bads.
Water is also used to create electricity. A hydroelectric plant uses falling water to turn the turbine which then turns a metal shaft in an electric generator, which creates the electricity. To use hydroelectric energy a dam must be created on a large river that has a massive decrease in elevation. However, because of that, hydroelectric energy does not work well in places like Florida and Kansas because of their low elevation. As to how a generator works, the Corps of Engineers explains it this way: "A hydraulic turbine converts the energy of flowing water into mechanical energy. A hydroelectric generator converts this mechanical energy into electricity. The operation of a generator is based on the principles discovered by Faraday. He found that when a magnet is moved past a conductor, it causes electricity to flow. In a large generator, electromagnets are made by circulating direct current through loops of wire wound around stacks of magnetic steel laminations. These are called field poles, and are mounted on the perimeter of the rotor. The rotor is attached to the turbine shaft, and rotates at a fixed speed. When the rotor turns, it causes the field poles...
Cited: Anderson, David. Demand Media. Gate Home Guides. Positive and Negative Facts about solar energy. Date: N/A
Williams, Mike. Demand Media. Gate Home Guides. Positive and Negative Facts about wind energy. Date: N/A
Perlam, Howard. USGS. Hydroelectric Power: How it works. Date: N/A
Smith, Emily. CNN. Wind energy breezes into record books. 13 February 2013.
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