Non renewable energy sources.

coalmining non renewable energy

Non renewable energy sources.

We have written a lot about renewable energy sources, but the world is still mainly powered by non renewable energy sources. The first problem with non renewable energy sources are not only that once they are depleted they are no more (although proven reserves of non renewable energy sources indicates that there is still more of it then the world can consume for a very long time, hence the current oversupply of oil.).

The second problem is that although there are plenty of known reserves some of them are costly to access, which can turn into a positive if renewable energy becomes cheaper as non renewable energy.

The third problem is environmental, the extraction of fossil fuels can damage the surrounding environment including, water pollution and extraction of water. When burning fossil fuels it can have an affect on the health of nearby populations and it is a major contributor to global warming. The main disadvantage for nuclear fuel is radio active waste, which needs to be managed very well. A major incident with a nuclear reactor can have negative effects for a wide area.

The economic cost of non renewable energy, might not be around currently, but future generations might suffer the consequences.

Some non renewable energy sources are

  • Coal
  • Oil
  • Natural Gas
  • Uranium, used for nuclear energy

Surprisingly a lot of people consider wood a non renewable resource, but most plantations are managed well and are replenished at a sufficient rate so that it is considered as a renewable and sustainable source of energy.

The power of wind

Wind power or wind energy is getting more popular as an renewable energy as an alternative to fossil fuel and one of the best known of the renewable energy sources. Wind Power has been in use for hundred of years to power the wind mills in Holland and to power the sailing boats of yesteryear. To generate electricity through the use of wind power requires wind turbines. Wind turbine generators do little to harm the environment and are clean and preferable source of energy compared to fossil fuels. The only disadvantage of wind power is that wind power cannot be used everywhere. To make effective use of wind power and use turbines to generate wind power you would need an average wind speed of at least 21 kilometers per hour. Obviously those wind speeds are not found everywhere. You will find that most large scale wind power farms can be found near coastal areas.

Wind Power in South Africa

There are currently no large scale wind farms operational in South Africa, though a number of wind farms are in the initial planning stages. Most of these wind power farms are earmarked for locations along the windy Eastern Cape coastline. Eskom has constructed one small scale prototype wind farm at Klipheuwel in the Western Cape and another demonstrator site is near Darling with phase 1 completed.

Wind Power the future of renewable energy

Wind is a sustainable fuel source free of pollutants of any kind and its free energy can be harnessed without causing any damage to the environment. The energy used to manufacture and erect a wind turbine is recovered in the first 3 to 6 months of operation. At the end of a wind turbine’s lifetime, typically 30+ years, it can be removed, leaving behind no lasting legacy.

Cost effectiveness of wind power

Although the initial investment in a wind power farm is higher than a traditional fossil powered system, with no ongoing fuel cost the price of generating electricity works out cheaper over the lifetime of the investment with the added benefit of being kinder to the environment.

The power of wind

Windmill