Alternative Energy Sources

A number of different energy sources are used every day. Where does this energy come from? Burning of fossil fuel is a main energy source. Sources other than this fossil fuel are known as alternative energy sources and there are several of them being used every day.

The water used by whitewater rafters has a tremendous amount of energy. That water energy can be harnessed to perform work by using waterwheels. Running or falling water turns the wheel. The turning wheel spins an axle which can be attached to machinery to do various work. In a mill the waterwheel turns and a big stone grinds grain. In a sawmill waterwheels turn the axle and a blade cuts wood. Finally, in a hydroelectric plant the running or falling water spins a generator to create electricity.

Not only does water spin a wheel, but wind can do so as well. Windmills work in the same manner as a waterwheel. For many years, windmills were usually used mainly for milling grain, pumping water, or both. Today, though, all of that has changed. Windmills are used as wind turbines that can generate electricity. As the wind propels the blades, energy is created and stored to be used to perform work. As long as there is movement, energy can be produced, and the wind is an excellent alternative energy source. In many parts of the Midwest where there is an abundance of wind, energy is produced for homes and businesses.

The internal heat of the earth is another energy source. The interior of the earth is very hot as is evidenced by hot water or steam coming out of the ground in certain places on the Earth. The earth's internal heat is called geothermal energy. Geothermal energy can be used to heat homes and produce electricity. There are homes in Boise, Idaho that have been heated solely by hot springs since the 1890's. Also at the Geysers in California, steam drives turbines that generate electricity. This steam comes from underground water that is heated by geothermal energy.

Every day the sun provides energy. Solar energy is often thought to just be sunlight. Sunlight is full of energy. It is the sunlight that gives water the energy to evaporate and rise into the atmosphere. People are finding new ways to harness the power of sunlight. One major way is to trap or concentrate sunlight with the use of solar panels. This trapped sunlight can be used to heat homes and water. Also solar cells are devices that convert sunlight into electric energy.

As the use of alternative energy sources increases, the consumption of the earth's fossil fuels will also decrease. One watt of energy that is used by solar cells is one less watt used by power plants burning oil or coal. If society hopes to see the next generation have the resources needed to heat homes and drive cars, alternative energy sources are needed today.

Fossil fuel is the most common source of energy today, but it is not considered clean energy. There are various other sources of alternative energy that must be incorporated if the next generations are expected to have energy. Water, wind, the internal heat of the earth, and the sun are all being harnessed to create energy. Geothermal energy and solar energy are more common. Homes are being heated and cooled, cars are being driven, and electricity is used all from these various alternative sources of energy. All are examples of clean energy, which is better for the environment because it does not cause pollution.

A: Alternative sources of energy
B: Geothermal energy
C: Solar energy
D: Water energy

A: Windmills
B: Waterwheels
C: Aqua cells
D: Hydroelectric wheels

A: Solar energy
B: Core energy
C: Geothermal energy
D: Steam energy

A: Solar cells
B: Solar panels
C: Converters
D: Hydro panels

A: Solar cells
B: Solar panels
C: Solar devices
D: Solar censors

A: Water
B: Wind
C: Sun
D: Plants

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