Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Other Renewable Sources Of Power
So if the two main and highly publicised sources of renewable energy are realistically reduced to only being able to add to the grid and not provide base load power what of the other sources of renewable energy?
This article from the Energy Tribune examines them in turn:
Hydropower dams are unpopular with conservationists because they disrupt river ecosystems, hampering or preventing migrations of some fish species such as salmon. They can cause vegetation to decay along riverbeds, releasing large amounts of methane when the dams are built, and rapid water releases can kill fish, plants, and wildlife downstream. Very few unrestricted sites are available for major new systems.
Biomass burning, which provides nearly half of all U.S. renewable electrical power, demands large amounts of land thatmight otherwise be wooded or dedicated to food crops. It also
releases carbon dioxide.
Geothermal sites capable of producing electrical power are geographically limited. Located primarily in the western half of the U.S., many are in protected federal parks and natural
wilderness areas that are not open for development. Heat extraction for power is expensive, often necessitating drilling a mile or more underground and requiring extensive infrastructure
and power lines along with large amounts of cooling water. Processes often release groundwater contaminates (thermal and toxic), gas emissions (hydrogen sulfide), and mineral-rich sludges containing mercury and other heavy metals.
So of all the renewable alternatives none are with some environmental cost of their own and all have a large economic cost as none are viable without large scale government subsidy intervention. Which means you are paying for them with your higher taxes and then paying for them again with your higher energy bills.