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Information on Alternative Energy including alternative energy resources, alternative energy investments and renewable energy you can use to save money, save energy and save the earth.

Practical tips and information on how you can save money, energy and effort by using alternative energy sources in your home and business.

Even Paris Hilton and John McCain are affected by the rising cost of fuel and energy. Aside from the ever growing cost of energy is the growing threat of global warming and climate change. While the science behind global warming is dubious, concern over it is driving interest in adopting more "carbon neutral" energy sources in order to lower emissions of so-called "Green House Gases".  In this rapidly changing market we all understand the importance of finding suitable energy substitutes that are carbon neutral and cost effective.

Many countries are talking about introducing clean and renewable energy substitutes for fossil fuels and more money is being invested in developing new and better energy technologies. All forms of alternative energy has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here is a quick overview.

Wind Power

Using the wind to generate power is nothing new. For centuries wind has been used to pump water, turn mills and, for the past hundred years, generate electricity by turning a turbine. Recent new developments in both the turbines and the blades have increased the reliability and generating power of windmills. As a result windmills are enjoying increased popularity as a viable energy resource.

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Wind power is very popular but has the disadvantage of needing a relatively large number of turbines to generate substantial amounts of power. This requires a lot of land, which may not always be available. Wind power is also of course, dependent on the wind, which means they can’t be used everywhere and, importantly, they cannot be relied upon as the sole source of power.

Small windmills are available that can be used for home use. Because of zoning and other restrictions they are more practical in a rural environment, but they do offer individuals the option of using wind for their own energy security.

Solar Power

Solar power is the most popular and common form of alternative energy for the homeowner. It can easily be installed and integrated into your existing home or building with little modification and it will not offend your neighbors in an urban environment like adding a windmill might.

Installing solar power systems is becoming increasingly popular with many governments offering grants and tax rebates to assist in defraying the expense of installing photovoltaic solar power panels. Solar water heaters can further reduce your energy signature by supplementing your conventional water heater. The advantage of installing solar power in your home is that you can often sell your excess power back to the utility, further reducing your energy costs. New photovoltaic roof tiles that take the place of ordinary roof tiles can be blended to fit the current look of your house, allowing your home to have solar power with no change in its appearance.

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Not really for the homeowner, but biomass is the most widely used alternative energy source in the United States. The prime disadvantage is the smell, which means most biomass facilities are located in remote locations. The chief advantage is that it is an “evergreen” renewable source…there will always be plant and animal waste.

Other alternative energy sources

I want to briefly talk about three additional alternative energy sources that have the potential to be reliable and renewable energy substitutes for fossil fuels. First off is nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is clean, compact and can provide a lot of energy. Short term it may be the only viable alternative power source to the burning of fossil fuels. It has obvious disadvantages, like radiation and nuclear waste, that need to be addressed and that make this source of power controversial, but it is a powerful and reliable energy source.

Hydroelectric power

I am talking here about using dams to generate electricity. Hydroelectric is, in a lot of ways, the perfect electrical energy source. It is clean, renewable and generates a lot of power. The prime disadvantage is possible ecological damage resulting from the damming of rivers and streams. Another limitation is that all the obvious hydroelectric sites in the United States have already been dammed, limiting the expansion of this source of power. There are small-scale hydroelectric generators that can be used by the homeowner if you happen to have a river or stream running through your property.

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy uses the earth’s own heat to create energy and warmth. It is clean, efficient and can also be used by homeowners on a small scale. Geothermal energy plants tap into geothermal water reservoirs within the earth and use the resulting steam to turn a turbine, generating electricity.

Geothermal has the advantage of being a proven energy source. 21 countries currently have geothermal power plants and in fact, in the United States today approximately 7000 megawatts of electricity are currently being generated.

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