RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES

 

 

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Energy is a fundamental to human systems, societies and survival.  The future environmental health of Planet Earth depends directly on how much energy we consume and the form in which we consume it.  People living in high currency countries (the economic North) use far more energy per head than their counterparts in poorer countries (the economic South).  Every time the fridge door opens or the TV is switched on we are using energy, and add to such pollution problems as the greenhouse effect and acid deposition.

Energy matters are assuming a greater importance in our daily lives and careful consideration must be given not only to the various sources (fossil fuels, nuclear power, renewable energy) but also to developing more efficient ways of using energy.

Most of our electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil.  This process emits carbon dioxide, a principal greenhouse gas, and contributes significantly to global warming.  Everyone agrees that we need to clean up our act.  How to do it is a matter of great debate.

The government has advocated the use of nuclear power, and supporters thereof say that it is a "clean technology" and does not contribute to the greenhouse effect or acid rain.

Many environmental organizations question the desirability of nuclear power.  They say it is expensive and that the full costs (including decommissioning) are never shown.  They also point out the risk of accidents such as those which have occurred at Chernobyl (Russia), Three Mile Island (USA) and Windscale (UK).  There are also continuing concerns about the effect on human health and the problems of nuclear waste disposal.

 

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