Solar, Hydroelectric, and Wind Power cannot replace Fossil Fuels

2123 Words 9 Pages
Are Solar, Hydroelectric, and Wind Power Conceivable Alternatives to Fossil Fuels in the
Future?

Abstract: Fossils fuels are diminishing. Other, possibly more environmentally safe, energy sources are needed to replace them. The purpose of this study was to examine closely the three most common renewable energy sources—solar, wind, and hydroelectric power—as a solution to the “energy problem” of today and possibly the energy crisis of the future. However, solar and wind energy account for a very small percent of the energy used by the U.S. (nearly 2 percent), and the possible technologies being developed to increase their efficiency won’t be able to seal the gap between energy supplied by these renewable energy sources and the
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Figure 1: The Hubbert’s curve predicts that the world production of oil will peak in approximately 2007
Courtesy http://planetforlife.com/oilcrisis/oilpeak.html
This suggests that the rate of oil extraction would be given by the derivative of the Hubbert curve. This theory is given credence by the fact that Hubbert predicted that oil production would peak in early 1970s—which it did. Besides oil, Hubbert’s theory is applied to natural gas, coal and non-conventional oil. The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas argued using the
Hubbert model that the world would face the maximum rate of global oil production around
2007 and decrease every year afterwards (C. J. Campbell, 2002). In a recent year, 25 billion barrels of oil were consumed worldwide even though only 8 billion in new reserves were discovered. The International Energy Agency projected in March 2005 an annual global demand of 30 billion barrels, making consumption equal to demand. Since fossil fuels are indeed limited, it is expected that the world will experience a shortage of these fuels. Today, in the U.S., coal, oil and natural gas provide 85 percent of all the electricity consumed, two-thirds of electricity, and nearly all transportation fuels (U.S. Department of Energy, 2005). Though by themselves, solar power, hydroelectric power, and wind power may not be enough to completely substitute for our use of fossil fuels, together they could be enough to virtually
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