The US is realizing that fossil fuels are no longer a feasible choice for oil, not only because of their effects on the atmosphere, but also on the economy. As the US economy heavily depends on fossil fuels, it can be difficult to transition towards safer, cost-effective and reliable energy sources.
To remain efficient and competitive, industries require cheap and reliable energy. On the other hand, it needs to balance its rising demand for energy with the imperative need for environmental protection.
Industries are responsible for more than a third of electricity consumption in the US, and heat generation accounting for more than 70 percent of energy demand in this field. In light of current fears regarding global warming, environmental pollution, renewable energy and industrial competitiveness, the pressure on the industry to make use of new, renewable and effective energy sources is growing. Until 2007, renewable energy sources accounted for just 8.5 percent of the overall energy demand across the US.
In the world, electricity generation is the largest industry. It drives both the production and utility industries and is reported to be approximately $7 trillion TWh in size. The effect on the environment and people alike is the result of unsustainable reliance on fossil fuels for electricity. With the increasing awareness of the harmful nature of fossil fuel use, some significant attention is being paid to research & innovation in the renewable energy field.
Alternative Energy sources
Although there are various alternative energy resources, not everything can be produced on a large scale, while some have problems with sustainability. The following is a brief description of some of these energy sources.
Energy storage systems
Since the 1960s, the idea of storing energy produced in a generating station has been attempted, but these massive storage schemes were more prevalent in nuclear power stations. American Electric Power (AEP) took the initiative in installing vast quantities of battery storage in substations from 2005 onwards.
The distributed energy storage approach has been used to monitor the control of high load and increase system stability by installing 2 MW systems. Recently, many new companies have begun working on battery technologies such as battery energy from Aggreko which is being sold to companies as temporary power solutions.
A successful method that has already been extensively used is the direct application of solar to electricity using solar cells. For rural areas that keep dropping off the energy grid and experience frequent blackouts, solar energy is particularly helpful.
Geothermal plants enable the continuous generation of energy, which differs from other renewable forms of energy such as wind or solar. Geothermal energy boasts a high-power availability of 95 percent of the time. A geothermal power plant’s impact is small and the energy is long-lasting; to date, the initial geothermal power plant that is more than a century old continues to generate electricity. With hardly any pollution, geothermal power produces clean electricity sustainably. Therefore, this remains to be the most promising energy source going forward.