Importance And Forms Of Alternative Energy: Pros And Cons For Indonesia

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The topic of Alternative Energy has been no stranger to the general public. With thousands of campaigns happening and ideas discovered, so many people urge others to change their emissions of non reusable energy. Alternative energy itself has the meaning of “energy from moving water, wind, the sun, and gas from animal waste” according to Cambridge Dictionary. From the definition itself, a lot can be deciphered. First, we know what sources of alternative energy is included. Which once again is moving water, wind, the sun, gas and from animal waste. As time rapidly passes, although the demand of energy is still as constant or even more, the supply of coal and petroleum could no longer be depended due to the limited amount of the resources left.

With a very extreme change going to happen around the future, what can humans due to adapt to the change? Alternative energy is the answer to this issue. It is essential for each nation especially Indonesia to reconsider their overall energy consumption and evaluate what to do next. As the fourth most populated country, it is essential for the country to be able to meet the standard living expectation. One of them is access to energy. But what would happen when the primary source of energy is no longer available. Through socialization and raising awareness, the state could be able to anticipate for the significant change that it going to happen later on in the future. But one very prominent issue is the lack of knowledge regarding alternative energy. Because Indonesia is claimed to be one example of an ideal spot to implement the use of alternative energy, the people of Indonesia, or Indonesians must know and understand which kind of alternative energy is the most efficient and effective source of energy.

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This essay will compare and contrast the pros and cons of each alternative energy and summarize why we must be informed about this topic. One very common form of alternative energy is Solar Power. Solar power is converting sunlight into electricity. Using solar panels, which are large flat panels that consist numerous amounts of solar cells. But how does solar panels work? Well solar panels function with allowing atoms and particles or known as photons to set electrons free from atoms, which will generate a flow of electricity. In other words, the solar panel’s photovoltaic cells will change the cell to become energy from the sunlight to electricity more specifically DC or direct current. This form of electricity will then continue to change its form again into alternating current or known as AC. As it is a very common form of alternative energy, there must be a reason why people prefer this form in comparison to others. There are a lot of benefits or advantages that can be taken from solar energy. One advantage is that it in indeed a renewable energy source. The source itself is very accessible to most people due to the fact that it is harnessed through sunlight. It is a fact that solar power can be harnessed in all regions of the earth and it is available in most days. Unlike most forms of energy, solar energy is always accessible. As long as the sunlight is still in our reach, the power can still be harnessed. Another advantage is that solar power can reduce electricity bills. Although to generate solar power it requires a lot of money, the electricity bills are considered cheaper. Another advantage is the diverse purposes and functions. You can generate electricity or even heat. Solar energy can be used to harness electricity in areas without access to the energy grid, run water in regions with limited supply of clean water and to power satellites in outer space. The last advantage I will present is the technology development, it is constantly advancing and so many more people are innovating. Innovations can, at some point increase the use of the solar panels and increase the value of the electrical input of the solar power. But there are also several disadvantages present. One example is the dependency on weather. Although it is true that this form of alternative energy can still be retrieved and harnessed in times of cloudy and rainy days, the solar energy loses its efficiency. Solar panels are extremely dependent on sunlight to create an effective gathering of solar energy. Therefore, several days without a prominent sun can result in a noticeable change on the energy system. Another disadvantage is the complications present when moving. Solar energy technologies like solar panels have challenges when migrating. Several companies will exchange the letter of ownership approval to the new owner. Several companies have experts that work hand in hand with the real estate agent to ensure extremely tranquil intermissions. If the previous owner wishes to bring the panel along with them, it takes a lot of expenses. Some materials used to make solar panels are also considered a form of pollution. Yes they can last for a long time but disposing the solar panel can result to bad and even evere effects to the environment. The main disadvantage is the uncertainty of the weather, like I have mentioned before, the sun cannot always be reliable. With many weather uncertainty, it is considered uncertain in aspects of maintaining a constant harness of energy.

Another very talked about form of alternative energy is biomass. Biomass is the natural matters from the living. It is usually associated with organic matters, but biomass can also refer to other forms of materials, one other example is animal waste. Most people, when they hear the word biomass immediately think about animal’s waste but biomass is a lot more than just feces from an organism. Of course animal waste is also one source of biomass, but there are more than just waste. Since there are different sources of biomass, there are several methods of generating energy, one example is co-firing or exchanging biomass with coal. So, certain percentage of coal is replaced with this form of alternative energy. It serves as an successful way of utilizing biomass for energy and to reduce carbon dioxide discharge. With replacing a certain amount of coal plants with biomass, it turns a coal plant into a 100% renewable energy crop. There are also other methods used for electricity generation, but the main idea is that when biomass is fired, the synthetic energy in biomass is released as a form of heat. Biomass can be burned immediately or transformed to fluid biofuels or vapour that can be flared as ammunition in the end. Solid biomass can be burned directly to provide heat, except biomass can also be turned into a gas called biogas or into fluid biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Then this can be flashed for energy. There are several advantages that could be taken from biomass. The first one is that biomass as a form of fuel will reduce the need for fossil fuels for the production of heat, steam and electricity in aspects of agriculture, industrial and residential purposes. Biomass, like solar energy is also always available and can be produced as a renewable form of resource. One other advantage is that there will be less money spent on foreign oil and growing biomass plants produce oxygen and use up carbon dioxide which is a very good benefit towards the environment.ut there are also noticeable disadvantages. One of them includes a major cause of pollution in certain cases because the method really glorifies the burning method, and if not done properly, it could result in air pollution. Additional work will also be needed in areas such as harvesting. One specific disadvantage is that several countries have not implemented biomass based fuel so it has a difficult access in certain area because of the lack of access towards harvest and seasonal changes that may result in lack of harvesting, although the resource is very general and always available.

Another form of alternative renewable energy is wind. This form of alternative renewable energy includes the presence of wind turbines. With wind turbines, wind power is able to convert wind energy into electricity. A wind turbine itself is constituted of 3 propellers termed as a rotor. This rotor is fastened to a high tower because the winds are more powerful the further high up from the surface. Wind vigour is reconstructed into electricity amidst the use of magnets flying past stable loops of wire (stator). As the magnets passes it, AC electricity is manufactured and then switched again into DC electricity, which can be applied to charge batteries which collect energy (particularly electric) or deposited into an inverter. There are a lot of benefits that can be retrieved of wind power. It is a sanitary energy origin that can be relied on in long term aspects. A wind turbine is a reliable, cost-effective, pollution-free energy. It is also very sustainable. Wind energy does not contaminate the air like biomass. Wind turbines does not produce atmospheric discharges that produce acid rain either any form of greenhouse gas. It is too, considered a sustainable origin of energy. Wind is truly a form of solar energy due to the fact that it is caused by the heat of the atmosphere by the sun, rotation of the earth and the earth’s surface irregularities. As long as there is access to wind, energy can be harnessed to send power across the grid. It is cost effective because it is considered one of the lowest priced renewable energy technologies. Requiring 4 – 6 cents per KWh. Considering wind turbines could also be constructed in subsisting farms, this also benefits the prosperity in rural areas. But there are also several limitations from wind power. Turbines may cause noise. The turbine blades can also damage local wildlife because birds have been killed due to flying into the rotors. Wind resource development may not be the most profitable use of land as well. Because of the sound and visual impacts.

The next alternative energy is hydropower. Hydropower utilises a turbine to help harness electricity. Prioritizing the value of flowing water to rotate the blades. How it works is that the rotating blades whirl a dynamo that transforms the kinetic energy from the spinning turbine and falling water into electrical energy. The quantity of electricity generated from each power plant depends from the quantity of the flowing water and from the height where is falls. Some hydropower plants possess what is known as pumped storage. This means, during night time, when demand of the electricity is low, water is pumped back into the dam so it can be released again during the next day when the demand is higher. The advantage is that it is renewable. Like most forms of alternative energy, it has the means that we cannot use up. It is also very reliable. There are little fluctuations in terms of the electric power that is being by the plant, unless there is a different power that is desired. It is also very flexible, adjusting water flow and output of electricity is relatively easier. When there is low power consumption, water flow is reduced and the magazine levels are being conserved for times where the consumption is high. It is also relatively safe in comparison to fossil fuels and nuclear energy because there is no fuel involved. But there will always be disadvantages. One disadvantage is that there are several environmental consequences. It is related to the interventions in nature due to damming the water, the changed water flow and the construction of roads and modified power lines. Fish habitats are shaped by physical factors such as water levels, velocity and access to food. With draining it, it could result in a devastating result for the fishes. Beyond this, the amount of water may have different effects depending on the fish and the river itself. It is also considered pretty expensive because of the limited reservoirs and the act of building power plants itself.

The last form of renewable alternative energy is geothermal energy. Geothermal energy emphasizes on the heat from the earth. Resources of geothermal energy varies from the shallow ground, hot water and rocks, even to the extremely high temperatures of magma. How it works is that the geothermal heating system utilizes pipes located more than 4 feet deep in the earth. The system will pump liquid through the pipes to absorb the heat and bring it back indoors. A heat exchanger will take the heat from it and use it to heat the air inside the building. But it can also cool the building during summer. It works by absorbing the heat from the air inside the building and move it back to the earth. It can also be used to harness electricity. A geothermal power plant works by tapping into steam or hot water reservoirs underground. The heat will be used to drive an electrical generator. One very prominent advantage from geothermal energy is that there are almost no system maintenance. The system only has a few movable parts which are located inside a building. The lifespan of the geothermal heat pump system is very long, around 25 – 30 years while the pump itself lasts for 20 years. It is also considered very efficient. It uses 25 – 50% less electricity in comparison to the conventional systems in terms of heating and cooling (Greenmatch). But the disadvantages are that there are several environmental concerns about the greenhouse emissions. The extraction of geothermal energy sourcing from the grounds will lead to a release of greenhouse gases such as hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, methane and ammonia. It also needs a high investment for the system (in terms of installing for individual households), to install the system will need to install quite a complex system into someone’s house.

Overall, I think that the general effort to reduce fossil fuel emissions is already extremely helpful and beneficial. With comparing and contrasting each alternative renewable energy and reviewing the advantages and disadvantages each renewable energy possesses, I am able to decide which form of alternative energy I would like to study deeper about and research about. I would like to research more about the solar energy. I think solar energy is extremely accessible in my area and although I have access to most, I think that solar energy is specifically accessible in Indonesia. Since the summative will revolve around the experiment but later develop into an idea that could be implemented by our nation in the nearby future, and from that branch of idea, I think by researching more about solar energy, it could develop into a new idea or plan that I could implement the alternative energy in my life. It is also very interesting because as long as we can see the sun, electricity can be harnessed. With experimenting about solar energy, I think it will be a very beneficial yet exciting project.


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