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Assess the Potential of Three Sources of Renewable Energy as Alternatives to Using Fossil Fuels in the Developing World

Autor:   •  April 3, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,837 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,666 Views

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In all age, energy plays an important role in human history. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the demand of energy has increased dramatically. Fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, occupy the largest proportion in global energy structure. For example, as Seitz (2002) says, the industrialized world relies on a very versatile, although polluting, fuel—oil. However, renewable energy, as a new type of energy, is substituting fossil fuels gradually at present. Renewable energy is "obtained from sources at a rate that is less than or equal to the rate at which the source is replenished" (Fanchi, 2005, p.72) and cause little pollution. This essay proposes to assess the potential of three sources of renewable energy as alternatives to using fossil fuels in the developing world. The solution will be evaluated using the criteria of the cost of energy and environment effect.

There seems to be no doubt that fossil fuels are used to fuel electric power generation at present. However, using fossil fuels have caused some global issues. As was mentioned, human need more fossil fuels for development. While, fossil fuels have finite lifetimes. The limited energy resources and rise price of fossil fuels by a big margin. Three times of oil shock from 1971 to 1991, exampled by Seitz (2002), brought huge strikes to economic and political development of many countries. Developing countries need more energy resources to developing and have no power to stand the huge strikes of energy crisis. In addition to this, the higher the price of fossil fuels rising, the heavier the financial burden developing countries have. On the other hand, using fossil fuels brings environment costs, such as air pollution and acid rain, and Bascheck (2007) also argues that the future growth of energy demand and continued reliance on fossil fuels raise the environmental concerns. Many developing countries, such as China, India and Brazil, are still in the industrial process, and using large amount of fossil fuels to generating enough energy (Mishra, 2003) worsens the environmental issue. So substituting renewable energy, which causes little pollutant, for fossil fuels is important for improving the environment. The reason whether is the rising price of energy or the worse environment, using renewable energy has become a necessary way for the future of developing countries. There are three examples of zero-emission renewable energy: hydropower, solar energy and wind power.

Firstly, hydropower, the only renewable resource used on a large scale at present, is generated from falling water. As Middleton (2003) estimates, hydropower generates 17 percentage of electrical power throughout the world and, as Wright (2008, p.366) said, it is "the most common form of renewable energy in use at present". For some developing countries, such as China and Brazil, hydropower has become an important source of electricity. This situation builds an example and brings


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