Though non conventional energy sources, such as solar and wind power, make up a small part of the overall market, they offer benefits not found in traditional sources. Solar plants produce energy with no carbon emissions. Non conventional sources relieve U.S. dependency on foreign oil and they can provide reliable energy in remote locations where conventional energy sources do not reach.
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Although petroleum yields many useful fuels and substances, the supply of cheap overseas oil contributes to the U.S. trade imbalance. This also complicates foreign policy, as a country dependent on foreign resources has less international political leeway. Since wind, solar and other non conventional sources produce energy locally, they promote the domestic economy and the worthwhile goal of energy independence.
Fossil fuels burn easily and provide decent amounts of energy, but their supplies are limited. Estimates vary, but known coal reserves will last between about 50 and 120 years. Petroleum has similar limits. After these sources run out, they are gone forever. Nature, however, replenishes solar, wind and other non conventional energy sources. Biofuels come from crops produced every growing season. Civilisation must wean itself from fossil fuels in order to continue.
Reduced CO2 Emissions
Under pressure by political and environmental groups wanting to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, traditional power utilities are considering adding carbon removing equipment to their plants. Solar and wind technologies, unlike coal and oil, do not involve combustion for producing energy, so their operation emits no CO2 or other greenhouse gases. Although you burn biofuels to make power, the crops harvested for these fuels consume CO2, so this source tends to be carbon neutral, removing as much carbon dioxide as it makes.
Some non conventional energy sources provide reliable power where conventional ones cannot. Communications satellites used some of the first solar cells for power, as they operate far from any traditional power source. The sun shines continuously in space, so solar panels make an ideal choice. On Earth, solar panels also see use in areas miles from the nearest power line. A solar panel can charge batteries, providing reliable power for emergency lighting and communications.
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