Energy Conservation

Energy conservation is an important global environmental issue both because there is a limit to the world’s supply of fossil fuels and because of the environmental benefits of switching to clean sources of alternative energy.  In 2006 about 18 percent of world energy usage came from renewable sources of energy.   13 percent came from traditional biomass sources, 3 percent from hydroelectric power generation, with newer sources of alternative energy such as wind power and solar accounting for 2.4 percent of total world energy production.  Concerns about energy security and climate change are accelerating efforts to develop non-fossil fuel clean sources of energy, with some countries such as Denmark setting a goal of achieving 100 percent energy independence from fossil fuels.  Unfortunately, the recent conference at Copenhagen failed to achieve a world-wide treaty for limiting fossil fuel emissions and achieving energy conservation goals.  The primary source of disagreement is the priority of developing countries to implement cheap sources of energy and the priority of develped countries to control emissions and promote the use of alternative sources of energy.  Despite this, numerous cities, companies, and individuals are taking the lead to implement alternative energy solutions irrespective of the lack of clear direction from their national governments.  As a result, it is estimated that world-wide wind power generation is growing at a rate of 30 percent annually with similar rates of growth for solar, biofuel and geothermal energy production.  As a consequence, total estimated world-wide investment in all renewable energy sources went from 63 billion dollars in 2006 to almost double, or 120 billion dollars, in 2008 (i.e. in just two years).   Some recent examples of large new sources of alternative energy include the construction of the 354 solar generating station in California; the construction of the 50 MW solar generating station in Andasol, Spain; the construction of the 54 MW Strasskirchen solar generating station in Germany; construction of wind turbine skyscraper buildings in Dubai and Bahrain; the almost complete conversion to the use of biofuel to fuel automobiles in Brazil;  the construction of the 750 MW Geysers geothermal plant 72 miles north of San Francisco; and the commitment of such large cities as New York and Chicago to convert the roofs of their cities to energy conservation green roofs.

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~ by americanpresidents on February 24, 2010.

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