Alternative energy sources include biomass, geothermal energy, hydropower, solar energy, and wind energy. They are called renewable energy sources because they are replenished in a short time. Day after day, the sun shines, the wind blows, and the rivers flow.
Alternative energy sources provide only about 7% of the world’s energy needs (Source: Energy Information Agency). This means that fossil fuels, along with nuclear energy, are supplying 93% of the world’s energy resources.
As the population grows upwards towards nine billion people over the next 50 years, the world’s energy demands will increase proportionately. Not only will it be important for renewable energy to keep up with the increasing population growth, but it must outpace not only these demands but begin replacing fossil fuel energy production if we are to meet future energy needs.
By the year 2020, world energy consumption is projected to increase by 50%, or an additional 207 quadrillion BTUs. If the global consumption of renewable energy sources remains constant, the world’s available fossil fuel reserves will be consumed in 104 years or early in the 22nd century. (Source: US Department of Energy). Clearly, renewable energy resources will play an increasingly vital role in the power generation mix over the next century. There’s more than enough renewable energy sources to supply all of the world’s energy needs forever; however, the challenge is to develop the capability to effectively and economically capture, store and use the energy when needed.
III. Remember these words:
fossil, to demand, needs, to consume, to include, to mean, to flow, BTU, B.T.U.orBtu British Thermal Unit
IV. Translate the following words and define their part of speech:
V. Translate the following sentences. Pay attention to –ing forms:
1. Charging by induction was discovered by Epinus.
2. The lines of force are used for picturing the electric field.
3. The scientists go on studying the properties of the magnetic flux.
4. There are different ways of producing an electric current.
5. We could not achieve good results without comparing the two figures.
6. We know of the magnetic lines being emitted from the North pole.
VI. Read what people say about different fuels and energy sources. What text is mainly about the following? Match the appropriate statement and the text.
1. public perception of energy and the energy industry
2. the effects on the environment of different sources of energy
3. the availability of renewable sources
4. the reliability and efficiency of fossil fuels
a) Coal and lignite are the most reliable fuels. We’ll depend on them more as gas and oil disappear. There may be a few problems with emissions, buy these can easily be solved. They’re also very versatile and can be used to produce electricity and heat our homes efficiently.
b) Fossil fuels are harmful; think how they affect our atmosphere and countryside. We can’t build our future energy planning on them. We have to think differently. The sun is a clean energy source, and the potential for providing us with power is enormous! What’s more we can install solar sells on buildings, which will reduce the requirement for large power stations.
c) Solar power is good as far as it goes, but what do we do when the sun isn’t shining? In some countries there is often cloudy sky, and in some countries there are only four hours of sunlight per day in winter. Wind on the other hand is always at our disposal – more than the sun anyway. We can use this source to cover our needs.
d) The most important thing is to educate people about energy. It may be true that fossil fuels and other sources have some drawbacks, but there are many positive aspects. We should focus on informing people; how they see energy is important.
VII. Questions for discussion:
1. What are renewable and nonrenewable energy sources? What is the difference between them?
2. What is the ratio of renewable and nonrenewable energy sources?
3. What is the role of renewable energy sources in future?