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Alternative Energy

Overview

The term "alternative energy" (also: renewable energy) encompasses a variety of power generation sources. Generally, it refers to electrical power derived from "renewable" resources such as solar or wind energy, as opposed to "single-use" resources such as coal or uranium. The most common forms of alternative energy available for homeowner use today are solar power, wind power and "micro-hydro" power.

The benefits of using renewable energy sources are considerable. From an environmental standpoint, solar, wind and waterpower are all non-emission power sources. Unlike coal combustion power plants, no harmful exhaust is produced when using alternative energy generators. There is also no worry about toxic or radioactive waste products, as there is with nuclear power.

In addition to the lack of emissions and waste products, no valuable resources are "used up" with renewable resource power generation. If every home on earth were powered with an alternative energy system, it would never cause a shortage of wind, water or sunlight.

For remote sites currently relying on engine generators for electrical power, alternative energy sources present some other advantages as well. Sunlight, wind and flowing water are all available for free, unlike diesel fuel or propane used to power a traditional generator. Also, each of these methods operates virtually silently. Solar panels and underwater turbines make no noise whatsoever, and wind generators produce a low hum at most. Compared to the racket an engine generator makes, even the noisiest wind turbine would be unnoticeable.

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