The question that will come to your mind after reading the title of this page is, ‘Are there any?’ Alternative forms of energy seem to be the perfect solution – the concept is environmental friendly, it’s endless, and above all, it’s free. So what’s the drawback? In fact, many people wouldn’t even consider anything except an electric car as their main mode of transportation. However there are various pros and cons that should be kept in mind before taking the alternative energy leap.
Disadvantages of Alternative Energy / No Constant Supply
The very first disadvantage that holds true for most of the alternative energies is that there supply is dependent on nature and thus are not constant.
For example, solar energy can be generated only at the areas that receive ample sunlight. For other areas tha receive below moderate to little sunlight, solar energy would not be of much use.
–The cloudy Australia sky depicted to the left would not bode well for solar energy applications. Photo is by Brock EastBlood.–
Even for the areas with bright sunlight, solar energy can only be generated at daytime and not at nighttime. The same is the case with wind energy. Generating electricity through wind farms is possible only at the countryside or other such areas where windmills can receive wind supply without any obstruction.
With hydroelectricity (or water energy), the situation fares better, because once electricity is generated at the dams the electricity can be drawn with wires and can be transported across miles.
This is one of the main reasons alternative energy isn’t popular:
Many organizations decide to use alternative energy sources. However, they back out as soon as they find out that it’ll incur huge costs.
Alternative energy is especially difficult put into effect in an infrastructure that is already set up. Most of the forms of alternative energies require a certain type of system. This system is very different from the one that they use currently. Therefore, a major infrastructure/system overhaul is essential before incorporating alternative energy.
Expensive to Use
Considering the monetary factors, fossil fuels are less costly to use than alternative energy. Fossil fuels are readily available, can be stored at any location or transported using the regular means. However, in the case of alternative energy various changes and thus huge investment is required to reap benefits.
Disadvantages of Alternative Energy / Solar Energy
Energy can be trapped only during daytime and only at places receiving desired amount of sunlight.
Efficiency of solar panels is generally low, around 10-15%. Therefore, for a good power supply, large surface area is required. For a household supply of let’s say 100KWHs, solar panels on at least 400 square meters of land are needed.
Solar power is costly to use in daily life. Cost can be anywhere around 20-25 cents per KWH.
Disadvantages of Alternative Energy / Wind Energy
Wind energy is a clean fuel. However, it does cause significant amount of noise pollution.
Initial investment is quite high and efficiency is low, around 30%. And many feel that wind towers ruin the scenery of the adjoining place.
Disadvantages of Alternative Energy / BioFuel & BioMass
Areas which gather biofuels can sustain soil erosion.
Biofuel is an excellent solvent so it generally dissolves the deposits in the filters. Because of this, the engine may need to be replaced more often.
Biomass is a good alternative to using fossil fuels. However, it ends up doing the same thing as fuel. Combustion of biomass produces carbon dioxide and similar greenhouse gases.
Another disadvantage of biomass is that it’s generally produced from corn, wheat, barley, and similar crops all of which are seasonal. Thus biomass can only be produced only in certain seasons.
Disadvantages of Alternative Energy / Hydropower
Hydropower (water energy) often damages the surrounding environment. Its impact on fish is well known. Many call hydropower stations as an imposition on ecosystem.
Levels of oxygen dissolved in the water also decreases due to damming.
It would be incorrect to say that disadvantages of alternative energy don’t exist. However, it would also be wrong to imply that fossil fuel is better than alternative energy. With people growing more concerned for the environment, alternative energy is gaining popularity. And as we incorporate the advantages more in our daily life, the disadvantages of alternative energy will slowly fade away.
For more information on the alternative energy follow these links: