Dec 19, 2009

Is Alternative Energy Always Green Energy? No.

These days, it’s almost fashionable to go green. We talk about alternative energy and renewable energy often but we don’t realize these terms are the same as green energy. Yup! There are subtle differences between the two.

Here’s the deal.

Wood is a renewable source of energy because it can be grown over and over again. But, if you burn it in the wrong way, you’ll create a lot of pollution. Burning it inefficiently leads to lots of smoke and emission of carbon dioxide.

You also know hydroelectricity is an alternative source of fuel. But building dams for hydroelectric power stations damages the environment.

Similarly, hidden costs related to wind turbines are blamed for negative environmental impacts of wind farms. A study by published by New Scientist Magazine in 2006 pointed out:
  • Wind farms are responsible for killing around 1,500 birds each year
  • The construction of wind farms release a lot of carbon dioxide
  • Wind farms constructed on Irish peat bogs ended up hampering the other purpose of these bogs, which is to purify drinking water.
So it’s simple. The manner of generating electricity determines whether green energy is involved. As always, the means justifies ends.

Some sources: The Independent, Alternative Energy Primer, eHow (Image)