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To explore all of the aspects why we need alternative energy in our world Ross Cardwell Norfolk State University

Author Note Ross Cardwell, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Norfolk State University. Correspondence concerning this paper should be addressed to Ross Cardwell, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Norfolk State University, 700 Park Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23504. E-mail:

Running Head: FACTORS OF THE NEED FOR ALTERNATIVE ENERGY Abstract This paper identifies the increasing need for alternative energy sources throughout our world today. It looks into detail about three of the top alternative energy sources and provides examples where and how they are being used.


The consumption of oil has dramatically increased from the past when we first discovered fossil fuels to now when it runs pretty much everything in our daily lives. According to Peter Muller, we now consume twenty five percent of the worlds total oil today and the amount is increasing by two percent each year. Alternative energy sources will be key to preserving the world we know today in less than a half century. Although right now oil is the main supply for energy, we need to find an alternative energy source or two to power the earth before mankind destroys the earth. The alarming rate of fossil fuels being used in the U.S. and world today is significantly harming the environment, due to lack of knowledge by the common people. They do not know or understand that pollution emitted from the burning of fossil fuels causes global warming, which leads to severe storms, hotter summers, and harsher winters than usual. There are areas around the World with fossil fuel deposits than can supply us energy until 2050; however these areas reside in national parks and the middle of the ocean. I strongly do not agree with offshore drilling and uprooting our national parks. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Despoiling nature to get at the tiny trickle of oil we have left won't make any significant difference in what we pay at the pump - not now and not ever. Fossil fuels are responsible for a lot of environmental damage in the World including acid rain, greenhouse gas emission, air pollution, water pollution, and ozone depletion. The top three alternative sources for energy used in the world today are wind energy, solar power, and hydropower. These forms of energy are expensive, but in the long run they

Running Head: FACTORS OF THE NEED FOR ALTERNATIVE ENERGY payback our government and the environment. The United States population accounts for five percent of the Worlds population, but we account for twenty six percent of the Worlds energy. According to Robert P. Murphy, PhD, an economist at the Institute for Energy Research, Our thirst for oil is bad for national security, bad for our economy, and bad for the environment. Water power is the most-widely used form of alternative energy in the world. Moving water is a powerful presence responsible for lighting entire cities and even countries. Thousands of years ago the Greeks used water wheels, which picked up water in buckets around a wheel. The

weight of the water cause the wheel to turn, converting kinetic energy into mechanical energy for grinding grain and pumping water (Alternative Energy 2014). Hydropower energy accounts for nine percent of the United States total energy supply and accounts for twenty percent of the Worlds total energy supply. As a matter of fact water is the main source of energy in over thirty countries. The water in the rivers is always flowing with a lot of power that is very reliable and very consistent. Unlike solar energy that only works during the day and wind energy which only works when there is wind. Water is not only environmentally friendly, but it is completely free from fossil fuels. With that being said, another advantage that water power has over fossil fuels is that water can be reused. According to Robert L. Bradley Jr. PhD, Chairman and CEO of the Institute for Energy Research, Wind power is the most economically competitive form of renewable energy. Therefore wind power is the most used and most promising renewable energy source in the World. However there is a reason why we do not use wind energy everywhere. Wind energy is a extremely expensive, because of the extensive amounts of money to set up wind farms. But on the other end of the spectrum after a wind farm is set up, it turns into being one of the cheapest forms of electricity to maintain. With todays technology wind energy could provide twenty

Running Head: FACTORS OF THE NEED FOR ALTERNATIVE ENERGY percent of Americas electricity. With only one percent of Americas land occupied by wind turbines. By the year 2020 ten million American homes may be occupied by wind power, preventing 100 million metric tons of CO2 caused by fossil fuels every year (Alternative Energy 2014). According to the U.S Department of Energy, wind farms set up offshore can

generate enough energy to power the whole nation, but the only thing holding us back is the cost. We are third in the world for usage of wind energy with Germany being the leading producer. Wind power is the most trusted use of energy because it does little to nearly no damage to the environment, requires no fossil fuels, and discharges no air pollution. Garret Gross, a scientist from UMKC in Kansas City, Missouri, The impact made on the environment is very little compared to what is gained. Simply put wind power nothing but a positive for our environment and our energy desires. The third most used alternative energy source in the World is solar power. This is because the sun is the most powerful source of energy known to planet earth. Solar energy is the basis of wind energy, hydropower, and biomass. Solar energy even plays a role in the development of fossil fuels. According to Jay Leher at Greenpeace International, The solar radiation reaching the earth's surface in one year provides more than 10,000 times the world's yearly energy needs. As the consumption and use of fossil fuels become more problematic, the need for solar power increases. According to Larry Kazmerski, Director of the DOEs National Center for Photovoltaics, the best way of lowering the cost of solar energy is to improve the cells efficiency. As the issue of solar-cell efficiency is pushed the day the sun will generate a major portion of the countrys energy gets closer and closer (Alternative Energy 2014). Solar power has many uses including electricity production and heating of water. Simple everyday examples of this would include the heating of pools, power cars, power our calculators, and it supplies our

Running Head: FACTORS OF THE NEED FOR ALTERNATIVE ENERGY lighting for outdoors and indoors. Third world countries have an large quantity of sunlight and a

population currently without electricity. These countries represent the fastest growing market for solar energy. The two disciplines I chose to further discuss about the need for alternative energy topic is engineering and government. These two disciplines have the most direct relation to alternative energy and if these projects have already happened or ever will. Engineering seemed like a must for this project. To create a solution or solve an issue as the interdisciplinary definition states, the thought process of engineering has to be involved. First the engineers have to design the wind mills and solar panel. They have to cover every single detail of the design including machine and how efficiently it works, but also how it will hold up against weather. Once the project is initially finished, engineering will still be needed to fix any problems that may come up. Engineering will be used to refine the project and to it to make it better. In any country the government dictates everything that will have to do with any project especially one that is as major as alternative energy. With the help of experts it will decide where the best available spot to put each alternative energy source. Who will be involved with the building, designing, and upkeep of each source. It will decide when will be the best time to start the project. The government will include how much money it will want to spend on each individual project. I feel like the government is a major discipline because it involves many other disciplines but is still its own.


What is the purpose of the research? (explain, explore, evaluate, critique, discuss, address), etc. FOR EXAMPLE: To explore all of the aspects why we need alternative energy in our world

What disciplines are POTENTIALLY relevant? Engineering Government Economics Environment

What are the perspectives of each discipline on the problem? Engineering The design of energy projects Government Will decide what, when, where, and all other aspects of different energy sources Economics The money aspect, how to spend and distribute it. Environment The contributing factors involving mother nature

What are the assumptions of each discipline? Engineering Engineers must design a quality product that will do the job and last a long time Government No decisions will be made without each individual government. Economics The money aspect, every decision will revolve or at least take in consideration money. Environment - Is part of the reason we are looking for alternative energy to protect the environment. Are there any non-disciplinary sources or interpretations? Should there be any? No

Which disciplinary perspectives speak best towards the solution, discussion, evaluation, analysis, etc. of the problem? WHY? Engineering There will be no solution without the design of the energy sources Government Bottom line it has the final say


It goes hand and hand that the two disciplines engineering and government would work together to create solutions on the creating and sustaining alternative energy sources. Where else would the engineering companies get the money to fund such a large project? The government would seek the opinions of where to set up the different energy sources to get the most efficient use out of each machine. Then they would proceed with the design and building of these energy sources. Through time and building enough alternative energy sources, we as a society can start the process of escaping the grasp that fossil fuel has on us.


References Gandhi ,Mahatma. (2008). Alternative Energy Environmental Protection Agency. Jackson, Lisa P. (1990). United States Environmental Protection Agency. Kernan, Aedan. (2009). Design Race in Wind Turbine Drive Trains. Altenergy Magazine. Leher, Jay. (2005). Solar Power: Too Good To Be True. Washington Post. Morris, David. (2007) Energy Revolution: A Blueprint for Solving Global Warming. Washington Post. West, Larry. Top 7 Renewable Energy Sources. (n.d.). Retrieved from