Develop the follow points:
- What are the present most utilized sources of energy? (Fossil fuels)
- A little background on fossil fuels as an energy source.
- What are the drawbacks of fossil fuels and why the need for alternative sources?
- What is green (clean) energy?
- What alternative energy sources are most suited to the Caribbean?
- What percentage of the Caribbean Island Nations border an ocean?
- Why the sun’s energy is abundant in the Caribbean and should harnessed.
- Major and minor waterfalls in the Caribbean that can be harnessed to produce clean energy.
- What is the average cost of solar panels and wind turbines and how much energy can each supply.
Not so long ago, oil was black gold. Petroleum-derived fuels powered automobiles, homes and industries in leading countries around the world and gave rise to the industrial revolution.
Machines made work easier, time more productive and life more luxurious. Where oil was discovered, these countries became rich overnight. A good example is Kuwait, which is still one of the richest countries in the world. Oil giants rushed to extract and market oil from reserves in various countries, creating millionaires overnight.
Today, about 90% of vehicular fuel needs are met by oil. Petroleum also makes up 40% of total energy consumption in the United States, but is responsible for only 2% of electricity generation. Petroleum’s worth as a portable, dense energy source powering the vast majority of vehicles and as the base of many industrial chemicals makes it one of the world’s most important commodities.
But then came the counterblast – the damaging effects of CO2 emmisions on the environment and human health. The combustion of fossil fuel releases carbon dioxide and carbon mononoxide – two potentially hazardous gas – both to humans and the environment – both directly and indirectly.
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas which is also a known carcinogenic – that is – it has been found to cause cancer. Carbon dioxide damages the atmosphere’s protective layer – the ozone layer – the layer which filters out harmful Ultra Violet rays from the sun – rays that are harmful to humans and also cause cancer. With a weakened or broken ozonosphere, we not only suffer from the dangers of Ultra Violet rays, but the Green House Effect as well. What is the green house effect? Greenhouse effect simply means the warming of the earth through the use of greenhouse gases: water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and some artificial chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The problem is that the burning of fossil fuels increases the concentration of greenhouse gases to a dangerously high level, leading to the earth being warmed to a much greater degree. This results in heat waves, storms, hurricanes, tornadoes and melting ice caps – which in turn capsizes and lead to tsunamis and other floods.
Further, fossil fuel is a ‘non-renewable’ source of energy and will ultimately be depleted. What will happen then? The case has been laid clear for the use of “alternative forms of energies,” and leaders and scientists around the world are scrambling to convert all their power stations to alternative energies. Scientists around the world are working around the clock to produce the most efficient electric cars.
But should the Caribbean be left behind? With over 99% of Caribbean countries or Island nations bordering an ocean, it is time to put wind energy to its fullest potentials. Wind farms can be set up along beaches and other windy areas to power grids that supply the entire nation with clean, green energy. Considering that the Caribbean has just two seasons: dry and wet, it benefits from an abundance of sunshine. The power of the sun’s rays can now be harnessed to power homes. With the aid of deep cycle batteries and an inverter, just six solar panels can power the average home in the Caribbean.
One hundred wind turbines can power an entire city the size of Georgetown, Guyana. The Kaieteur water falls alone has enough potential hydro power – if properly harnessed, to power the entire Caribbean. The Caribbean is a sanctuary for alternative energy production. So what are we waiting for? It’s time to go green and save the planet, our lives and homes.