windenergy - Carla Paulo Wind Power Introduction In 2009...

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Carla Paulo Wind Power Introduction In 2009, the average American household used 10,896 kWh in a year. American consumption led the United States to be ranked number one in energy expenditure. Most of this energy comes from traditional non-renewable sources, such as natural gas, petroleum and coal. Energy consumption will only increase as the years go by, with increasing population and expansion of businesses. This is not only happening in the United States, but all over the world, with countries such as India and China becoming leaders in global business and power nations. According to the Global Network Energy Institute, energy demand is expected to triple as the population could reach nine billion. More people and more business mean that more energy will be needed and that needs to happen fast. Figure 1 illustrates the complete usage of energy in the United States in 2009 divided by sectors. It illustrates how much energy Americans use and where it is coming from. Figure 1: U.S. Energy Consumption in 2009. Source: Energy Information administration. Along with the trend of increasing energy consumption, an inverse relationship happens.
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Fossil fuels are decreasing in amount and although new sources are still being discovered, there is still a great concern about where energy will come from once traditional options are exhausted. Although the production of coal and natural gas still have centuries to come, studies show that fossil fuels are likely to peak and eventually decline during the this century. Estimates show that there are approximately 1,000 billion barrels of oil left in the world reserve. This may seem to be a reasonable amount but it will come to an end at an exponential rate with population and business growth. Also, as the amount of oil decreases, the price for these fuels will only rise, creating another problem for the population everywhere. However, an even greater concern is not the amount of fossil fuels left or their price, but what the burning of these fuels is doing to the environment and climate of the planet. Currently, global warming is one of the greatest challenges faced this century. Global warming is the phenomenon that occurs due to the trapping of gases that heat the planet. These gases trapped are known as greenhouse gases and include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases, i.e. the famous chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). They occur naturally and from human activity, such as farming, chemical reactions, but most importantly, the burning of fossil fuels. Once again, the fact that the global population increases at a rapid pace contributes to the aggravation of this issue. For example, emissions in the United States have increased 7.3 percent from 1990 to 2009 according to studies by the Environmental Protection Agency. In order for these increases to be stopped, immediate action needs to be taken. Scientists and engineers currently work together to solve the puzzle of providing energy
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This note was uploaded on 12/06/2011 for the course PHIL 482 taught by Professor Harris during the Fall '02 term at Texas A&M.

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windenergy - Carla Paulo Wind Power Introduction In 2009...

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