In this paper I am going to state the energy alternatives available to a consumer as well as the different types and what energy sources are used in my area. I will explain renewable energy and non-renewable energy sources. I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the energy sources that I relay on and renewable ones and the economic and ecological impacts of them. I will state ways that I practice energy conservation in my home and at work and how to reduce our ecological impact on the environment. Energy is essential to our everyday life and comes from many different sources and in different forms (energy4me,n.d). Energy is the ability to do work. There are two different types of energy and they are; kinetic energy and potential energy. Kinetic energy is associated with moving objects and potential energy stored energy waiting to be released (Trefil & Hazen, 2011). Energy is converted at different rates and some are more efficient than others (energy4me n.d.).
I live in Minnesota and the main energy resources that are in my area are electricity and natural gas. There is a power plant that is located just south of the town in which I live that its main energy source is petroleum which produces electricity for our area and a natural gas power plant which is about 30 miles west of us and the main energy source is natural gas. The energy that I consume most at home is electricity (MINNESOTA: State Profile and Energy Estimates, n.d). We have four seasons in our state so in the summer time when the weather is hot and humid I use a lot of electricity to run my air conditioning unit and fans so that my apartment is comfortable and in the winter time I use more natural gas because I need it to run my furnace to heat my apartment. I do not pay for my electricity or my natural gas as it is included in my rent but I do have to pay an extra $100.00 to cover the added expense of my air conditioner for the months of July and August. I work in a group home that it is in a rural area and the energy that we use there is still electricity and propane to fuel the hot water heater and furnace. These resources would be non-renewable energy sources as they are not able to replenish themselves (energy4me, n.d.).
There are many things that I do on a daily basis that I use energy. I start my day out by checking my cell phone that has been plugged into the charger all night. Then I run the water in my kitchen to fill my coffee pot to make coffee. I then plug in the coffee maker to get it started. My normal routine is then to get onto my computer to either check Facebook or start on my school work. At this time I usually have the television on for background noise. And at the end of the day I turn my radio on so that I have music for while I am sleeping. All of these things require either electricity to run the devices I use and to produce the water to make my coffee.
There are many types of renewable energy but I will only be discussing solar, water, and geothermal. Solar energy is provided by the sun and is used for electricity, heat, light, and hot water and cooling. Photovoltaics (also called solar electric systems) are used to harness the energy (NREL:Solar Research, n.d.). Hydropower refers to the use of water to generate electricity. In the United States water is the most common form of renewable energy. A dam is usually built on a river to store the water (nationalatlas.gov, n.d). Geothermal power is using the natural source of heat from inside the Earth to produce heat or electricity. The most common type of a geothermal power plant in the United States is a flash steam plant. High pressure is used to pump water that is extremely