How alternative energy works is not a new concept. In fact, people have been using hydro-power for over 2000 years to grind grain and power saw mills.
Hydro power is a form of alternative energy that uses running water to spin the turbines located inside a generator. How alternative energy works with water today is by using a dam to control the flow of water, depending on energy consumption needs. If more electricity is needed, workers can just open the flow of water to produce more electricity, or store up the water to use when more electricity is needed.
Most areas don’t use hydro power because their streams and rivers are too small. Bigger hydroelectric power plants can be found on the west coast in California, Washington and Oregon. They have the convenience of having big mountain rivers. These hydroelectric plants provide enough electricity to power up millions of homes.
How alternative energy works with the sun is called solar power. Solar power can be used as a heat source or a source to produce electricity. Many people use solar panels as a way to heat water for their home or to heat the air inside. When it is used to produce electricity, it needs different wiring than regular electric making it a more expensive route. But it is a possibility for producing our energy needs in the future. If you have ever used a solar powered calculator, you have used the same photovoltaic process that it takes to produce electricity from the sun.
How alternative energy works with the wind can be explained by examining a wind turbine. These big fans actually create electricity instead of using it. When the wind blows hard enough to turn the big fan blades, it will cause a turbine inside the generator to spin, producing electricity. Most wind powered turbines are placed in an area that is flat and has a normal wind speed of over 14 miles per hour. There are even wind farms that have lots of huge turbines to produce electricity. They then sell it to electric providers in the area.
Alternative energy in any form is good for our environment. Using alternative energy cuts down on the pollutants that are released into the air from burning fossil fuels. The use of alternative energy will help to keep our air and water clean for many years to come.