How Will the Various Forms of “Green Energy” – Wind, Solar, Geo-thermal, and Wave – Affect the Earth as Each is Scaled Upwards?

I am no expert on energy; this is my first post or paper on it.  And, as a result it is a short one, really one that asks a question I am surprised I have not seen asked or answered in print before.

Each of these four forms have one thing in common: they tap a source of energy that is part of the earth’s natural system.  Because we all know that energy is never destroyed, it is only degraded and therefore less concentrated and usable.  That is bad.  Even though ‘harvesting’ each concentrates it a bit, when it is used it is degraded again, perhaps adding heat to the earth’s surface.

Right now, we all think of how each of these “renewable” forms of energy avoid generating greenhouse gases, but they also reduce the energy floating around on the earth, possibly reducing the earth’s temperature.  This would be a silver-lining secondary effect that I have never seen discussed with the general public.

1. Wind energy consists of sticking wind rotors into the air, with the effect of reducing wind speeds.

2. Solar energy means intercepting solar rays on their way to the earth’s surface, reducing its temperature.

3. Geo-thermal energy siphons off the heat trapped below the earth’s crust by circulating water deep into the ground, a kind of earth ‘radiator.’

4. Wave energy reduces the surface movements of the larger bodies of water.  (Tidal energy is a form of hydroelectricity, which I suspect is not a growth industry, at least in the fresh-water ecology).

And there may be other forms of energy we will yet ‘invent’ that will also tap another form of natural energy that is just ‘out there’ in a low-density format that can be ‘concentrated’ through a system of ‘harvesting’ it.

Right now, the amount of such energy being ‘harvested’ is so small its impacts on our thermal ecology is probably not able to be measured, but in scaling each process upwards to replace the planet’s prodigious appetite for energy, it probably will.

So, what is the answer?


2 Responses to “How Will the Various Forms of “Green Energy” – Wind, Solar, Geo-thermal, and Wave – Affect the Earth as Each is Scaled Upwards?”

  1. davidwilson696186126 Says:

    In the case of geothermal, I would think that the effect would be so small as to be negligible. For deep geothermal, fracking types of effects might be more of a concern. For shallow geothermal (geo-exchange or GSHPs) local effects might cause enough conflict that heat becomes entangled in mineral and/or water rights under your land. But, with the current uptake, that’s a long way off.

  2. Chris Bradshaw Says:

    I agree, but wanted to challenge the idea that energy that is not tapped will somehow be wasted. Even though a good part of the energy the Earth ‘imports’ from the Sun is reflected back into space or is dissipated through heat loss from the Earth’s surface, the energy inside the Earth will last for a long time. There should be a ‘policy’ that protects it as a kind of ‘savings bank’ for the time when we are more desperate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: