Wind farms, especially off shore wind turbines, are a promising source of renewable energy. A wind turbine can produce a significant amount of electricity without releasing any toxins into the atmosphere. A company called Ecotricity based in the UK is committed to making “green” electricity cost effective for use in homes and offices.
Solar energy is probably the most underutilized source of energy we have—its quite ubiquitous and there are very few drawbacks except the intial cost of construction. A lesser known alternative to the solar panel is the solar parabolic trough which is used on a large scale in the southwest to convert sun energy to steam to electricity.
To make a wind turbine, you have to mine a lot of stuff, notably neodymium for the magnets in the motors. At present that is almost all mined in China, and the US imports 100% of its neodymium and other rare earths, mostly from China (there is a rare-earth mine in California that is restarting right now, Dec 2010-Jan ’11).
The point is that there are all manner of behind-the-scenes things that happen to make modern technology, including “green” technology, possible.
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