Thoughts on nonrenewable energy sources

Energy sources can be divided in two groups – renewable (an energy source that can be easily replenished) and nonrenewable (an energy source that we are using up and cannot be replaced).

The greatest amount of the energy we are using today comes from nonrenewable sources, such as but not exclusively, fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal).

They’re called fossil fuels because they were formed over millions and millions of years by the action of heat from the Earth’s core and pressure from rock and soil on the remains (or “fossils”) of dead plants and creatures like microscopic diatoms. (by EIA)

There are other nonrenewable sources that aren’t fossil fuels, such as uranium.

The fact that those nonrenewable sources are by definition non-renewable, means we can only use it until it ends, and that nature is not able to generate it as fast as we would hope. So the main question is, why do we use them? I would go further, why is it our main source of power generation? I could give an easy answer, like <<people are stupid and they don`t care about the environment>>. However, I don`t believe people are stupid, even though I think they are not that concerned about the environment. Let`s put our principles of saving the Earth to the side a little bit, and think about things that actually affect people <<I am not saying the environment issues aren`t important, I just don`t think this line of thought will be enough to change the way we generate power.>>

There are energy markets, and if reserves are limited, the market itself (for that particular energy source) is limited, and its demand will eventually migrate to substitute sources and markets. It is not only about the environment protection, but rather limited supply and limited yield. On the other hand, energy markets are usually concentrated markets, either a monopoly or oligopoly structure, which means the supplier will naturally earn above the economic cost. This tends to make the market less susceptible to great changes. The monopolist has acquired the right to explore that energy source, and he is not going to stop just because he thinks this source might end in the future. He is more likely to explore it until its last drop, make his lease worth-while.

Why don`t other people invest in renewable energy sources? It is at least more consistent time wise. The greatest issue is cost versus earnings. The technology is still very expensive for most of these energy sources, and will probably have a long payback and low Return of Investment. Investors tend not to be as concerned about the long term as they are with the short term, which makes this non attractive financial figures to become a deal breaker. The main goal is to make people become more future oriented rather than present oriented. That is also the main key for economic development.

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