Finding out the cheapest source of energy today is very tough because we have to choose from renewable and non-renewable sources. At some points when the source of energy is available at cheap price then installation or operating charges create trouble and when operating charges are not much then cost of the source becomes an issue. Therefore we have to consider both the facts before deciding about cheapest source of energy found today.
- Coal: we all think that renewable sources are cheapest but we are wrong at this point. The cheapest wind power turbine you can find that could possibly generate even a fraction of your home’s electricity costs over $3,500, while for a solar plane you have to spend more than $10,000. But in comparison to these sources coal is still the cheapest all around the world. Only drawback associated with this source is emission of carbon which is responsible for creating global warming. Different types of coal are used today for purpose of generating energy like Peat, Lignite, Sun-Bituminous, Bituminous and Anthracite. By burning 80 pounds of coal we can generate energy equal to seven gallons of gasoline. This shows that how cheap coal is to use even today.
- Wind Power: the next cheapest source of energy is wind power however, which does not release harmful carbon gases in the air. The only cost that you have to bear to generate energy through this source is installation cost of the system. Wind is provided by nature therefore you do not need to pay a single penny for using it. System which can convert wind into any kind of energy includes wind turbines and wind mills. For this purpose wind farms are developed with hundreds of wind turbines on it which are connected with electrical power transmission network. Offshore and onshore are two types of wind farms used according to need and atmosphere.
- Solar power: when we talk about most recognized renewable sources of energy the only name that comes to our mind is solar power. Like wind power solar power is also natural source and does not bear any charges for using it, the only associated with generation of energy is installation cost of solar systems. Under this one of the cheapest source, energy from sun is captured on small cells made by silicon or other popular materials. This material is attached with a panel which converts the heat of sun in electricity or any other form. Although solar panels cost little higher, but increasing coal and oil prices are making these panels highly efficient and cost effective for future.
- Natural gas power: another non-renewable natural source of energy is gas which is still available at cheap rates around the world and has much lower construction cost. But in comparison to coal its operating cost is higher and today it is serving more than 23% of total energy needs of this world. Although natural gas is also responsible for populating the environment but this ratio is small as compared to coal. This cleanest-burning conventional fuel, producing lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions than heavier hydrocarbon fuels.
Pros and cons of using these energy sources:
- Coal is one of the world’s most plentiful non-renewable energy sources but at the same time burning coal is major reason of air pollution today.
- Wind power is clean source of energy and its capital cost if decreasing day by day, at the same time this wind is inconsistent, unsteady and unpredictable.
- Solar energy is sustainable and environment friendly source of energy but using it with manufacturing plants can release greenhouse gas which is bad for environment.
- Natural gas to wildly use for power generation and burns quite efficiently but this non-renewable fuel contains methane which makes it explosive and dangerous to use.