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Fossil fuels refer to natural substances formed deep within the earth from the remains of ancient animals and plants. They are actually hydrocarbons, primarily fuel oil, coal and/or natural gas. Fossil fuels are also known as mineral fuels. On burning these fuels, the energy released can be harnessed for purposes of producing electricity, powering vehicles, heating homes and cooking among other uses. Oil and natural gas are formed from organic remains of marine organisms which get buried in the floor of the sea. On the other hand, coal is formed from non-marine elements, and more especially land vegetation remains (Schreiber, 2007). In this century, there has been increasing importance in the development of fossil fuels. Moreover, various forms of fossil fuels are being used in numerous applications including transport, home appliances, and home lighting. Also, it is worth noting that besides being transported with ease, fossil fuels are relatively inexpensive, and their combustion process is straightforward. Fossil fuels have facilitates industrial revolution.
However, this source of energy is characterized by a number of problems. Firstly, its amount is limited, and there is a likelihood that at some points will run out. This means that in the near future, fossil fuel will not be in a position of meeting the increasing demand for energy for the increasing population (Ridell et al., n.d.). Additionally, it is widely known that fossil fuels significantly damage the environment. This environmental damage is realized in the process of getting the fuels from the ground as well as when the same is burnt as a fuel source, where greenhouse gases are released. This poses risk to climate due to the resultant global warming (CEC, 1994).
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Owing to the environmental problems associated with fossil fuels, there is a need to look for alternative sources of energy. This move should target to measurably reduce the emissions. Moreover, since fossil fuels are limited, alternative sources of energy are desirable. The remedy to these fossil fuel-related problems is to embrace renewable sources of energy for purposes of supplying energy. Converting earth’s heat, sunlight, nuclear power and wind into energy could prove to be the ultimate solution to these problems (Mueller, 2006). Moreover, the modern technological advances have facilitated the combination of heat and power to provide power in a more efficient manner than is the case with fossil fuels. Since these technologies have proven to be cleaner, they have ensured reduction in carbon emissions. Ultimate cost is another factor which has led to the adoption of the modern technology in energy production. Though the initial cost of adopting alternative energy sources might be high, it is little compared to the costs that can be incurred in the event of dramatic climatic changes and/or international economic crisis (NRC, 2003).
As a result of the local scarcity of fossil fuel reserves, Japan has embarked on the deployment of renewable energy of the last few decades. In 2003, the Japanese government did enact legislation grounded on the renewable portfolio standards scheme. This legislation directed retailers in electricity to supply a specific amount of electricity from renewable sources to consumers. The country’s principal source of energy has been thermal power. However, the country opted for a change in its energy policies following the massive earthquake and tsunami of March 11th that struck the north eastern region (NCF, 2012). This change was also caused by the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Nuclear power is presently the second source of energy for this country. Since 1970, electricity had been the primary source of energy, and this was generated by the various thermal power plants which utilized such energy sources as liquefied natural gas, coal and petroleum. Later on, Japan shifted to relying more on nuclear power as a response to the fuel costs which were soaring. However, this took another direction following the aforementioned nuclear disaster. Presently, there is a growing awareness in the country on the significance to conserve energy. Both consumers and businesses are quantifiably cutting down the use of various electrical appliances. Moreover, the populace has shown an inclination to solar energy and wind power among other new forms of energy sources (Shadbolt, 2011). Japan has suitably embraced the spirit of renewable energy.
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