Comparing the Costs for Alternative Energy Resources

As the need for alternative forms of energy increases, the need for cost effective alternatives increases as well and cost is one of the biggest concerns that most nations have with alternative energy resources. The majority of alternatives have relatively high start-up and maintenance costs, which can make them unsuitable as a cost effective energy source.

The basic concept of alternative energy relates to its ability to be sustainable, renewable and the ability to reduce pollution. However, their cost for nations and consumers is still one of the biggest factors in finding the most sufficient renewable energy resources.

The most cost-effective alternative energy resources include hydroelectric, wind energy and geothermal energy, although there are other factors that must be taken into consideration before deciding on just one.


Hydroelectricity is the energy source by which turbines in dams and rivers turn the water by force and powers a dynamo that is used to produce electrical energy. This energy source has a low cost per Kilowatt-hours (KWH), which is about five cents. This energy source is very economical when compared with other alternatives, and for this reason, many countries are beginning to pay special attention to hydroelectric energy sources.

In addition to the cost, there are several other advantages to having a hydroelectricity energy source. First, it causes little or no pollution, which are what most nations are aiming for. Hydroelectric is also very efficient at about eighty percent, which makes it even more cost-effective. In the process of producing hydroelectric energy, there is also little in the way of heat, which contributes to the systems efficiency and cost-efficiency. In addition, the KWH output of hydroelectric systems can be adjusted to peak loads.

Wind Energy

Wind energy is a cost-effective method that uses a turbine attached to a dynamo to produce electrical energy. The energy has low initial cost and can be very inexpensive for consumers. It has the capability to be fed onto a power grid and supplied to consumers at a low KWH rate of around five cents. At this price, wind energy rivals hydroelectricity in cost-effectiveness. However, like hydroelectricity, the cost is not the only advantage. As well as being able to provide supplemental power in very windy areas, it is also regarded as the best alternative energy resource for individual homeowners or a regional consortium. As well as the rate per KWH being low, wind energy will also lead to serious reductions in utility bills.

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is derived from the heat of the Earth and is contained in underground reservoirs of steam, hot water and hot dry rocks. It is considered as one of the most cost-effective, clean and sustainable forms of alternative energy.

It works by extracting hot water or steam from geothermal reservoirs in the Earth’s crust which is then supplied to steam turbines at electric utilities to drive generators which in turn produce electricity. Geothermal energy has a low initial cost because steam is readily available, and it is a source that does not have to be created to provide power.

Hydroelectric, wind, and geothermal energy all have one thing in common in that they are alternative energy resources that all work with naturally occurring, readily available,  resources and while they may have some disadvantages, their biggest advantage is their costs.

Page Updated: March 23, 2017
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