Alternative Energy  Resources



to encompass — to include a large number or range of things

The job encompasses a wide range of responsibilities.

undeniable truth

undeniable — true or certain; that cannot be denied

renewable energy — a renewable form of energy can be produced as quickly as it is used (возобновляемый)

most alarmingly

alarming — causing worry and fear

precipice — a very steep side of a high cliff, mountain or rock

(figurative) The country was now on the edge of a precipice(= very close to disaster).

to dwindle — to become gradually less or smaller

reserve — a supply of something that is available to be used in the future or when it is neededlarge oil and gas reserves

to spew (back) — to flow out quickly, or to make something flow out quickly, in large amounts

The factory spews out clouds of black smoke.

to handle — to deal with the situation

He handled the situation very well.

to crumble — to begin to fail or get weaker or to come to an end

a crumbling business/relationship

to benefit — to be useful to somebody or improve their life in some way

The charity supports activities that directly benefit children.

solar — using the sun’s energy

solar power/heating

to harness — to control and use the force or strength of something to produce power or to achieve something

attempts to harness the sun’s rays as a source of energy

to account for — to be part of a total number of something (составлять)

roughly = approximately

algae /ˈældʒiː/ — very simple plants, such as seaweed, that have no real leaves, stems or roots, and that grow in or near water

biofuel — fuel made from plant or animal sources and used in engines

on the upside — the positive moment is that



  • To what extent do you agree with the following statement:
Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb. If the vast majority of the world’s scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced …

Al Gore

  • Would you say that most people choose “After us the deluge” as their motto?

/ˈdeljuːdʒ ?/

  • What environmental issues are you concerned about?
  • What alternative energy sources do you know? Why do you think we don’t use them now?
  • Would you agree to lower your living standards in return for a clean environment?
  • Do you agree that everyone can and should contribute to saving the environment?


The article (abridged)

(Pay attention to the words in bold)

There are many reasons the world is looking toward alternative energy sources in an effort to reduce pollutants and greenhouse gases. Alternative, or renewable energy, sources show significant promise in helping to reduce the amount of toxins that are by-products of energy use and help preserve many of the natural resources that we currently use as sources of energy.

 renewable _energy

To understand how alternative energy use can help preserve the delicate ecological balance of the planet, and help us conserve the non-renewable energy sources like fossil fuels, it is important to know what type of alternative energy is out there. Let’s take a look at some of the most common sources available.


Wind Power

Wind energy harnesses the power of the wind to propel the blades of wind turbines. The rotation of turbine blades is converted into electrical current by means of an electrical generator. In the older windmills, wind energy was used to turn mechanical machinery to do physical work, like crushing grain or pumping water. Wind towers are usually built together on wind farms. Now, electrical currents are harnessed by large scale wind farms that are used by national electrical grids as well as small individual turbines used for providing electricity to isolated locations or individual homes. In 2005, worldwide capacity of wind-powered generators was 58,982 megawatts, their production making up less than 1 percent of world-wide electricity use.


  • Wind power produces no pollution that can contaminate the environment, Since no chemical processes take place, as in the burning of fossil fuels, there are no harmful by-products left over.
  • Since wind generation is a renewable source of energy, we will never run out of it.
  • Wind farms can be built off-shore.
  • Wind power is intermittent. Consistent wind is needed for continuous power generation. If wind speed decreases, the turbine lingers and less electricity is generated.
  • Large wind farms can have a negative effect on the scenery.


Solar Power

Solar energy is used commonly for heating, cooking, and the production of electricity. Solar power works by trapping the sun’s rays into solar cells where this sunlight is then converted into electricity. Additionally, solar power uses sunlight that hits solar thermal panels to convert sunlight to heat water or air.


  • Solar power is a renewable resource. As long as the Sun exists, its energy will reach Earth.
  • Solar power generation releases no water or air pollution, because there is no chemical reaction from the combustion of fuels.
  • Solar energy can be used very efficiently for practical uses such as heating and lighting.
  • Solar power does not produce energy if the sun is not shining. Nighttime and cloudy days seriously limit the amount of energy produced.
  • Solar power stations can be very expensive to build.


Geothermal Energy

Geothermal literally means «earth heat.» Geothermal energy harnesses the heat energy present underneath the Earth. Hot rocks under the ground heat water to produce steam. When holes are drilled in the region, the steam that shoots up is purified and is used to drive turbines, which power electric generators.


  • If done correctly, geothermal energy produces no harmful by-products.
  • Once a geothermal plant is built, it is generally self-sufficient energy wise.
  • Geothermal power plants are usually small and have little effect on the natural landscape.
  • If done incorrectly, geothermal energy can produce pollutants.
  • Improper drilling into the earth can release hazardous minerals and gases.



fossil fuels — fuel such as coal or oil, that was formed over millions of years from the remains of animals or plants

large scales — large in comparison with others of the same general class

electrical grids — an interconnected network for delivering electricity from suppliers to consumers.

to contaminate — to make something dirty or poisonous

intermittent —  stopping and starting again for short periods of time

combustion —  stopping and starting again for short periods of time

to purify — to remove bad substances from something to make it pure

hazardous — involving risk or danger, especially to somebody’s health or safety


Bizarre Sources of Alternative Energy