Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Type of Electricity Production

We must produce electricity since the modern world could not function woithout it. Without electricity there would be much reduced industry, transport, entertainment and food. All the labour saving devices would be useless and much work would have to be done by hand. There are many ways of producing electricity, but none of them are free of disadvantage. Each of them is also useful in a certain niche. The table below lists some advantages and disadvantages of the main methods.

Method

Advantages

Disadvantages

Coal

The cheapest method of making electricity. Enough coal to last for hundreds of years.

Produces pollution, including acid rain which destroys forests and kills all life in some lakes.

Oil

Oil is easily transportable by pipline over large distances.

Produces pollution.

Oil may start to run out very soon. It has many uses in the chemical industres and transport and these uses may not be able to find substitutes.

Dominant suppliers are from unstable parts of the world.

Gas

Usually a clean fuel. Easily transportable.

May also start to run out soon. Dominant suppliers are from unstable parts of the world.

Wood

Renewable – want more fuel? Grow more wood! Forests can serve as wildlife reserves.

Will take large areas of land that could be used for other purposes. Wood takes a long time to harvest – typically decades.

Solar

Renewable.

Often not sunniest where the power is required. More expensive than electricity made from burning coal. Large areas of land must be used for the solar cells. Only produced when the Sun shines.

Tidal

Very large amounts of energy can be used, One tidal barrage can supply as much as several power stations.

Destruction of habitat. Difficult to store the energy produced during the tidal surges twice a day. Very expensive method of energy production.

Geothermal

Completely natural. Can also supply large amounts of heating water for homes.

Possible pollution of groundwater.

Wave

Renewable.

Possibly the most expensive form of these types.

Wind

Renewable.

Only produced when the wind blows. People don't want wind farms nearby. Electricity is expensive to produce.