The Future of Energy

Ontario is trying to used energy more efficiently - to make energy supplies last longer and lessen the harm done to the environment by the burning of fossil fuels. Here are a few renewable energy sources that might play a bigger role in Ontario's energy future.

Water Power

A pail of water has no energy to make things happen. But if you throw the water at a pile of sand, it has the energy to wash away the sand. Today, the energy in moving water generates about one-quarter of Ontario's electricity. Hydro power doesn't pollute the air, but large hydroelectric generating stations can damage the environment by changing the natural flow of water to the sea, harming plant and animal communities along the way. Small hydro plants, which are friendlier to the environment, are being built in Ontario

Solar Energy

It was fashionable about 2000 years ago to heat homes with solar energy. House designers rediscovered it recently and today many homes in Canada face south, with big windows that let in all the winter sunshine. You might even know someone whose house or swimming pool is heated entirely by solar energy. A truly modern way of using the sun's energy can be found inside a solar-powered pocket calculate - a light-sensitive, photo-electric cell that converts sunlight directly into electricity. They couldn't do that 2000 years ago!

Wind Power

Can you imagine Holland without its familiar windmills? Wind power has been operating Dutch machinery for centuries. There's a good reason why you see plenty of windmills in Holland and practically none in Ontario. Holland is on a coastline that gets fairly constant winds. Ontario doesn't, and that's the main drawback to wind power. It's not always there when you want it. However, scientists are experimenting with new types of windmills that they hope will operate in spite of Ontario's low average wind speeds.
Sun-Fried Egg

If you want to test the power of the sun's energy, wait for a really hot day. Put an oiled cast iron frying pan on the hot sidewalk in direct sunlight. Break an egg into it and cover the pan with a sheet of glass or plastic. Enjoy your lunch!

Biomass Power

If you live in the country, chances are you use biomass energy to heat your home, although you're more likely to say, "Put another log on the fire." Yes, wood is biomass. So too are many agricultural crops. For instance, corn can be fermented to produce ethanol which can be burned as a liquid fuel. Wood, of course, is only a renewable energy source as long as cut trus are replaced immediately. Ontario's future might contain "energy plantations" full of trees that grow many times faster than normal so they can be used for fuel.
On sunny days, use free solar and wind energy to dry your clothes. Hang them outside, just as your grandparents did!
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