Renewable energy comes from natural resources, which we can replenish at a faster rate than the time at which we use them. For instance, the sun and wind are two sources we can constantly source from the natural world. Renewable energy resources are abundant everywhere in our surroundings.
On the other hand, fossil fuels like gas, oil, and coal are not renewable energy resources that require hundreds of thousands of years to create. When we burn them to generate electricity, these fossil fuels produce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide.
Renewable energy production produces far fewer carbon emissions when compared with the burning of fossil fuels. The transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources due to the massive carbon emissions is the first step in addressing climate change.
Renewable energy is less expensive in the majority of countries. It creates three times the amount of jobs as fossil fuels.
Here are some of the most well-known renewable sources of energy:
- SOLAR ENERGY
Solar energy is among the most abundant energy sources. We can utilize it even in cloudy weather. According to an estimate, the rate at which Earth absorbs solar power is around 10,000 times higher than at which humans consume energy.
Solar technologies can provide:
- Energy for cooling.
- Heat light from the sun.
- Electric power.
- Even fuels for various applications.
Solar technology converts sunlight into electricity via photovoltaic panels or mirrors that focus sunlight.
- WIND ENERGY
It harnesses the kinetic energy of air movement by using massive wind turbines on the land (onshore) and in the sea and freshwater (offshore).
Offshore and onshore technology for wind energy has evolved over the past few years to boost power generation. It uses higher-pitched turbines and larger-diameter rotors.
High wind speeds characterize many suitable places in the world. However, the best sites for wind power generation are often remote locations. Offshore wind power has enormous potential.
- GEOTHERMAL ENERGY
Geothermal energy is a way to harness the available thermal energy sourced from Earth’s interior. We extract geothermal heat from reservoirs by drilling wells or using other methods.
Hot and permeable reservoirs with a natural temperature are best to refer as hydrothermal reservoirs. Enhanced geothermal systems include reservoirs that are sufficiently hot but enhanced with hydraulic stimulation.
When it reaches the surface, the fluid at various temperatures can produce electricity. The technology used to generate electricity from hydrothermal reservoirs has proven mature and reliable.
Hydropower uses the power of water that moves from higher elevations into lower levels. Reservoirs or rivers generate it.
- Hydropower plants in reservoirs rely on the stored water of reservoirs.
- In contrast, run-of-river hydropower plants extract energy from the river’s flow.
Hydropower reservoirs often serve multiple purposes:
- Drinking water
- Water flooding
- Drought control
- Energy supply
Hydropower is currently the electricity sector’s biggest energy source from renewable energy resources. The stability of rainfall patterns is the primary basis of hydropower generation. Climate, like droughts or ecosystem changes that alter rainfall patterns, negatively affect hydropower generation.
The infrastructure that is required to produce hydropower may also affect ecosystems negatively. For this reason, many consider small-scale hydro a more environmentally-friendly option and especially suitable for communities in remote locations.
- OCEAN ENERGY
Ocean energy comes from developing technologies that use seawater’s kinetic and thermal energy, such as currents or waves, to generate heat or electricity.
Ocean energy sources are in the early stages of development, and several prototype devices for tidal and wave currents are being studied. The theoretical possibilities for ocean energy far exceed the present human energy needs.
Bio-energy is derived from various organic substances, also known as biomass, including:
- Other manures
These energy sources help power and heat production, and the crops make liquid biofuels. Most biomass is getting used in rural regions to cook, light, and for space heating, typically by the poorer people in developing nations.
Modern biomass systems consist of:
- Dedicated trees
- Plant leftovers from forestry and agriculture
- Diverse bio-degradable wastes
The energy produced through biomass burning produces greenhouse gas emissions lower than burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal, or gas.
We can utilize bio-energy for limited purposes. It is due to the potentially harmful environmental effects that could result from:
- Huge-scale growth in forest and bio-energy plantations
- The subsequent deforestation
- Changes in land use
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