Also known as clean energy, renewable energy comes from natural processes or sources that are replenished constantly. There are many sources of renewable energy, with the most popular ones being:
Hydroelectric power is primarily associated with dams. This is where water freely flows through turbines in the dams to produce electricity referred to as pumped-storage hydropower. Another option is run-of-river hydropower, which uses a channel that funnels the water instead of powering it through a dam. Hydroelectric power is versatile and can be generated using both small and large scale projects.
- Wind Energy
Wind flow energy is normally captured by turbines that convert it into electricity. The wind is considered a type of solar energy because of the uneven cooling and heating of the atmosphere caused by the rotation of the Earth as well as other topographical factors. Windmills can be used on a smaller scale to pump water into farms. On large scale commercial grade wind-powered generating systems can be used to meet the needs of numerous organizations.
- Solar Power
Sunlight is one of the most abundant energy sources available freely. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory reports that the amount of solar energy that reaches the surface of the Earth in an hour is more than the total energy the planet needs for a year. Even though the sun seems like the ideal source of energy, the amount that humans can use varies according to the season of the year, geographical location and time of the day. Solar energy technologies are normally used to convert the sun’s light and energy into heat, hot water, illumination, electricity and cooling systems for industry and businesses.
- Biomass Energy
Biomass describes organic material derived from animals and plants that include trees, waste wood and crops. When burned, biomass releases heat in the form of chemical energy.
- Geothermal Power
Also known as power from the Earth, geothermal heat is found beneath the crust of the Earth. At times, large amounts of this heat naturally escape, resulting in occurrences like geysers or volcanic eruptions. This heat is captured and used to produce geothermal energy. It normally happens through steam that comes from the heated water pumping below the Earth’s surface, which rises to the top and is used to operate a turbine.
Oceans can produce 2 types of energy: mechanical and thermal. Thermal energy mostly relies on warm water surface temperatures that use different systems to generate it. Mechanical energy, on the other hand, used the flows and ebbs of the tides to generate energy which is created by the rotation of the Earth and the moon’s gravity.
Benefits of Renewable Energy
Now that you are aware of some of the sources of renewable energy, let’s look into its advantages:
- Renewable resources will last forever- One of the perks of green energy is the fact that it will never run out. This is because renewable energy technologies derive resources straight from the environment to produce power. These sources include wind, sunshine, biomass and tides, to name a few. This is something that cannot be said for fossil fuel resources, which over time become difficult to obtain. Their use has driven up the expenses as well as the environmental impact of extraction.
- Lower maintenance requirements- Most green energy technologies require less overall maintenance than generators that utilize traditional fuel sources. Generating technology like wind turbines or solar panels have no or few moving parts that do not need flammable, combustible fuel sources to operate. Less maintenance translates to more money and time saved.
- Multiple environmental and health benefits- Renewable energy generation sources release little to no pollutants or greenhouse gases into the air. This results in a smaller carbon footprint and a positive impact on the natural environment.
- It saves money- The use of green energy helps save money in the long-run. Money is saved on both operating and maintenance costs. When making use of technology that generates power from the wind, sun, steam or other natural processes, there is no need to pay for refuelling. Transitioning to renewable energy can translate to hundreds or thousands of dollars in savings, depending on numerous factors including, the technology in use.
We can also save our planet and make it greener by using eco-friendly products and reducing unnecessary emissions. These days many citizens of the planet start using electric cars instead of diesel and petrol ones. But in some cases, we can even reduce car emissions to a minimum: we can now shop, study or play classic slot machine games online without travelling to a shopping mall or a casino.