Renewable Energy

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Alex Bingham
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Renewable Energy

What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is generated from natural sources such as the sun, wind, water, and geothermal heat. This type of energy is considered renewable because it can be replenished with minimal environmental impact. Renewable energy is a clean and sustainable form of energy that generates electricity and heat.

What are the types of renewable energy?

1. Solar Energy 

2. Wind Energy 

3. Hydroelectric Energy 

4. Geothermal Energy 

5. Biomass Energy 

6. Ocean Energy 

7. Hydrogen Energy

8. Tidal energy

How does renewable energy work?

Some renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, use technology to capture and convert energy into electricity. Other sources, such as hydropower and geothermal, rely on natural processes to generate electricity.

What are the 5 main types of renewable energy?

Solar energy 

Solar energy is the number one source of renewable energy. Sunlight is converted into energy through various methods, including photovoltaics, solar heating, and concentrated solar power. Photovoltaics (PV) technology, converts sunlight directly into electricity. Solar heating uses the sun’s radiation to heat water or air. Concentrated solar power uses mirrors to focus the sun’s energy and generate electricity. It is a clean, cost-effective, and reliable energy source that can help reduce our dependence on and use of fossil fuels.

Sourced: https://www.roperroofingandsolar.com/solar-panel-installations/what-are-the-easiest-methods-to-increase-solar-panel-absorption/

Wind energy

Wind energy works by capturing the wind's kinetic energy using wind turbines. Wind turbines are large spinning blades that are connected to a shaft and generator. As the blades spin, they turn the shaft and generate electricity. The electricity is then sent to a power grid to be used by homes, businesses, and other applications.

Sourced: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jondaar/7851934266

Hydropower 

Hydropower is the use of flowing water to generate electricity, known as hydroelectricity. It is one of the oldest forms of renewable energy and is still one of the most common forms used today. Hydropower is often generated using dams, which create a reservoir of water. The water is released through turbines to generate electricity. 

Free photo: dam, river, water, landscape, power, hydroelectric, green |  Hippopx
Sourced: https://www.hippopx.com/en/dam-river-water-landscape-power-hydroelectric-green-126735

Geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is power generated by harnessing the Earth’s internal heat, which is created by the slow decay of radioactive particles in the Earth’s core. The heat is collected by drilling wells deep into the Earth’s crust and circulating water through them. The hot water or steam is then used to power turbines or other electricity generators.

Sourced: https://www.hippopx.com/en/iceland-power-plant-geothermal-energy-geothermal-geo-thermal-power-plant-energy-generation-regenerative-43076

Biomass energy

Biomass energy is derived from organic matter, such as plants and animals. Biomass can be burned directly to produce heat or converted into a gas, such as methane, and burned to generate electricity. It can also be converted into liquid fuel, such as ethanol or biodiesel, and used to power vehicles. Additionally, biomass can be used to produce biochemicals and biofuels.

What are the benefits of renewable energy?

Environmentally friendly: Renewable energy is environmentally effective because it reduces: greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, water pollution, and the need for the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, which can have detrimental effects on the environment. Renewable energy sources also provide a clean, reliable, and renewable form of energy with much lower emissions than other sources.  They are primary tools that can help us reduce climate change and restore natural habitats and ecosystems.

Cost-effective: Renewable energy is becoming increasingly cost-effective, with the cost of solar and wind energy falling significantly in recent years. The cost of energy from renewables is now generally competitive with traditional sources of energy, and in some cases, it is even cheaper. The cost is expected to continue to decrease in the future.

Sustainable: Renewable energy is sustainable because it is produced from natural resources that are constantly replenished and are not depleted when used. Renewable energy systems can be set up so they require little to no maintenance and don’t generate harmful by-products. Renewable energy ensures that our energy needs are met both now and in the future.

Creates jobs: The renewable energy industry is multiplying, creating an abundance of jobs worldwide and boosting the economy. Renewable energy creates jobs in the areas of engineering, research, manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and operation. As well as in the areas of marketing, sales, finance, and customer service.

Energy security: Renewables are spread out geographically, so if one area experiences an energy shortage, other regions can supply the energy.

What is non-renewable energy?

Non-renewable energy sources are finite, meaning they will eventually be depleted. As a result, the cost of non-renewable energy sources is expected to increase over time. Additionally, burning fossil fuels for energy also releases pollutants into the environment and contributes to global climate change. Non-renewable energy sources include:

Coal

Coal is a fossil fuel formed over millions of years by decomposing organic matter. It is a black, combustible sedimentary rock composed primarily of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. When burned, it releases energy in the form of heat and light. 

Image tag: smoke stack, image quantity: 55 | tag | Hippopx
Sourced: https://www.hippopx.com/en/query?q=smoke%20stack

Oil

Oil is a fossil fuel formed from the remains of ancient organisms. It is a viscous liquid composed of hydrocarbons, oxygen, nitrogen, and other compounds. It releases energy when burned. 

The WilPhoenix Offshore Oil Rig | The WilPhoenix sits in Cro… | Flickr
Sourced: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mustangjoe/43258021631

Natural gas

Natural gas is a fossil fuel formed from the remains of ancient organisms. It is a colourless, odourless gas composed primarily of methane, ethane, and propane. When burned, it releases energy.

Uranium

Uranium is a naturally occurring radioactive element. It is a metal mined in several countries, including Canada and the United States. When uranium is placed in a nuclear reactor, it releases energy from heat and light. 

Uranium Exploration: A Guide for the Uninitiated - Target
Sourced: https://www.seequent.com/uranium-exploration-a-guide-for-the-uninitiated/

Nuclear power

Nuclear power is the use of nuclear fission to generate electricity. It is the process of splitting atoms of uranium or other radioactive materials to produce heat to generate steam, which then drives a turbine to produce electricity.

File:Cofrentes nuclear power plant cooling towers.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Sourced: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cofrentes_nuclear_power_plant_cooling_towers.jpg

Renewable energy costs

Renewable energy costs have decreased in recent years due to technological advancements and policy support. The cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems has declined by more than 70% since 2010. Wind energy costs have also dropped significantly, and the price of onshore wind is now competitive with other forms of electricity generation. In addition, the cost of battery storage for renewable energy is also declining, which could help make renewable energy more competitive and cost-effective than non-renewable energy. 

Is renewable energy reliable?

Renewable energy is generally reliable, but its availability depends on the specific renewable energy type and region. Wind and solar energy, for example, are intermittent energy sources and are, therefore, less reliable than other renewable sources such as hydropower and geothermal energy. In order to ensure reliable energy from renewable sources, it is important to have a mix of different energy sources that can balance out periods of low production.

Challenges of renewable energy

Initial Cost: Renewable energy technologies are generally more expensive to install than traditional energy sources, such as coal and natural gas. However, they are cheaper to maintain, making them more sustainable. 

Intermittent Supply: Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, are irregular, meaning that the energy source is not always available. This makes it challenging to plan for energy supply. But as the sector continues to develop and thrive, this is less of a problem as energy can be derived from another renewable energy farm. 

Land Use: Renewable energy technologies require large areas of land to be effective, which can lead to conflicts with other land uses.

In summary

Renewable energy is the future of our planet. It is a clean, reliable, and sustainable source of energy that can help us reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and make our world a cleaner place to live. We need to switch to renewable energy sources to ensure a healthy future for our planet. With technological advancements, renewable energy sources are becoming more accessible and efficient. It is up to us to switch to renewable energy sources and ensure that our world is capable of sustaining itself in the future.

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