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Understanding renewable energy

Renewable energy has increased over the years as they serve multiple advantages over non-renewable energy resources. In fact, renewable energy is known as the cleanest way of generating electricity. They provide a ready supply of power without using natural resources and they have a lower risk of environmental problems like the non-renewable resource. Today you’ll get to know the definition, applications, types, advantages, and disadvantages of renewable energy sources.

Read more: Understanding energy sources

solar renewable energy

What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy comes from natural sources of energy that are constantly replenished. They are often associated with green energy and clean energy but these terms can be used differently depending on the type of renewable energy. renewable energy sources are those that are recyclable, clean energy is those that do not release pollutants like carbon dioxide, and green energy is those that come from natural sources. So, not all energy available in such form is fully clean or green. For instance, some hydroelectric sources can actually damage natural habitats and cause deforestation but they are referred to as renewable energy.

Well, renewable energy sources will never run out, not at least for many millions of years. Taking sun, for instance, they are a great alternative to non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels while many are also environmentally friendly and produce little or no CO2.

Applications of renewable energy

Renewable energy is increasingly taking over the non-renewable energy resource as the applications offer better benefits over others. In fact, the most advanced country has nearly reached its peak in replacing non-renewable energy with renewable ones. Research has shown that Germany uses the highest amount of renewable energy with 12.74% followed by the UK at 11.95%. Sweden uses 10.96%, Spain 10.17%, Italy 8.8%, Brazil 7.35%, Japan 5.3%, Turkey 5.25%, Australia 4.75%, and USA 4.32%. As technology advances in this area, it is certain that countries are going to look more into investing in this natural source of energy.

The applications of renewable energy have the potential to provide a ready supply of power without using natural resources. This alone reduces the risk of importing fuels and lowers the risk of environmental problems such as fuel spills and minimal issues with emissions.

Even though renewable energy is seen as yet to advance technology, harnessing nature’s power has been used for heating, transportation, lighting, etc. for a long. The sunlight and wind keep shining and blowing, even if they depend on time and weather. The wind has powered boats to sail the seas and windmill to grind grain and pump water. Wind energy is also used for generating electricity, a clean way for that matter. Thinking of another clean way on how we use renewable energy, solar energy is common. I think, solar energy is mostly used and popular around the world, as it uses free natural source from the sun.

Also, geothermal energy is also one of the common ways human energy needs are met. The energy is used to keep our homes warm and cool depending on the weather condition. It is also used to generating electric power.

Above all, the applications of all types of renewable energy sources are to generate electricity, transportation, heating, etc.

Types of renewable energy resources

The types of renewable energy are solar energy, wind energy, hydro energy, tidal energy, geothermal energy, and biomass energy.

Solar energy:

Sunlight is one of the freely available energy resources on our planet. Solar energy has been in use by humans for thousands of years to grow crops, stay warm, dry food, etc. Research has shown that the energy from the sun to earth in one hour is more than the total energy requirement for a whole year. The sun energy is used today to heat homes and our business places, to warm water, and to power devices.

A solar or photovoltaic (PV) cell is made from silicon or other materials that are capable of transforming the sunlight directly into electricity. They can be commercial mounted on rooftops or as community projects that power an entire neighborhood. Solar farms or plants can power thousands of homes.

These types renewable energy is known to be clean as they don’t produce air pollutant and greenhouse gases. However, the amount of solar energy can vary according to the time and location of the solar panel.

Wind energy:

These types of renewable energy have been using for decades from the time of windmills. Today, turbines are used to harness electricity from wind. it is used to drive generators that feed electricity into the national grid.

Hydro energy:

In hydro energy, a dam or barrier is used as a large reservoir to create a controlled flow of water that will drive a turbine. The turbine is what generates electricity. This renewable energy source can often be more reliable than solar or wind power (especially if it’s tidal rather than river). The system allows electricity to be stored for use when demand reaches a peak. Like wind types, hydro energy can be more viable as a commercial energy source in certain situations.

Tidal energy:

Tidal energy is a type of hydro energy that uses twice-daily tidal currents to drive a turbine generator. Its flow is not constant like some other hydro energy it is highly predictable and can therefore compensate for the periods when the tide current is low.

Geothermal energy:

Geothermal energy is the natural heat below the earth’s surface, it is used to heat and cool homes directly. It can also be used to generate electricity using a hot spring. The earth’s core is hot at different levels due to the slow decay of radioactive particles in rocks at the center of the planet. The hot is brought to the earth’s surface through a drilled deep well surface as a hydrothermal resource. It is then pumped through a turbine to create electricity.

Biomass energy:

Biomass energy is the conversion of solid fuel made from plant materials into electricity. The system involves the burning of organic materials to produce electricity. It is a cleaner and even more energy-efficient process nowadays. Converting agricultural, industrial and domestic waste into solid, liquid, and gas fuel. Biomass energy generates power at a much lower economic and environmental cost.

Watch the video below to learn more on renewable energy:

Advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy resources

Advantages:

Below are the benefits of renewable energy in its various applications.

  • It is a freely available source of energy generation.
  • Offers greater energy access in developing nations.
  • Increase employment and job creation as demand for renewable energy is increasing every day.
  • Most renewable energy is green and clean energy.
  • They are sustainable, stable, and reliable.
  • No fuel is required
  • Their power output can be easily predicted.
  • They are environmentally friendly.
  • They can last decades.

Disadvantages:

Despite the good advantages of renewable energy resources, some limitations still occur. Below are the disadvantages of renewable energy in its various applications.

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  • Some renewable energy like wind energy and solar energy depends on whether it is not stable.
  • Required large energy storage solutions to ensure there is enough power.
  • The high production cost of power plants and the entire system.
  • Hydropower and biomass have environmental impacts.
  • They are location restricted.

Conclusion

Renewable energy sources are those that are recyclable, clean energy is those that do not release pollutants like carbon dioxide, and green energy is those that come from natural sources. That is all for this post where the definition, applications, types, advantages, and disadvantages of renewable energy resources were discussed.

I hope you get a lot from the reading, if so, kindly share with other students. Thanks for reading, see you next time!

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