Traditional forms of renewable energy were human labor, animal power, water power, and wind. Other traditional sources were firewood and grain crushing windmills. Today, renewable energy is widely available from small-scale operations to massive facilities. This article discusses the benefits of renewable energy and the various sources of this source of power. In Canada, hydroelectricity is one of the leading renewable energy sources, followed by wind and solar photovoltaic power. Renewable energy sources have increased in popularity in recent years due to advances in technology.
Geothermal energy is a renewable energy source, but it is limited to certain regions. Geothermal energy requires large amounts of freshwater to produce steam. This can be difficult to use in dry climates or regions with little freshwater. Biomass, on the other hand, is composed of recently living organisms. It is used for cooking, space heating, and other uses. Biomass-fired capacity is mostly found in provinces with a large forestry industry.
The government has also created various incentives for residential use of renewable energy. The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires utilities to use at least one-eighth of renewable energy in their grids. The Renewable Fuel Standard requires utilities to use renewable fuels equivalent to 2.78 percent of their gasoline in 2006. The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 amended the Renewable Fuel Standard to increase that amount to 36 billion gallons by 2022, which is about seven percent of the annual gasoline consumption.
Wind energy accounted for six percent of the country’s electricity in 2016 and is now one of the cheapest energy sources in many parts of the country. States with high wind speeds include California, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Wind turbines can be installed offshore in open water or in the windy coast. Hydropower is another renewable source of electricity and is the largest in the United States. It uses fast-moving water in large rivers, as well as water descending from high places. This force is converted into electricity.
Another form of renewable energy is solar power. Solar energy is produced by photovoltaic cells that convert the sunlight to usable electricity. This source can be used directly, or fed to a grid. Both types of energy use less fossil fuels and produce less greenhouse gases. Furthermore, solar energy does not require grid connection. In addition to saving money, solar and wind energy can help communities and countries become more energy independent. They can provide more power than fossil fuels, and they can be a great source of power.
Renewable energy sources are the fastest-growing energy sources in the United States. From 2000 to 2010, renewable energy generation increased by nearly forty percent in the U.S.; by 2020, renewable energy will account for nearly twenty percent of U.S. utility-scale electricity. Solar and wind energy generation in the United States are the fastest-growing sources of energy, with nearly three percent of all power generated in the country being renewable. Those sources are increasingly becoming integrated into the national electricity grid without compromising reliability.
Another popular form of renewable energy is biomass, or plant-derived materials. Biomass can be used directly for heat or converted to various forms of biofuel by using thermal, chemical, or biochemical processes. As of 2012, wood constituted the largest source of biomass energy. Municipal solid waste is often used to produce biomass chips. This source of energy can be stored to be used for heating, cooking, and transport. It is important to note that biomass requires large amounts of land to grow, and some pesticides are found in these plants.
Hydroelectric power, on the other hand, uses water that moves fast. This source of energy is abundant in some countries, including California. It is also the largest renewable energy resource in the United States, though wind energy is fast catching up. Hydroelectric power is the most widely used renewable energy source in the U.S.; wind energy is fast closing the gap, and is expected to soon be overtake it. The use of renewable energy is important to protect the planet’s resources and the climate.
Biofuels can be manufactured from a variety of sources, including landfill gas, dedicated crops, trees, and agricultural waste. The most common biofuel in the U.S. is corn ethanol. Most vehicles are equipped to run on up to ten percent ethanol without modification. Specialized flexible fuel vehicles can run on 85 percent ethanol. The use of biofuels is expanding in Canada. It is also important to note that biofuels can be used to make gasoline.