The most common sources of renewable energy include wind, solar, and water. Geothermal heat and tides are also sources of renewable energy. These sources are both clean and sustainable. But how do you harness renewable energy? In this article, we’ll cover the basics of how renewable energy works and how it can benefit your community. To start, let’s look at the basic definition of renewable energy. What exactly is it? What is its purpose?
Hydropower is the largest renewable energy source in the electricity sector, and it relies on stable rainfall patterns. However, climate-induced droughts and ecosystem changes can impact hydropower. Additionally, the infrastructure necessary for hydropower production can cause damage to ecosystems. Hydropower is environmentally friendly, but there are drawbacks to this source. For instance, it doesn’t produce any energy from sunlight or heat and is not as flexible as wind and solar power.
The federal government is also encouraging renewable energy development, with several incentives for businesses with sustainability goals. Often, these businesses will build or buy renewable energy facilities and procure the renewable electricity through power purchase agreements or renewable energy certificates. Costs of solar and wind renewable energy technologies have fallen significantly over the past decade. Between 2010 and 2017, the cost of utility-scale solar photovoltaics fell by 82 percent. By 2022, the goal was set at 36 billion gallons, which is equivalent to seven percent of annual gasoline consumption.
Traditional sources of renewable energy include human labor, animal power, water power, wind, and geothermal. In the United States, hydropower was the most commonly used renewable energy resource. In Scotland, geothermal and solar power are also valuable resources. But depending on the climate, solar and hydroelectric power may be the best choice. And a combination of different sources of renewable energy is the most effective solution. There is no single source of renewable energy that can completely replace fossil fuels.
Geothermal energy is a form of renewable energy that is used intermittently. It uses the heat from deep within the Earth to power electrical generators. While solar and wind energy require the sun, geothermal energy uses the heat from beneath the Earth’s surface. In this method, the Earth releases carbon dioxide that is trapped deep underground. This heat can be used to produce electricity and heat. The potential is immense, and the technologies available for geothermal power generation are improving every day.
While ocean energy systems are still in their early stages, the vast amount of energy that they can produce is far greater than current human needs. Bioenergy is another renewable energy source. This source is produced from various organic materials, known as biomass. Biomass fuels are commonly used for cooking, lighting, and space heating. Modern biomass systems include dedicated crops, agricultural residues, and various organic waste streams. So, even if it is not possible to produce ethanol from biomass, the technology can be used in many other ways.
The goal of renewable energy is to become the primary source of electricity globally. By 2020, renewable energy will comprise 29 percent of global electricity production, led by solar and wind power. This growth will increase by a factor of 22 over the past decade. As renewable energy grows, governments and businesses need to develop more policies and financial support to further the use of renewable energy. With the help of renewables, we can achieve net zero climate goals while helping the environment at the same time.
Hydroelectric power plants do not operate for a long time. Many hydroelectric plants only last 20 or 30 years before silt builds up behind the dams, reducing the amount of water that can flow through them. To overcome this, scientists are developing new ways to harness the power of wind, water, and waves. Tidal energy, for example, uses the movement of the tides to produce electricity. In contrast, run-of-river hydropower uses a channel to funnel water through turbines and pumps it into a reservoir.
As a result, renewable energy sources are becoming the fastest-growing energy source in the United States. Between 2000 and 2010, solar energy and wind power increased by 42 percent and 90 percent, respectively. In the United States, wind and solar power combined will account for over a quarter of total utility-scale electricity generation in 2020. In total, solar energy and biofuels will account for almost one-third of U.S. electricity production in 2020.