What Is Renewable Energy?

Renewable energy is energy produced from sources other than fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are produced naturally, but these processes are not fast enough to replenish the supply as humans use them. That means that sooner or later we will run out of fossil fuels. If we want to avoid the inevitable, we should start using renewable energy sources. In Canada, for example, bioenergy is the second most important renewable energy source. Wood has historically been important for cooking and space heating. In the residential sector, wood energy accounts for approximately seven per cent of all residential energy use.

Wind energy accounts for around six percent of U.S. electricity generation and has become the cheapest energy source in many areas. Wind turbines can be located anywhere with high wind speeds, including offshore. Hydropower, the largest renewable energy source in the United States, uses fast-moving water flowing through large rivers. Hydroelectric power is a form of hydropower that uses water that quickly descends from a high point to produce electricity. However, some people are concerned that wind turbines will harm wildlife.

Hydropower has many advantages and disadvantages. While it is very efficient in generating electricity, it is not perfect. It is a great source of electricity and can create jobs. In addition, it is sustainable and can replenish faster than human population growth. The downside is that it requires significant land space, which is necessary to generate renewable energy. A good renewable energy resource can also help generate jobs. The resources are also infinite and replenish themselves at a faster rate than their use.

The government is encouraging renewable energy development by creating policies that encourage the use of clean energy. In 2017, more than 121 U.S. states passed renewable energy policies and 176 cities made commitments to go beyond their targets. Some municipalities and public utilities have started planning residential energy upgrades. State and local governments have also created green banks to leverage public capital to spur private investment in clean energy technologies. These green banks use a variety of financial tools to bridge the gap between public and private capital.

Governments and international organizations have a role to play in promoting clean energy. Several studies have been published and support the development of renewable energy resources. HM Treasury published the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, which contains 575 pages. The International Council for Science published Discussion Paper of the Scientific and Technological Community for the 14th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. The International Energy Agency published the World Energy Outlook 2006 and its Summary and Conclusions, and the International Energy Agency published Renewables in Global Electricity Supply, Deploying Renewables

By 2020, renewable energy will make up nearly 20 percent of U.S. electricity generation, mostly from wind and solar. Non-hydro renewables such as biomass and biofuels will account for about 12 percent of all U.S. electricity production by 2020. In the meantime, electricity demand will remain relatively stable. Renewable energy is also expanding in the transportation sector. It is predicted that renewable energy will make up 35 percent of the world’s energy supply by 2030.

Solar energy is reshaping the global energy industry. In 2017, solar power accounted for more than one percent of the world’s total installed capacity. In the United States, concentrating solar power plants use mirrors to concentrate the heat of the sun and derive thermal energy. The solar transformation is well underway in China, Japan, and the U.S. Currently, focusing solar power plants represent one percent of total electricity generation. Solar thermal energy is also used to heat water and cool the air.

Renewable energy is an increasingly important player in the European energy market. The EU recently set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by twenty percent by 2020 and to make 10% of the electricity it uses come from renewable sources by 2050. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy can help consumers cut their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint. Many renewable energy suppliers offer green tariffs, which help reduce their use of fossil fuels. This can be a significant cost-saving measure in the long run.

Lucille Walker

Learn More →