When you hear someone talk about “renewable energy,” you might assume that they’re talking about types of energy that we use here on earth. However, this is not necessarily true. In fact, there are many forms of renewable energy that we use every day. We’ll look at some of them now.
One form of renewable energy is hydroelectric power. In fact, most of the electricity in the United States is generated by hydroelectric power plants. Hydroelectric power works by using water to turn a turbine, which generates electricity. The limitations of this power plant, of course, are that there are some areas where too much hydroelectric power can damage the environment and there are some areas where it is not cost effective. Also, the Earth’s supply of fresh water, mainly the rivers and lakes, are constantly being used up.
Another type of renewable energy is solar power. The sun is constantly producing heat all the time. The heat that the sun releases is very powerful. So, solar power plants use mirrors to reflect the heat back into the air, where it can then be converted into electricity. Many small scale residential and commercial solar power plants have been built in various parts of the world.
Another type of renewable source is geothermal energy. This type uses the natural forces of nature to drive power into the grid from underground. For example, when the earth warms up, it expands and stores large amounts of natural gas and oil. These natural sources are generally thought to be available for future use. However, if and when they are used, they emit very high levels of carbon dioxide, which significantly damages the atmosphere.
One other type of renewable energy is hydroelectricity. Hydroelectric power plants use the natural flow of water in a river or lake to turn turbines and generate electricity. These dams can be constructed on flat areas where the water is free to flow. Sometimes a dam needs to be raised for hydroelectricity, as in a flood plain, in order to create electricity.
The use of sunlight is very prevalent throughout the world. If all of the sunlight that was being utilized were converted into usable energy, we would have a completely different planet. We rely upon the sunlight for our daily food, heating and illumination. But, because of our current limitations, there is only so much that can be generated using the sun. We will likely have to wait for another technological breakthrough before using solar energy completely.
A very promising form of renewable energy is hydrogen energy. Hydrogen has many advantages over traditional fossil fuels and even nuclear energy, including the fact that it does not produce carbon emissions, is very reliable and can be stored in an environmentally safe manner for a long period of time. Also, it does not deplete the oxygen in the atmosphere and produces little to no waste. It also allows us to run our vehicles on water and it is an excellent source of renewable electricity.
Another option is to generate electricity by using solar panels, which are also known as solar power collectors. These solar panels soak up the sun’s energy and convert it into usable electricity. While this may seem like a new concept, there are already thousands of people installing solar panels throughout the world, using these types of renewable energy resources, to power their homes, cars and appliances.
The third option is wind energy production. A wind turbine spins and creates kinetic energy which can then be converted into electrical energy. This method has been around for decades, but only recently has it become commercially viable. While initially it was quite difficult to make this type of renewable energy production work, with the help of advances in technology, more efficient turbines are being developed and new components are becoming affordable.
Hydroelectricity can be generated through two different methods, either using a waterfall or using a turbine. Waterfalls can be found all around the world and many individuals have learned how to harness their power for various purposes. In large urban areas, water can be redirected to power entire communities. In rural areas, dams can be used to create massive amounts of renewable energy. One problem with hydroelectricity, however, is that the rivers do not have enough free running water to support the enormous turbines needed to run them. As an alternative, these renewable energy sources use gravity in order to generate power.
Ocean wave power is also growing in popularity as an alternative source of renewable energy. Ocean wave energy consists of generating energy in the ocean itself by using the wind. It takes advantage of the natural currents in the ocean as well as using man-made devices to catch the waves, which is then converted into electricity.