What is Renewable Energy
Every where you turn, there it is. Go Green. Save the Planet. Stop global
warming. Lately, our environment seems to get more focus than the economy. All
of a sudden, it's like someone woke up and realized our natural resources aren't
going to last forever. It looks like the media has finally decided the health of
the planet merits some attention and renewable energy may warrant a closer look.
Well, what exactly is renewable energy? How does it work and why is it good for
us and the Planet? Let's take a minute and dive into this electrifying topic and
examine more closely these questions to see what we can learn.
Renewable energy refers to electricity derived from energy sources that can
generate indefinitely without being depleted. It offers an alternative to energy
created by burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil or natural gas, or by nuclear
generation. Because traditional fossil fuels require millions of years to
develop and they produce huge amounts of carbon dioxide when burned, they are
not considered clean or renewable sources of energy.
The most commonly excepted examples include:
1. Wind - Naturally occurring wind currents are used to spin wind turbines to
generate power. This is currently the most rapidly growing source of renewable
energy. More resources and focus are being put into wind energy right now than
any other form of renewable energy.
2. Solar - Energy collected from sunlight is used to generate electricity via
photovoltaic arrays. Currently, solar energy is one of the most expensive forms
of renewable energy, yet it offers much potential as the technology behind it
continues to advance.
3. Hydro - Flowing water is used to spin turbines connected to generators. There
are several types of hydro electric systems, such as dams and river current, as
well as emerging technologies such as wave and tidal power.
4. Geothermal - Power generated by geysers fueled by the heat located deep
within the earth's core. Although not new, it is still being developed and is
subject to geographic limitations.
5. Biomass - Energy created by burning wood, wood waste, animal or other organic
waste and methane gas generated from landfills.
Recognizing the positive attributes of renewable energy governments from around
the world have begun to take steps to promote its' increased use. Within the
U.S., there are now portfolio standards that require electricity providers to
obtain a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable providers by a
certain date. At the same time, voluntary demand for renewable energy is
What does this all really mean? Simply stated, the more renewable energy we can
start using the better off we'll all be. Reducing the amount of carbon dioxide
that is produced when burning fossil fuels for electricity can not help but
prolong the health of the ozone layer and other crucial eco-systems. Renewable
energy equals good energy and a longer, healthier future to our planet.
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