Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources that continue to be replenished by nature. Such energy can be drawn from sunlight, geothermal heat, wind, tides, water and biomass. Renewable energy is different from energy sourced from fossil fuels, coal and oil which are all finite and can be depleted. Fossil fuels will eventually become too expensive or deteriorate the environment completely and thus the need to embrace renewable energy early.
Types of renewable energy
- Solar energy
Nuclear fusion power from the core of the sun forms this energy. It then has to be collected and stored in order to be converted into a form that can be used by human beings. One way is by solar water heating wit solar collectors or attic cooling with solar attic fans. These two methods are ideal for domestic use. More complex ways of collecting and converting solar energy is where sunlight is directly converted to energy by using mirror and boilers. In other cases, photovoltaic cells are used. Although solar energy is a great source of power, it is still insufficient to power today’s society.
- Wind power
The difference in temperature of the atmosphere when lit by sunlight causes movement of air which is otherwise known as wind. When the wind is strong enough, its energy can be used to pump water and generate electricity through the use of windmills. To harness a substantial amount of wind energy, a large area has to be used.
- Hydroelectric energy
This form of renewable energy uses the gravitational potential of elevated water. This water is often on higher ground as a result of it being lifted from the oceans by sunlight. Humans have created barriers known as dams on water ways and when these dams are filled, the water drops with such high power that they are used to spin rotors that in turn produced electric power.
This is a collective term for energy derived from plants with the most common one being the burning of firewood from trees to cook and warmth. Wood fuel releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and pollutes the air that we breath. A modern form of biomass is methane gas that is generated from plants and the production of alcohol that is in turn used to fuel vehicles and electric power plants.
- Geothermal power
Heat and energy from the accretion planet and radioactive decay are everyday emitted from the earth’s core. There are certain areas that emit high geothermal power making it easier to harvest and use it to generate electricity. Earth energy is another form of geothermal energy and it has been used to generate power used to heat up homes during winter and cool them in summer.
Companies using renewable energy
- Retail – Whole Foods, Kohl’s
- Banking – TD, HSBC, Deutsche Bank
- Government – Environmental Protection Agency
- Natural Resources – Mohawk
- Food & Beverages – Dannon
- Consulting – Pearson
- Non-profit – The World Bank