Renewable energy is generated from natural sources that cannot be exhausted but are continuously renewed. The sources include sunlight, the wind, water and biomass.
Renewable vs. Alternative Energy
Renewable energy and alternative energy have slight difference even though they sound similar. Both the alternative and renewable energy are the other energy sources used in the place of fossil fuels. However, the difference between the two lays on their impact and the environment. Alternative energy has no adverse effect on the environment while renewables may in one way or the other affect the environment, especially if not well situated.
Types of renewable energy
The various types of renewable energy come from natural processes as detailed below;
The sunlight is the primary source of most renewable energy, either directly or indirectly. The power is generated through some fusion of the sun rays from the core of the sun. Although solar energy is still insufficient for the many needs of the society, it gives a significant contribution to the peoples’ needs through a number of functions that include;
- Heating and lighting of buildings through the use of solar attic insulators
- Hot water heating using solar collectors
- Through the use of photovoltaic cells, solar energy is converted into electricity
- Among other industrial applications.
Wind power is in a way dependent on the sun. When the sun heat comes into contact with the air movement on the Earth’s surface, energy is produced and captured by wind turbines. As a result, a renewable type of energy known as wind power is produced. When this energy is in plenty, it can be used to pump water from reservoirs to generate electricity.
Moving water is sole generator of this energy. Rivers, dams and other water reservoirs are the primary sources of the hydro-power energy where water is continuously renewed to produce electricity. However, since these sources are not renewable, hydro-power may experience problems during the dry season when water in rivers and dams reduce. Hydro-power is the commonest type of energy in many countries.
Biomass is simply the energy received from plants. It is the organic matter that makes up plants. The power requires the burning of wood and trees in general as well as the burning of natural waste products. However, in the modern world, experts produce the biomass energy through methane generation and alcohol production used as motor fuel for vehicles.
The biogas energy is very popular among farmers. The use of biogas aims at reducing pollution in homes by having animal waste converted into energy. The waste is usually burnt in a systematic manner resulting in a clean burning gas. Farmers can use this power for the general lighting of their homes, water heating, as boiler fuel and if the production is massive, the farmer can sell the excess.