Renewable energy is the energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally restored, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas: generation of electricity, air and water heating/cooling, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services.
Types of Renewable Energy
The most popular renewable source of energy are as follow:
i. Solar energy
ii. Wind energy
iii. Hydro energy
iv. Tidal energy
v. Geothermal energy
vi. Biomass energy
How do these types of renewable energies work?
i. Solar Energy
Solar Energy is the energy which comes from the sun. All throughout the day time, sunlight can give us energy. With the help of solar panels, we can store the sunlight as solar energy and it is used to generate electricity. The heated-up solar panels transfer energy into batteries, in short, and hence, electricity is produced. Hence, solar energy is a source of fully renewable energy and we can use it for various purposes.
Countries like China, Japan, United States, Germany, India, Italy, United Kingdom, Australia, France and Korea are the leading producer of solar energy in the world. Nowadays solar energy is being used to run electric vehicles also.
ii. Wind Energy
Wind Energy is a clean and free source of renewable energy. Just what we need is Wind Mills, which works due to the flow of wind. And as the Wind Mill works, electricity is generated with the help of it, which is completely natural.
Many countries all over the world like China, United States, Germany, India, Spain, United Kingdom, France, Brazil, Canada and Italy are major producers of Wind Energy as an alternative source of their electricity. Hence, wind energy is also renewable energy.
iii. Hydro Energy
Hydro energy or hydro power is produced from water. Usually Dams and reservoirs are used in this purpose. The concept is a Dam is built on the lower stream of a river which is used to stop the water and then let it free fall from a high height, leading to rotate a turbine which then generates electricity. Hydro energy has been an enormous source of electricity since a long time. It is also free, clean and natural source of energy.
Countries like China, Brazil, USA, Russia, India, Norway, Turkey, Japan and Sweden are lead producer of hydro electricity in the world.
On the left, is the picture of Hover Dam. It is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the United States of Nevada and Arizona.
iv. Tidal energy
Tidal energy is a form of hydro power that works by utilising the kinetic energy created from the rise and fall of ocean or sea tides and currents, also called tidal currents, and turns it into a usable electricity.
The larger the tidal wave is, the more power can be produced.
Tides fluctuate due to the gravitational pull of the sun and moon. Tidal power is a clean and natural source of renewable energy. It emits no greenhouse gases as it produces electricity.
Countries like South Korea, France, United Kingdom, Belgium, China and Sweden are on the top of the list for producing tidal energy.
v. Geothermal energy
Geothermal energy is the heat that comes from the sub-surface of the earth. It is contained in the rocks and fluids beneath the earth’s crust and can be found as far down to the earth’s hot molten rock, magma.
Depending on its characteristics, geothermal energy can be used for heating and cooling purposes or be utilised to generate clean electricity. Transferring the heat of the sub-surface of the earth into electricity is also a clean, free and natural source of energy.
USA, Indonesia, Philippines, Turkey, New Zealand, Mexico, Italy, Kenya, Iceland, Japan are top countries producing GeoThermal Energy.
vi. Biomass energy
Biomass energy is the utilisation of organic material to generate energy. Biomass is just organic matter – stuff like wood pellets, grass clippings and even dung.
Crops, like sugarcane and corn, can also be used to create biofuels. And because plant matter can be regrown, it’s a renewable source of energy.
The main forms of biomass are Wood and Agricultural products, Bio diesel, Solid Waste, Bio ethanol, landfill gas and bio gas.
Countries like Kenya, India, China, Brazil, Finland, Ireland and Sweden are the leading producers of biomass energy.
What is the future of renewable energy?
The world is leading towards the use of renewable energy. The stockpile of non-renewable resources like coal, fuel are diminishing rapidly and estimate say after next 50 – 60 years, we may run out of these fuels. So, to keep the world up and running, renewable energy is the best hope. Nowadays, electric cars, buses, trucks are being used in many countries and so if our future is electric, we need a steady flow of electricity to keep everything up and running. Hence, the future is bright for renewable resources.
Renewable energy sources make up 26% of the world’s electricity today, but according to the IEA (International Energy Agency) its share is expected to reach 30% by 2024. The resurgence follows a global slowdown last year, due to falling technology costs and rising environmental concerns.The report predicts that by 2024, the world’s solar capacity will grow by 600 GW, almost double the installed total electricity capacity of Japan. Overall, renewable electricity is predicted to grow by 1 200 GW by 2024, the equivalent of the total electricity capacity of the US.
What are the advantages of using renewable energy?
There are a number of benefits of using this energy.
i. Eco-friendly: It is environment-friendly. This energy is pollution free by 98%. And as it creates less pollution, it helps to keep our environment pollution free. Countries like Iceland, Scotland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland have an air-quality-index (AQI) below 3 which is considered to be the most safest for human heath.
ii. Renewable: This energy is totally renewable. We are using natural renewable resources to generate energy. We don’t have to think about resources to be depleted after some years.
iii. Many Alternatives: There are a different variety of renewable resources as seen above. So, focusing on generating more and more renewable energies is possible by choosing these alternatives.
iv. Cheaper: One can install solar panels on their roof-top and generate electricity. They don’t have to rely on national power grid supply for electricity. And also, they can give some amount of electricity to the national power grid and even get some money back.
The future lies on renewable energy and hence, countries are working on it. We all get be concerned for our environment and try to use renewable resources as much as possible. The benefits of renewable resources is high. Decreasing environmental pollution will decrease global-warming which is an alarming thing for our environment. Studies says icebergs in both North and South Poles (near the Arctics and the Antarctica) are melting and hence there is a rise in the water level which may lead to natural calamities like tsunami. Many may think that how these are related but yes, if we start using renewable resources, we can make our future bright. We all should join hands help each other saving our Earth.