The aim of this article is to provide a short introduction to the major sources of renewable energy.
Why do we need renewable power
Energy is the fuel of everything. The problem is that we cannot produce it ourselves. All we can do is convert energy that is available in one form into energy of a different form. To generate electricity, for example, we are burning fossil fuels to release the energy contained within.
The burning of fossil fuels has at least two major weaknesses:
- Harmful gases are a side-effect of burning fossil fuels.
- Fossil fuels took millions of years to develop but it only took us about 100 years to nearly completely consume them.
Luckily, there are other sources of energy available that are being perceived as renewable. Read on to find out why this is not exactly true.
Sources of renewable energy
The sources of renewable energy are usually classified into 4 different groups.
Heat and light released by the sun
The sun produces massive amounts of energy. Incredibly, the amount of energy released by the sun in 30 days equals the total amount of energy generated from burning fossil fuels for over 100 years.
However, solar energy is not limitless. Even the sun will burn out at some point in the future.
The power contained within the wind
The wind is basically a derivative of solar energy. Because our planet is spinning the heat from the sun warms up different parts of our atmosphere. While some parts of the atmosphere are heating up other parts are cooling down. Different temperatures mean different air pressure. The differences between areas of high and low atmospheric pressure give rise to air movements that we call wind.
The energy contained within water
Water that is moving contains energy. This energy can be converted using turbines.
The core of our planet is producing heat energy. We can use this thermal energy to heat up water and our houses or to produce electricity.
All of the above mentioned sources of renewable energy are available to us to meet our energy needs. To do this we have to overcome a few challenges.
- One problem is to develop efficient enough technology to harness these powerful sources.
- Then, we have to find better ways to save and transport the energy we have generated.
- Once the technology has been developed it needs to be implemented at an international level.
Each of these problems will take time to solve. However, with our quickly depleting fossil fuel reserves time is running out. We have no choice but to develop successful new energy technologies and we need to do so quickly.