The term renewable energy is one that is thrown about a lot in the press. People mention it to each other. What does it really mean? Renewable energy is energy that has been produced from a source that which is not depleted by our use of that source.
Why then is this type of power generation being mentioned more and more frequently in the news? Why are we reading about it every day in the papers? Why is everyone talking about it? The answer to all of these questions is that non-renewable energy sources are running out, and they are running out fast.
Why are non-renewable power generation types disappearing? This is because of what they are by definition – they are from sources which get depleted by their usage. For example, fossil fuels are the largest single type of non-renewable energy source. Fossil fuels take tens of thousands of years to produce. They are created by decomposing plant and animal matter. The exact process does depend on which exact type of fossil fuel is being considered. For example, oil and natural gas are formed differently to coal. The first two – oil and natural gas – are formed by organisms, mainly plankton and plants, which lived in fresh water and were buried under rivers and oceans. When the water recedes backs, the pressure and bacteria combine to make oil and natural gas.
Coal is formed through the dead remains of trees, ferns and other plants that lived 300 to 400 million years ago. Swamps would form, which would be covered by the sea. The sea itself contains a large amount of sulphur, which ends up in the coal when the water receded. If sulphur isn’t removed first, it is released when coal is burned, although it does depend on where exactly the coal comes from.
The issue ultimately is that these types of non-renewable energy take so long to produce, that mankind’s reliance on them is terrifying. We can’t be, basically!
Since this problem has been realised, scientists have stepped in to develop technologies to sort out this dire situation. Solar energy is an extremely popular type of renewable energy.
If a household installs solar panels, then it’ll save on average about 1,000kg of carbon dioxide emissions every year. Obviously, the sun is also a source of energy that isn’t going to run out any time soon. This means that if households can be more reliable on solar power generating systems, then we will all ultimately ensure our future. A future in which we’ll be able to use power and won’t be thrown back to the dark ages.