What Really is Renewable Energy?
With the advent of global warming, we all have to find a way to make things better for our poor suffering planet. The best way that this can be done is by using renewable energy that does not harm the atmosphere, but rather gives back to nature!
Oil, coal or natural gas, which is used by most countries, is NOT renewable energy! All of the above are fossil fuels which will eventually be depleted, and they will become more expensive as they dwindle down to nothing. These substances are also very damaging to the environment.
Renewable energy comes mostly from nature and can be easily replenished. Some forms of renewable energy that we can and should use are:
· Sunlight – solar energy can be utilized to heat and light homes, streetlights, and can also be successfully used for heating the hot water cylinder, which utilizes most of the power in any home, by use of solar panels .
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Wind – the power of the wind has been used for many years in the form of wind turbines, which can generate sufficient power to provide a small town with all their heating and power needs.
· Hydrogen – is the most abundant element on earth and can be found in water and other organic compounds. It is not a natural gas , but is normally mixed with oxygen to make water. If separated from other elements, hydrogen can be utilized as a fuel or turned into electricity .
· Bio-energy – is created by organic matter that makes up plants, known as biomass. This biomass can be utilized to produce electricity, fuel for transportation and chemicals.
· Ocean energy – comes from various sources such as tidal energy, and wave energy which is driven by wind and tide factors. The sun also plays a part in ocean energy, as it creates a temperature difference which can be transferred into energy to use in the production of electricity. Other energy from the oceans is created by the pull of the sun and the moon on the earth’s gravity.
· Geothermal energy – is energy that comes from deep within the core of the earth. This energy draws from the internal heat in order to create electricity used for anything from heating homes to cooling offices.
Renewable energy can replace conventional fuels in four different areas; transport fuels, heating or cooling, electricity generation and for energy services in rural areas that are off the grid.
Renewable energy currently provides only approximately 18% of the total worldwide electricity generation. Rural areas are finding great relief from the cold and darkness by utilizing solar and hydro-power. Biogas is also being used by many rural inhabitants.
Although some countries are doing quite well in changing the habits of hundreds of years and making more use of renewable energy, there is still much to be done, and each one of us can do our bit when it comes to that. Invest in a solar panel for your house, and do not use your car for going to the shops when a five minute walk are just some of the small steps we can make as individuals to complement the larger steps our governments should be doing to wean us away from dependence on finite resources for our energy needs such as fossil fuels.
As we think about our future and consider the generations that will follow us, we need to ensure that they will also enjoy that which we do today. Our daily lives depend on utilization of energy, without sources for energy we will face drastic changes in the quality of our lives. Finite resources will not guarantee the future for our children and future generations. This what renewable energy is all about, a source of energy that can be replenished, a source of energy that guarantees a bright future for all.