Renewable energy is a promising solution to the energy crisis, offering a sustainable alternative to non-renewable energy sources. The key difference between renewable and non-renewable energy forms is the replacement time, with renewable energy coming from resources that are replaced rapidly by natural processes. Harvesting energy from renewable sources does not deplete them or prevent future harvesting. The five major categories of renewable energy are biomass, geothermal, wind, hydropower, and solar.
Biomass is organic material that comes from plants and animals and can be turned into energy in two ways. It can be burned directly to produce heat energy, or it can be composted to yield nutrient-rich humus and secondary biogas that can be converted into biofuels.
Hydropower and wind power generate electricity through the movement of turbines moved by water and wind, respectively. Wind power is especially efficient, with one turbine capable of generating enough electricity to power 1,400 homes over the course of a year.
Geothermal energy is heat from the earth’s core, which can be harnessed by planting devices into the earth’s crust and converting the heat energy using heat pumps. This energy can be used for various applications, including heating buildings.
Solar energy is harvested from the sun’s rays by photovoltaic cells, also known as solar panels. Collecting solar energy is pollution-free, noise-free, and hands-free, and once the costs of the panels are paid off, it is also free. As of 2011, solar technology produced only one-tenth of one percent of the world’s energy supply, but this is changing rapidly due to falling prices and gains in efficiency.
Overall, renewable energy sources offer a promising way to conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions. With abundant resources like wind, water, and sunlight, renewable energy sources offer a reliable and sustainable alternative to non-renewable sources like natural gas and coal.