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Renewable Energy Sources

This article provides with useful information about: Renewable Energy Sources
Renewable energy is being widely adopted today as a standard source of energy for various purposes. Moreover, it favors the conservation of the earth. It’s usually derived from sources that are replenished by natural processes at a reliable rate. Normally, renewable energy sources can be maintained in a constant supply over time and they can be used indefinitely. Examples of common renewable energy sources are animal dung, wood, wind, flowing water and sunlight. Fossil fuels (which have been widely used up until now) are non-renewable because they draw on finite resources that will eventually diminish and may damage the environment.

Sources of Renewable Energy

There are five core renewable energy sources, water, sun, wind, biomass, and geothermal energy. These sources are being harnessed based on their unique advantages. While wind and solar energies are more relevant in the desert areas where there is a high level of wind and sunlight, bio-energy (energy from plant matter) is more dependable in areas with high rainfall and lush vegetation.

Solar Energy (Sunlight): Solar Energy is energy derived from the sun whether directly or indirectly. This is used for heating and lighting homes and other buildings, for generating electricity, and for hot water heating, solar cooling, and a variety of other commercial and industrial uses. Obviously, solar energy source is unlimited which explains its strong appeal.

Biomass: This is the organic matter present in plants which is used as renewable energy (bio-energy). It is the only renewable energy source that can be directly replenished by humans – by planting more crops. Alternatively, plant residues can also be used in places where a lot of plants already exist. Plants naturally capture energy from the sun through the process of photosynthesis and can be burned to make this energy available for human use. Biomass can be used for bio-fuels which include biodiesel, ethanol, and cellulosic ethanol.

Wind: Wind energy is rapidly becoming an attractive source of energy and the fastest growing energy technology. It is the energy used to power wind turbines. It is more advantageous in offshore or high altitude areas where wind is more constant or stronger. The energy generated in wind turbines is a direct reflection of the speed of the wind. Also, it’s been noted that wind energy requires the lowest installation cost compared to other renewable sources of energy.

Water: Presently, this is the most widely adopted among renewable energy sources. The energy produced from water is referred to as ‘hydropower’. Interestingly, even slow moving water bodies produce a considerable amount of energy used in many homes and industries today.
Earth (Geothermal Energy): Geothermal energy taps the Earth's internal heat by using the hot water located within the earth’s crust to produce energy. This is more feasible in regions where there is volcanic activity, or where two tectonic plates meet. This energy is used industrially to power machines.

It should be noted that renewable energy is becoming more available globally and new uses are being developed daily. Thus, even the most expensive sources are likely to drop in cost as they become commercially available.