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What is Renewable Energy?

Sept 23rd, 2022

Renewable energy is the energy obtained from natural sources that quickly replace themselves faster than when consumed. The available types of renewable energy include solar energy, hydrogen energy, biomass energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, and hydroelectric power.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory works with companies to sell renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions. More than 4.7 million MWh (or 9 percent) of the total power used by Federal agencies in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 came from renewable sources.

Hydroelectric energy

Hydroelectric energy is a way to make electricity by using the power of moving water, like water flowing over a waterfall.

Benefits of Hydroelectric Energy

Hydroelectric Dam

Hyroelectric Dam

Low Emissions

When generating power using hydroelectric energy, carbon dioxide is not emitted. This help prevents global climate change.

Reliable

The electricity that hydroelectric dams make is always of high quality. It can be easily controlled as demand for energy arises.

Safe

Hydroelectric energy is safe because no pollution is emitted during energy production. This helps prevent the risk of any illness.

Renewable

This type of energy is renewable because it is powered by water, a natural replenishing resource.

Negatives of Hydroelectric Energy

There are Limited Reservoirs

It is challenging to locate a spot suitable for water supply for a long time, with adequate water and closer to existing power lines.

It's Expensive

The initial cost of constructing a dam is one of the disadvantages of hydroelectric power, and the payback period might be lengthy.

It's Not Always Safe

Dams present their unique risks, even in the absence of flammable materials. There is a risk of severe injury or death in the event of a dam failure or construction mishap.

Wind Energy

Wind power is one of the most rapidly expanding renewable energy sources. It is one of the most established and efficient sources of renewable energy. Wind uses the kinetic energy created in the air to produce electricity. This is changed into electrical power by using wind turbines or systems capable of converting wind energy.

Benefits of Wind Energy

The Environmental Impact is Minimal

Wind power causes the lowest overall impact on the environment. The various emissions and consumption of resources are reduced in the plant’s production, transport, and installation.

It is Economical

Wind power provides minimal initial and ongoing expenses compared to other energy sources.

Excellent Conversion Efficiency

The efficiency with which wind energy can be converted into electricity is remarkable. Effectiveness is between 40% and 50%, close to the highest theoretical level predicted by Betz’s law (59%).

Wind Power Occupies Minimal Land

Wind turbines don’t take up much space on land. The vertical blades and tiny base make wind power compatible with other land uses.

Negatives of Wind Energy

Turbines Are Noisy and Unsightly

The turbine blades generate nice, and the aesthetic impacts on the landscape pose a challenge to many people.

A Wind Farm Can Only Be Built In a Specific Spot

Wind energy systems rely on consistently high wind speeds to be economically feasible. This is hampered by the scarcity of areas that experience certain climates year-round.

Land-based Wind Farms Aren't Profitable

Wind energy is environmentally benign, but windmills are a waste of space. Land used for wind turbines could be used for short-term profits.

Hydrogen energy

Hydrogen is primarily available in the universe in the form of matter. It can be used as fuel for transportation or heating, to store energy, and as a raw material in manufacturing. It can be made as a gas, a liquid, or a part of other materials.

Benefits of Hydrogen Energy

Hydrogen Is An Environmentally Friendly Fuel

There are no emissions of hazardous substances when hydrogen is burned. Hydrogen can be recycled into potable water for astronauts after it has been burned off as a fuel source.

Highly Effective

Hydrogen boosts power and energy density. Since it’s three times more efficient than fossil fuels, less hydrogen is needed. Hydrogen powers space exploration by powering planes, boats, cars, and fuel cells.

Renewable Hydrogen Is a Viable Energy Source

Because hydrogen is a renewable energy source, it will never be depleted, at least in a human lifetime. It’s abundant and provides a great deal of usable energy.

It's Not Toxic

Unlike nuclear energy and natural gas, hydrogen does not threaten human health.

Adverse effects of hydrogen energy

Hydrogen is Volatile

Hydrogen gas is a dangerous fuel to work with since it is very explosive and volatile due to its high energy concentration.

Hydrogen is Dangerous

Hydrogen is highly explosive, making it a hazardous fuel if improperly handled. Hydrogen also has no odor. Thus, sensors are needed to detect any potential leaks.

Hydrogen Electricity is Difficult to Store

Hydrogen is easier to store and transfer than gasoline, but it’s flammable. For long-term storage, it has to be converted into a liquid and keep it cool.

Hydrogen Production is Costly

Due to the high expense of steam-methane reforming and electrolysis, many governments are hesitant to invest in significant industries.

Geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is usually extracted from the Earth’s interior. It results from radioactive decay and the heat produced during the planet’s initial creation. The rocks and fluids keep this heat in the Earth’s core. Geothermal energy is a renewable, eco-friendly source of thermal and electrical power.

Benefits of Using Geothermal Energy

Eco-Friendly

It is environmentally safe since geothermal plants have a low carbon impact. Geothermal energy pollutes but less than fossil fuels.

Permanent

Geothermal energy is more stable, and the resource can be used anytime, unlike wind or solar power.

Reliable

Since the energy it produces does not fluctuate like the Sun or wind, it can be easily estimated. This means that one can have a good idea of how much power a geothermal plant will produce in the future.

Rapid Evolution

Innovative techniques are being developed to make geothermal energy generation more efficient. There are several endeavors to promote and expand this area.

Negative Effects of Geothermal Energy

Restricted Location

Geothermal energy is only useful in specific regions. Because geothermal facilities can only be built where the power is plentiful, some places can’t use it.

Harmful Results

Excavation of geothermal energy releases many greenhouse gases emitted more near geothermal power plants.

Exorbitant Prices

The cost of developing a plant with a 1 MW geothermal energy output is between $2 and $7 million. These huge expenses pose a challenge to venturing into it.

Biomass Energy

Biomass energy refers to power derived from the metabolism of live or recently deceased organisms. Plants, such as corn and soy, are the most frequent biomass sources used for energy. This biomass has the potential to be used as a heat source or a source of electricity through combustion.

Benefits of Using Biomass Energy

Biomass Energy is Environment Friendly

Green energy comes from the natural process of photosynthesis, in which trees and crops absorb carbon dioxide through their breath and release oxygen. Some bioenergy systems can reabsorb more carbon than is emitted as a byproduct of fuel combustion or use.

Biomass is Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels

Oil wells, gas lines, and fuel collection all add to the cost of fossil fuels, while biomass energy is much cheaper.

Producing biomass gives factories another way to make money

Producers of waste have an opportunity to increase value by diverting trash to more lucrative end use, such as biomass energy.

Clean energy

When treated appropriately, biomass can be a green energy source. Sunlight, animals, and plants energize biomass.

Negatives of Biomass Energy

Uneconomical

Most biomass facilities require imported fossil fuels for economic efficiency, reducing environmental friendliness.

Insufficient Energy

Half of the biomass is water. Therefore, more energy is lost during conversion, making it less dense than fossil fuels

Can Become Nonrenewable Energy

Unreplaced biomass feedstocks risk becoming nonrenewable energy. Regenerating a forest can take centuries.

Solar Panel field with close up of panels

Solar Panels

Solar Energy

The Sun’s rays can be harnessed to produce electrical or thermal energy. It’s always there for us to use, and technological progress has enabled us to capture even more Solar energy.

 Solar technologies are being used by businesses and industries to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and diversify their energy supply.

Benefits of Solar Energy

Minimal Effects on the Environment

Solar renewable energy is the cleanest and greenest option available. Because of this, it does not contribute to global warming or cause water contamination.

Save Money by Saving Energy

Producing your electricity reduces your utility company’s demand. Your monthly energy costs can drop immediately, and you can also sell extra electricity back to the grid. This leads to better sustainable housing within any economy. People have also taken advantage of connecting solar and electric cars, where they can charge their electric cars up freely with no costs incurred.

Improves Grid Security

Multiple distributed power plants make the grid more resistant to blackouts. Solar grids require thousands of scattered power plants.

Solar Energy Can be Used Anywhere

Solar panels can be set up anywhere there is sufficient sunlight to power an electric generator. This is a lifesaver in places without any other way to get power since most people can renew energy appropriately.

Negatives of Using Solar Energy

It's Not 100% Reliable

Without the Sun, no energy is produced. Night and winter are when power generation is lowest.

High Outlay of Money at the Outset

The initial investment might be relatively high. The cost of solar panels varies widely depending on the supplier you use. It’s hard to put a price on installation without input from the manufacturers.

Ineffectiveness

Solar energy’s ineffectiveness has been well-documented. 15% efficiency is considered low. Most think 100% efficiency is perfect.

Efficiency is measured by the space needed to create energy.

Conclusion

With the use of various types of renewable energy, one is assured of sustainability. Modern technologies that have been improvised play a key role in ensuring efficiency. How the renewable energy source is handled determines its effectiveness over time. State policies implemented over time are very instrumental in supporting renewable energy.

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Solgen Power is a solar energy equipment company that sells and installs solar for homeowners. Solgen Power has been recognized by INC. 5000 as one of the fastest growing companies in the nation. Solgen Power has grown nationwide and continues to provide excellent customer service to homeowners.

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