Renewable energy is derived from unending resources such as the wind and the sun. Solar and wind are generating a clean energy revolution. Renewable energy is flourishing quickly. Wind and solar energy generation are smashing the records and being assimilated into the national electricity grid without compromising the reliability in the United States.
Energy is beneficial to the environment by lowering emissions of carbon and other types of pollution. They are replacing the fossil fuels that are a great threat to the atmosphere. Renewable energy technology is the best innovative and less expensive way to capture solar and wind energy. Renewable energy sources have expanded at both large scale and small scale, from rooftop solar panels on homes that can sell power back to the grid and very big offshore wind farms.
Excessive use of fossil fuels can damage the environment or human health. That is why one is encouraged to adopt the use of renewable energy that is a guarantee to us to have a clean environment in the future generation. Some rural communities rely entirely on renewable energy for lighting and heating. We are going to major in the best renewable energy sources in this article. The most efficient forms of renewable energy are solar, wind, hydroelectric power, geothermal, and biomass.
Top 5 Best Renewable Energy
1. Wind energy
The wind is described as moving air from an area of high pressure to one of low pressure. The wind has become the cheapest source of energy in the United States accounting for more than 6% of power generation in the country. Wind turbines are used to drive generators. The wind turbines revolve at about 10 to 25 revolutions per minute. The amount of wind derived from this rotation is about 8 to 10 knots or about 10 miles per hour.
Wind farms capture the energy of wind flow and convert it to electricity with the help of turbines. There are three forms of systems used to convert wind energy into electricity. Utility-scale wind farms are purchased by wholesale or through contract. The other form of system is the commercial-grade system which can power several companies.
The wind is generally caused by the geography of the planet. The best part of wind energy is that it does not pollute the environment since it does not produce carbon dioxide or release any harmful pollutants that can put human health at risk. Wind farms create job opportunities since the turbines will require maintenance from time to time.
2. Solar energy
Photovoltaic systems capture the radiant energy from sunlight and convert it into heat, electricity, or hot water with the help of solar cells. Solar cells are made of wafers of semiconductor materials such as gallium and silicon. Silicon can be obtained from silica or sand. It is abundantly available and not expensive.
The sun is unlimited in supply and can be used as a powerful replacement for fossil and nuclear fuels. Solar thermal routes use radiation in the form of heat and can convert it to either chemical, electrical or mechanical energy. Solar energy systems do not produce air and water pollutants or greenhouse gases.
More energy from the sun falls on the Earth’s surface in one hour than is used by a high percentage of people in the world according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Solar energy is the most accessible renewable resource across the world. Solar energy allows communities to become more energy independent than relying on imported sources such as coal and oil. The energy can be fed to the grid or used directly from the sun to reduce the number of fuels to provide power to a largely populated area.
Hydropower is one of the most commercially developed renewable energy sources. Hydroelectric power is produced by building turbines in flowing water. A large reservoir can be created to control the flow of water that will drive the turbines to generate electricity. This reservoir is created by building dams or barriers. It is often reliable than other sources especially if it is derived from tidal.
It allows electricity to be stored for later use especially when the demand reaches a peak. Hoover Dam, which is a large-scale hydroelectric plant, can generate enough power to supply electricity to a large population of people. Small water turbines or water wheels can power an individual home. Hydropower can be more viable than commercial energy.
Hydropower is known to provide irrigation facilities and drinking water to people living in the deserts. It has a very low operating and maintenance cost and does not pollute the environment. The power provides water during non-rainy seasons and is best in controlling flooding.
4. Geothermal energy
Geothermal energy is natural heat below the Earth’s surface. This heat on the Earth’s crust originates from the radioactive decay of materials and the original formation of the planet. The thermal heat is stored in rocks and fluids in the center of the Earth. Tunnels can be dug on the ground to trap this heat on a controlled scale and use it to turn water into steam which can later power turbines to generate electricity. This energy is self-replenishing and has very little impact on the surface ecosystems.
Large amounts of heat escape naturally sometimes resulting in geysers and volcanic eruptions. The temperature difference between the Earth’s surface and the core drives a continuous conduction of thermal energy from the center to the exterior of the Earth. Geothermal has been used for cooking and heating systems in some countries.
Underground geothermal reservoirs of heated water and steam are used to generate electricity and in cooling applications and other heating uses. Geothermal is used to grow plants in greenhouses for many years now. It can also be piped under the roads in snowing areas to melt the snow. The United States is the world’s largest producer of geothermal energy. There are three different geothermal power plants used in the production of energy; flash plants, binary plants, and dry steam.
Dry steam collects steam directly from the Earth’s crust to turn turbines while flash plants suck high-pressure hot water from underneath and mix it with cool low-pressure water which will create steam to turn turbines. Binary plants on the other hand use hot water passed through a secondary fluid that is known to have a lower boiling point than water. The secondary fluid is converted into a vapor that drives the turbine. Energy is cheaper than fossil fuels and is environmentally friendly.
Solid fuels made from plant materials are converted into electricity. Biomass involves the burning of organic materials to generate power. Biomass produces electricity at a lower economic and environmental cost by transforming industrial, agricultural, and domestic waste into liquid, solid, and gas fuels. Wood is known to be the largest biomass energy resource.
Fumes from landfills can also be used as a biomass energy source. Crops such as fast-growing trees and grasses are referred to as biomass feedstock and can help increase the profits for the agricultural industry. It is more useful to transform biomass into biofuels or biogas. Biomass has the largest contribution of power usage with a 50%.
Using renewable energy sources in a domestic setting will reduce your electricity bills and become less reliant on the National Grid. Renewable energy is eco-friendly energy that does not depend on resources that produce harmful pollutants to the environment. Many have embraced the use of renewable energy not only because it is cheaper but it also a friendly environment.
According to International Energy Agency, 26% of the world’s electricity used today is generated from renewable energy. It would be a great idea to choose renewable energy. We hope that you will find this article educative. We look forward to hearing from you. Till next time. Thanks!