Renewable energy is a form of energy that is collected from renewable resources such as wind, solar, etc. In another word, you can also call it alternative energy sources.
Like other non-renewable energy sources, renewable energy sources are not restricted to geographical areas. Hence you can obtain these types of renewable energy anywhere.
At present at least 30 countries already have renewable energy contributing more than 20 percent of the energy supply.
Iceland and Norway generate all their electricity using renewable energy already. The Indian Government is also on side of promoting green energy. So, you can get a heavy discount on a solar system.
Before going further, let’s see the difference between renewable and nonrenewable energy.
What Is The Difference Between Renewable Energy And Nonrenewable Energy?
01) In simple, renewable sources can be used again and again. Nonrenewable energy sources will exhaust one day and cannot be used repeatedly.
02) Renewable sources have low carbon emissions hence they are environment-friendly. A nonrenewable source has high carbon emissions.
03) As renewable resources are available to us in unlimited quantity, they are relatively cheaper than non-renewable resources.
04) A nonrenewable energy source has low maintenance costs as compared with renewable energy resources.
05) The Renewable resources do not cause any health problems while Non-Renewable resources adversely affect the health of the living beings.
Based on the above differences, you can easily understand what are the advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy sources.
So, let’s move further and see the renewable energy examples.
Types Of Renewable Energy Sources
The energy obtained from the sun is known as solar energy.
Is solar energy renewable? Yes of course, in solar engineering, its technologies are broadly characterized as passive solar or active solar.
Active solar techniques use photovoltaic systems while passive solar techniques select materials with favorable thermal mass.
The large availability of solar energy makes it a highly appealing source of electricity also. Solar thermal energy is being used in India for heating water in industrial and domestic areas.
Solar power is anticipated to become the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050, with solar PV. Charanka Solar Park in India with 221 MW of electricity production is the world’s second-largest photovoltaic plant.
Solar energy can be used to heat the water or home. It can also be used for cooking or power to your home.
The energy obtained from the kinetic energy of flowing wind is called Wind Energy. Wind Turbines in a wind farm are used to transform the kinetic energy of flowing wind to generate electricity.
Solar and wind energy are the all-time best options for green energy. As it doesn’t produce greenhouse gas during operation.
Wind power is an alternative to burning fossil fuels. This clean energy source consumes no water and uses very little land.
The first windmill is set up in Scotland for the production of electric power. Nowadays, more than 85 other countries around the world are using wind power to supply their electric power grids.
Wind power generation capacity in India has significantly increased in recent years. As of the end of October 2017, the total installed wind power capacity was 32.72 GW.
This is nearly 10% of India’s total installed power generation capacity.
The energy in the nucleus of an atom is known as Nuclear Energy. At the core of each atom, there are neutrons and protons held together. Nuclear energy is the energy that holds neutrons and protons.
This energy can be obtained by nuclear fusion and nuclear fission.
In nuclear fusion, energy is released when atoms are combined or fused together to form a larger atom. The sun is the best example of a nuclear fusion energy source.
In nuclear fission, atoms are split into smaller atoms, hence energy is released. The nuclear power plant is an example of nuclear fission to produce electricity.
A slight loss of mass is experienced in an atom when nuclear fission or nuclear fusion process takes place. This loss of mass generates a big amount of heat energy, which is used in steam boilers.
Today, the world produces as much electricity from nuclear energy as it did from all sources combined in the early years of nuclear power.
India’s target is to have 14.5 GWe nuclear capacities online by 2020 as part of its national energy policy.
Uranium, the nuclear fuel that is used to produce nuclear energy is limited. Hence, always a question arises, is nuclear energy renewable? YES
You can use plutonium as nuclear fuel for renewable energy resources.
The energy produced from the velocity of flowing water using water turbines is known as hydroelectric energy.
Hydropower or hydro energy is a form of renewable energy that uses the water stored in dams, as well as flowing in rivers to create electricity in a hydroelectric plant.
The cost of hydroelectric energy is relatively low, making it a competitive source of renewable source of electricity.
The advantages of hydropower are, that it is clean and pollution-free. Compared to other fossil fuels and nuclear energy, hydroelectricity is much safer.
Hydroelectric plants have low failure rates thus making them a reliable and dependable source of energy.
The disadvantages of hydroelectric power are, that it requires a large area to build the dam and displacement of people living in the area. Still, this is the most popular source of energy worldwide.
The energy harnessed mainly by the tides of ocean water is known as Tidal Energy. In other words, you can call it ocean energy or ocean tidal energy. This is one form of hydel energy.
Among sources of renewable energy, tidal power is a costly and limited availability of sites with sufficiently high tidal ranges.
There are currently three different ways to get tidal energy: tidal streams, barrages, and tidal lagoons.
Tidal stream devices make use of the kinetic energy of moving water to power turbines. This method is popular because it’s removable, and has lower potential costs and ecological impact.
Barrages make use of the potential energy in the difference in height or head, between high and low tides.
Tidal Lagoons are similar to barrages but can be constructed as self-contained structures not extending fully across an estuary.
The world’s first tidal power plant was constructed in 2007 at Stanford Lough in Northern Ireland.
With 7,500 kilometers long coastline and one of the 20 places worldwide where high tide is over five meters higher than the low tide, India is still fighting to set up a tidal energy-based power plant.
The heat energy trapped inside the magma is known as Geothermal Energy. Magma is the layer of hot and molten rock found below Earth’s crust.
The word geothermal comes from the Greek words geo means earth and thermal means heat.
It is assumed that there is 50000 times more geothermal energy available than all the oil and natural gas resources in the world.
Traditionally geothermal energy was used for bathing and heating purposes. Nowadays it is also used for generating electricity.
Iceland is the world leader in direct applications of geo-energy. Some 92.5% of its homes are heated with geothermal power. So, this is the best example of residential geothermal energy.
India has a reasonably good potential for geothermal energy still this renewable energy is not trapped so effectively. Don’t know, but the cost of geothermal energy is within range of other electricity choices available today.
Four types of geothermal power plants are in operation worldwide. They are, Flashed steam plants, dry steam plants, Binary power plants, and hybrid power plants.
Advantages Of Renewable Energy Sources
Ever you questioned why is renewable energy important? Why is alternative energy important? Simply, because of pollution-free energy source.
The environmental benefits of renewable energy are considered worldwide, hence promoted by all nations.
- You gain energy independence when you install a solar system in your home. It is cost-effective in the long run.
- The introduction of wind energy is better for the environment. Wind turbines can help many rural economies.
- Hydroelectricity is sustainable since it is ultimately a product of the water cycle.
- Geothermal energy is one of the cheapest energy sources available to humans. Geothermal energy can be extracted all year long.
- Investing in renewable energy can lead to job creation also.
What other benefits of renewable resources or any other clean energy source do you know? Put it in a comment.
Besides this information, you are suggested to read something more from below engineering books
To get the more details about the topic, I further recommended reading
- Energy Technology-Non Conventional, Renewable & Coventional
- Solar Energy: Principles of Thermal Collection and Storage
- Nuclear Energy: What Everyone Needs to Know
- Wind Energy Basics
- Hydroelectric Energy
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