Renewable energy can be defined as a form of energy that comes from sources that can be naturally replenished within a reasonable time frame. Topping the list in this form of energy are the following:
This form of energy has existed for many years. As a renewable energy source, technology has found a means of harnessing energy from the sun, through the use of solar panels. Solar panels can be used in 2 major ways. They can be used in the production of heat to warm water (solar thermal), or they could be in the generation of electricity (solar photovoltaics). A popular option in the emerging renewable energy market, solar technology has gained favorability because it is environmentally friendly and it does not generate greenhouse gases.
In this part of the world, the wind is plentiful, and the energy gotten from the wind can be utilized in the generation of electricity. The energy derived from the wind is harnessed through the use of wind turbines – thus converting kinetic energy into mechanical energy. Europe’s favorable climate condition makes it a viable location for the use of wind turbines in electricity generation.
Biomass is a form of renewable energy derived from organic materials such as animals and plants. The most common forms used to generate this form of energy are crops, wood and manure. When these substances are burned, the energy they give off is in the form of heat. For instance, a wood-fueled heating system is a form of energy generation through the use of biomass. Biomass can also be derived when those substances are converted into ethanol, biodiesel fuels and methane gases – which can easily be translated to our current forms of energy consumption.
Environmental benefits of renewable energy
Renewable energy technologies can be seen as clean sources of energy, which have a far lesser impact on our environment than the technologies used in conventional energy.
Renewable energy is a sustainable form of energy. It is the kind of energy that will last for generations – for as long as humanity exists. The depleting nature of other conventional (non-renewable) forms of energy makes them finite in nature – hence, we stand the risk running out of those forms of energy someday.
Renewable energy provides a form of economic growth through job creation – as most renewable energy investments are expended on the procurement of materials and workmanship (labor) – to establish and maintain the energy facilities, rather than making costly energy imports. Also, some of the renewable energy technologies can be built and developed for export overseas – thus providing export revenues, and boosting the economy.
An over-dependence on oil as an energy source is further underscored by the incessant volatility in its price and availability. This over dependence on oil can impact negatively on society and in areas such as the nation’s energy policies. Having an alternative – which is renewable and sustainable, would provide a reasonable form of economic balance.