What Is Renewable Energy & Types of Renewable Energy

What is Renewable Energy? Today, you hear more and more about renewable energy because it’s a booming market. Renewable energy

What is Renewable Energy?

Today, you hear more and more about renewable energy because it’s a booming market. Renewable energy was discovered over a hundred years ago and has been in use for many years. But it’s always been out of reach due to it’s cost. Thanks to a growing demand for greener methods of energy production, and due to advancing technology backed by massive investments, renewable energy solutions have become affordable; providing an economically friendly approach to energy generation. 

In the last five years, America has seen a significant increase in both solar and wind generation as both renewable energy methods  are setting new records. Home owners, business owners and even utilities use solar and wind power to generate electricity. 

But not all sources of renewable energy are beneficial for the environment. For example, although far better than power plants that burn fossil-fuels to generate energy, large dams that produce hydroelectricity have some negative impacts on wildlife. 

Here is an overview of the different kinds of renewable energy and how you can take advantage of these technologies: 

What Is Non-Renewable Energy?

Before going into the different kinds of renewable energy sources, let’s quickly review the different kinds of non-renewable energy. Most electricity is produced by burning substances that create create heat. That heat is then converted into pressure which then produced electricity. Non-renewable energy sources burn fossil-fuels that in turn create pollution. Fossil-fuels include oil, gas and coal. 

Producing energy using fossil-fuels not only produces an immense amount of pollution, but also depletes the planet of important elements and causes damage through mining and extraction. For example, oil drilling in Canada has required strip-mining which has required cutting down large portions of forest. In the United States, a technology called fracking causes water pollution and can cause instabilities in the Earth’s layers increasing the risks of earthquakes. 

Due to the negative effects of “dirty” energy production, more and more home owners, companies and utilities are looking towards green and environmentally friendly energy solutions. 

Types of Renewable Energy

Solar Power

For thousands of years we’ve been using the sun’s energy to grow crops, stay warm, heat homes and businesses and to warm water. According to the National Renewable Energy Lab, “more energy from the sun falls on the earth in one hour than is used by everyone in the world in one year.” 

More recently, through a process called photovoltaic (PV), technology has been developed to create electricity from the sun. Using solar panels composed of small silicon cells (and sometimes other materials) solar panels transform sunlight into direct electricity. 

Today, solar installations help power homes, businesses, Many utilities and co-ops have created solar farms to provide power to entire neighborhoods or sections of their grid. 

As solar power technology advances, we’ve also seen innovative ways to harness the sun’s power through solar panels. For example, giant floating solar panels exist in large bodies of water, taking up unused space to generate energy. Large office buildings can now install solar windows, allowing them to offset large amounts of electricity. Solar roads employ solar technology to not only create power for the grid, but can also create safer roads by melting snow. 

Special solar panel rigs have been developed that can be installed on farms, allowing farms to still grow crops while also producing electricity. 

As long as solar panels are installed properly, they provide an excellent source of electricity with no damage to the environment (not sure if solar power is right for you, read: Should I Go Solar?).

Wind Power

In our 2020 Wind Power Overview, we explained that not only is wind power – as a source of energy – one of the fast growing renewable energy options, but it’s also the cheapest way to produce energy. 

Wind turbines that can be as tall as skyscraper, work to produce energy as the wind turns the turbine blades. Today wind energy generation accounts for about six percent of U.S energy demands, as wind turbines are installed on large plots of lands, in industrial areas of cities and even in the ocean. 

Biomass Energy

Biomass is any organic material that comes from plants or animals. This includes old crops and wasted wood. Biomass energy is created by burning these organic materials, creating heat that in turn produces electricity through a steam turbine. 

Up until recently, biomass was considered to be a clean source of energy production however recent studies show that depending on the organic material burned it can in some cases produce more carbon emissions then burning fossil-fuels. However, when the organic compounds are properly chosen and burned, it is a clean source of energy. 

Hydroelectric Power generation

Unbeknownst to most people, hydro power is the largest renewable source of energy in America. Also in use for hundreds of years, hydro power uses rapidly-moving water to produce electricity. Rapidly-moving water in rivers or a water fall effect created by a dam creates electricity by spinning turbine blades. 

However, large dams and hydro power power plants are not always environmentally friendly. Very big dams can change the natural flows of water and also cause damages to animals who live off of that land and it’s natural resources. Carefully managed and well planned hydro power plants do not cause damage to the environment. 

Geothermal Power

Geothermal energy is created by managing the flow of naturally hot water that occurs under the Earth’s surface. By drilling deep holes, the boiling water is pumped through pipes and through turbines to create electricity. Most geothermal power plants then recycle the water back into the Earth. While the process of creating geothermal energy doesn’t emit any carbon emissions, it can sometimes create damage to Earth’s surface and can pose risks of earthquakes. 

How To Take Advantage of Renewable Energy

Depending on the size of your business, there are different ways you can take advantage of renewable energy technology. 

The first is through renewable energy installments, providing you the ability to create your green and sustainable power. Be it solar panels, wind turbines or mini wind turbines, Energy Professionals offers free consulting services along with free 3D designs using a state of the art system. 

The second option is through the purchase of green energy certificates or by ensuring the energy you use is sourced from renewable energy sources by your utility or energy supplier. Energy Professionals can help you get both, at a competitive price. 

But no matter what type or kind of renewable energy you choose, it’s important that each and every business owner does their part to helping switch over to renewable energy and reducing the amount of energy being produced by energy production that causes damages to our planet.

For more information, contact Energy Professionals or call us at (888) 407-3152

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