The world community renewable energy is focusing on renewable energy sources to meet its energy needs because they put much less strain on fossil fuels, which are finite and will run out. Renewables include sunlight, wind, the movement of water and the earth’s heat (geothermal). They also produce less pollution and have a lower negative impact on the environment than fossil fuels do.
Solar energy is the most widely used source of renewable electricity today, and it is particularly well suited to generating electricity in countries with abundant sunshine. Solar power systems are based on photovoltaic technology, which converts the sun’s direct light into electric energy by placing a semiconductor on a device called a “cell” or panel. Solar cell efficiency and manufacturing costs continue to improve, making solar an attractive alternative to conventional energy sources.
Renewable Energy: Illuminating the Path to a Sustainable Tomorrow
The second most popular renewable energy source is wind. Wind energy is captured by using turbines to spin propeller-like blades. The resulting kinetic energy turns a generator, which creates electricity. Wind energy is most cost-effective in locations with steady winds, which exist mostly in the Midwest and along coasts.
Hydropower, whose early use included turning paddle wheels on rivers to mill grain and lumber, is the third largest renewable source of electricity in the United States. It depends on generally stable rainfall patterns, but climate change-induced droughts and ecosystem changes can impact this source.
Biomass, a broad category of organic matter that includes everything from plant material to food waste, is another common source of renewable electricity. It is an alternative to coal and oil, but it does emit carbon dioxide. It is a resource that is indigenous to a country, and its development can help reduce balance-of-payment issues and dependence on foreign fuel imports.