Renewable energy is clean and is being generated and used more than ever before. Around the world, individuals and businesses are becoming more aware of energy that comes from natural sources, such as wind, rain, sunlight, and geothermal power. Renewable energy can be replenished, which makes it the best choice in a world with global warming and environmental issues. Besides concerns about climate change, many countries do not want to be dependent on others for oil supplies that are very expensive fossil fuels that place more carbon dioxide and other pollutants in the atmosphere. In the United States, increased government support for renewable energy is spurring more research and development in new small hydro, geothermal, biofuels, and modern biomass. The field of renewable energy has promoted job growth as well, which was important in creating jobs during the recent economic crisis.
The largest source of renewable energy is hydropower which uses the power of flowing water to create energy. River water is mostly used as the water is released into turbines that produce electricity. The Hoover Dam is the largest hydropower source in the United States. There are other large hydropower renewable energy sources around the world, including Akosombo Dam in Ghana, which was built to transfer electricity to aluminum production industries in the area. Hydropower is a very good renewable energy source for providing electricity, but its downside is that it may harm wildlife and fish and affect the quality of water. Another danger is that it could displace humans, such as cases when manmade lakes have flooded or dried up. There is still untapped renewable energy in sources that are still being studied. Scientists are studying the ways that power can be created from ocean waves and tidal energy.
Another popular form of renewal energy is wind power that is widely used in Asia, Europe, and the United States. Energy is produced by a turning wind turbine that produces mechanical energy that is then turned into electrical energy. After that, it is directed to a grid and transmitted to a power station. Two of the largest wind farms in the world are in West Texas. To produce wind energy, there needs to be a consistent flow of wind which is only available in certain areas of the earth.
Solar power is a renewable energy that is commonly used worldwide. There are millions of households around the world that have solar systems which provide energy for cooking and for other purposes. In many places, huge mirrors heat water or generate steam. Solar power can also capture the sun’s power by the use of solar cells that absorb the sun’s radiation to produce electricity.
Biomass is a form of renewable energy that comes from plants, cow manure, and other natural sources. Plants use photosynthesis to hold the sun’s energy, and when burned, they release the energy that was in them. Plants are burned in boilers that heat water and turn a steam turbine. Electricity is created from this process at a biomass power plant. A growing trend is to use biomass fuel that has been captured from landfills to produce dry natural gas from methane. Biomass is a renewable energy because plants can be grown specifically for the purpose of producing energy, or they can be types of waste from plants or animals that would not otherwise be used.
There are many sources of renewable energy that are being developed and that are still in the beginning stages of development. Scientists and researchers hope that they will find even more forms of renewable energy in the future that will eradicate the need for fossil fuels and for dependency on foreign countries to supply costly oil.