What Does Renewable Energy Mean?

Renewable energy is a clean, safe and sustainable way of producing power through methods such as wind turbines, solar panels and hydroelectricity. These renewable sources of energy are constantly replenished and can never be exhausted. Renewable energy has been around for centuries in the form of biofuels.

In this article, we will have a look at the concept of renewable energies and how they can contribute to our life.

Renewable Energy Source

Renewable energy is not something new; it has been around for many years in the form of traditional sources like hydroelectricity, solar power, geothermal heat or wind power. They are called “renewable” because they can never be exhausted, unlike fossil fuels. In this article, we will have a look at the concept of renewable energies and how they can contribute to our life.

Renewable Energy Definition

The definition of ‘renewable energy’ is not an easy one. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), “An energy source is considered ‘renewable’ if it is replaced by natural processes, as opposed to fossil fuel resources that take millions of years to form and supply energy for a short time.” In that context, nuclear power would be considered a renewable energy. However, the term “renewable” covers much more ground.

Renewable Energy vs. Energy from Fossil Fuels

The current sources of energy around the world such as oil, natural gas and coal (and to a lesser degree uranium) are all finite resources which means that they cannot be replaced once exhausted. They are also known as “non-renewable” or “fossil fuels”. This is in complete contrast to our definition of renewable energy. These resources are burned to produce heat, which is then used to generate power through steam turbines. The steam produced directs these turbines which are connected to generators that produce electricity. Therefore the use of fossil fuels has an effect on our environment as well as having other disadvantages such as being economically very expensive compared to the renewable sources of energy.

Renewable Energy Benefits

With the discovery and use of fossil fuels came many benefits such as improvement in technology, economic growth and industrialization; however we may be paying too high a price for them. With regards to our environment, these fuels emit greenhouse gases which are known to cause global warming. Carbon dioxide, the most emitted greenhouse gas is produced by burning fossil fuels. Renewable energies such as solar power and wind power can help us reduce these harmful gases and also supply energy to our society.

Renewable Energy Drawbacks

With all these positive sides of renewable sources of energy, we do come across a few disadvantages, which include:

The cost involved in setting up and maintaining these renewable sources of energy is very high compared to the conventional ones. Solar panels, for example, are expensive and require much maintenance as well as special placement to get maximum output. Wind turbines also need to be placed in an area where there is a continuous air flow such as coastal regions or hilltops. This is one of the main reasons why some countries have not yet completely switched over to renewable energies.

Renewable Energy

This article has provided a basic understanding on renewable energies and its benefits. As time goes by, many advancements are being made in this field including new sources of clean energy that can be used all around the world and not just in one particular geographical location. One such source is tidal power which produces energy from the rise and fall of tides. Geothermal energy from the earth’s core is also a new method that many countries are now employing. In conclusion, renewable energies will play a vital role in our life as fossil fuels become depleted.