The use of renewable energy is booming worldwide as it is now cheaper and promises clean energy for the future. Particularly in the United States, the country is breaking records in solar and wind energy generation.
That means it is slowly replacing the dirty energy which is generated from fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coal, which benefits the environment by emitting lower levels of carbon emissions and other types of pollution brought by the burning fossil fuels.
According to NRDC, the major types of renewable energy are solar and wind energy. While biomass, geothermal energy, hydroelectric power, and tidal and wave energy are other sources of energy.
Six Types of Renewable Energy
The sun has always aided humans in their daily lives, from growing their crops, staying warm, and drying their foods. In modern times, humans have learned to harness solar energy from the sun and use to heat homes and business, to warm water, and to power devices.
The photovoltaic (PV) cells are made from silicon that transforms solar energy to electricity and distributes it locally for homes and businesses that are usually located at the rooftop or community projects that provide electricity for the whole community. There is also the "floattovoltaics" that can be effective to use of wastewater facilities.
In the US, solar energy only comprises less than 1% of electricity generation. It is good to use as it does not produce air pollution or greenhouse gases.
Gone are the old-fashioned windmills and in with the skyscraper-tall wind turbines. The wind turns these turbines which feeds an electric generator and generates electricity.
Wind energy has become the cheapest energy source across the country and amounts to 6% of the electricity generation in the US. Some of the states that use wind energy are California, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Wind turbines can be placed in any high areas with high wind speeds or offshore in open water.
Other Non-Fossil Fuel Sources of Energy
This type of energy comes from plants, including crops, waste wood, and trees, as well as animals. The chemical energy it releases as it is burned produces heat that generates electricity with a steam turbine.
Although it is sometimes mistaken as renewable energy, biomass could come in many forms that produce carbon emissions and harms biodiversity.
Geothermal energy comes from the earth's core that is hot as the surface of the sun. Hot springs are examples of geothermal energy. Those who harvest this energy drills deep wells to bring hot underground water as a hydrothermal source that powers the turbine to generate electricity.
In the Us, hydroelectric power is the largest renewable energy source for electricity though it is expected to be outranked by wind energy in the future. Hydroelectricity is generated through fast-moving water in a river or falls that spins turbine blades and converts the force of that water into electricity.
Tidal and wave energy
Energy generated from the ocean is still in the developmental phase, but experts said that the moon's gravity makes harnessing its power an attractive option. However, generating tidal and wave energy might be harmful to some animals as it works much like the dams. Its power relies greatly on a dam-like structure that will be placed on the ocean floor or just below the water's surface.
Renewable Energy's Role in the US
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable energy plays a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as the country's use of fossil fuels will also decrease. The US largely uses fossil fuels in generating electricity but its renewable energy industry is now booming with 17% of its generated electricity is from renewable energy.
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