Renewable energy systems - General info
Lately there has been some problems in the supply of conventional energy sources (those that come from fossil fuels) so it is really no wonder that more and more nations are interested to use different renewable energy systems in order to satisfy their growing energy demand. All renewable energy systems have one thing in common, namely the fact that there are harnessed from nature. This means that they are constantly replenished unlike the fossil fuels that are likely to run out in years to come. These advantages are making them more and more popular compared to conventional energy sources.
Renewable energy sectors are all about using natural sources to create energy. These natural sources usually include the sun, water, wind, and geothermal sources. The science and technology are constantly developing so it is logical to expect even more renewable energy sources in years to come, as well as the highly improved efficiency of existing ones.
Many people think of the sun, or to be more precise solar energy as the main future energy source. Throughout the history of the humanity Sun has been used to give light and heat but Sun's almost unlimited potential can provide electricity enough for the whole planet. Different methods have been used to harness energy from Sun, and the simplest method is through the use of a photovoltaic cells. Photovoltaic cells contain a special technology that traps the sun's energy and converts it into electricity.
Water is also one very important source for clean renewable energy. The most common form of using water to get electricity is hydroelectric energy that is acquired from large river dams. Hydroelectric power stations are usually built in large river systems that have big quantifies of water. The more water there is, the easier it is to produce kinetic energy, which is then used to produce electricity. Beside hydroelectric energy there are also some other energy sources that harness water to get electricity such as wave and tidal power.
Wind power is also one renewable energy sector in the rise, especially in some European countries like Denmark and Germany. Basically wind power uses the same principle found in hydroelectric dams to convert the wind kinetic energy to electricity. There are lots of windy areas across the globe, and in many parts of the world people are trying to harness wind energy as much as possible, though efficiency of this energy source still remains a big problem, largely because of inconsistency of wind blowing.
Geothermal power is another excellent form of renewable energy system. Geothermal energy uses the heat from deep inside the earth to produce electricity. Various methods have been developed to do this, and the most common method is harnessing the steam that naturally comes out of fissures on the ground. Geothermal energy is mostly used on Iceland.
It is not very had to conclude that if science and technology continue their development, renewable energy systems could be more than enough to satisfy world energy demand in years to come. If this happens this will have very positive effect by eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels, which has blamed as the main factor contributing to climate change problem.
Main advantage of using renewable energy sources
Though there are some significant advantages in using renewable energy sources fossil fuels still remain dominant energy sources in many parts of the world. For instance statistical data shows that the United States still gets 90% of its electricity from fossil fuels and nuclear power plants. Despite recent "go green" strategy in United States coal-burning power plants are still dominant sources for producing electricity. Of course these power plants are also the country's largest emitter of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is mostly responsible for climate change and global warming problem. Coal is really the main source of pollution and greenhouse gases around the world, mainly because this fossil fuel is cheap and easily available which makes its use justifiable from economic point of view.
Obama and the federal government are working hard to decrease country's reliance to coal power by providing at least 20% of country's total energy demand from renewable sources of energy by 2020. Generally speaking ever-increasing use of fossil fuels has done big damage to our environment and now we have to take care of that before it is too late. With this in mind technology and science are working hard to introduce highly improved renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal to lessen our dependence on coal and other fossil fuels.
Many energy experts agree that a very good start would be utilizing the power of the sun. This is the oldest energy source that has vast potential so it is really a surprise why this technology has not been used earlier. As the world energy demand keeps on growing there is also the need to convert the sun's energy to electricity on a much larger scale. Solar power has potential to become one of the most cost-effective renewable energy sources, with a little more investments on solar panels and generators needed to really make the difference. Solar panels that are created nowadays can be very easy adapted with the architectural design of modern-day homes and office buildings. The negative factor are high installation costs that are still more expensive than simply buying power from utility companies, but the benefits can soon bring back that bit more money invested in it.
Wind energy is a cheaper alternative to solar power. There are growing number of people that install do-it-yourself windmills on their lands to generate enough electricity for their homes, ranches, and farms. Windmills of course have long history and tradition of using it, and if you're on a windy location you should definitely consider using this renewable energy source. Some countries like Denmark, Spain, Portugal and the Great Britain are utilizing wind farms to power large portions of their communities. Modern-day wind turbines still haven't been used to their full potential in United States, though there is significant progress in some U.S. states.
Geothermal energy is definitely a renewable energy source to consider. The trapped heat in earth's core can be greater than 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit. By harnessing its steam we can turn this heat into electricity. Besides this we can also use the energy from the underground directly by installing geothermal heat pumps to generate home heating and cooling provisions for both households as well as industrial facilities.
Sustainable energy future can be only done with the help of renewable energy sources and this really is the main advantage that these energy sources have over traditional fossil fuels. World has come to a point where it has to not only satisfy ever-growing energy demand but also to do this on ecologically acceptable way in order to save our environment, and this can't be done without the renewable energy sources.
Why is renewable energy sector so important?
Many energy experts believe that we are using negligible percentage of currently available renewable energy, and that energy sector should be much more exploited than it is today. If we could only be using a small part of currently available Sun's energy for instance that would be more than enough to satisfy global energy demand couple of times.
Using renewable energy sources is not only highly beneficial from energetic point of view but also from ecological point of view because by utilizing the renewable energy we can save our environment for our future generations. Currently the most talked about renewable energy sources are wind and sun, and many people see these two energy sources dominant in years to come.
Our world needs quick awakening and much better use of renewable energy sources if we want to save our planet. Fossil fuels are not only sources of tremendous pollution but also sources of heat trapping gases, most notably CO2, responsible for climate change problem. Therefore it is of vital importance to continue development in science in technology to improve efficiency and cost-competitiveness of renewable energy sources so they'll be able to put fossil fuels aside.
There are certain drawbacks in using renewable energy. For instance the solar power is significantly less effective in cloudy weather and the wind power highly ineffective to use during calm days. But combining couple of renewable energy sources can hide these drawbacks. For instance a home solar power has the ability to generate power all day while a home wind power can generate power only when strong wind blows, so these systems can compliment each other and make up for each others weaknesses.
Unless we choose renewable energy future as the "energy go guide" the world will not only have problems with future energy demand but we'll be also creating tremendous environmental mess that will make life of future generations very difficult.