Top 5 Renewable Energy Sources

Here comes the sun

There is no way around it, our energy demands continue to grow at a frenetic pace as the nation and world populations increase. The traditional means for meeting these demands are outdated and will undoubtedly come up short in the not too distant future. In addition, the once relatively cheap non-renewable sourced have seen dramatic increases in price over the last 25 years and are subject to an extremely volatile market. What’s fortunate however, is that we are becoming increasingly more efficient at delivering power across the country through clean renewable energy. While the more popular renewable power sources are growing in utilization, collectively we should be pressing hard to make the switch to generate our power predominantly from the sources below.

Hydropower Energy

Energy from moving water is the largest source of renewable electricity in the United States.

Hydropower uses a fuel (water) that is not reduced or used up in the process. Turbines and generators convert the energy from flowing water into electricity, which is then fed into the electrical grid to be used in homes and businesses. Since the water cycle is endless, hydropower is considered a renewable energy. It’s important to note however that while water is a renewable resource, rivers themselves are not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wind Energy

 

Wind is a form of solar energy that is caused by the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the irregularities of the earth’s surface, and rotation of the earth. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in the wind into mechanical power to use in the grid. When harvested by wind turbines this energy source can be used to as a power supply for homes and businesses.

Solar Energy

One of the other major players in renewable energy and making huge gains in the sector is solar energy. Inexhaustible and cheaper than ever, solar energy now powers everything from portable radios to homes, stores and even entire neighborhoods. Photovoltaics has seen a drastic decrease in cost of production and as such, have become a popular choice among those looking for a renewable energy source. Photovoltaic (PV) devices generate electricity directly from sunlight by a process that occurs naturally in certain types of material, called semiconductors. Electrons in these are freed by solar energy and can be made to travel through an electrical circuit, powering electrical devices or sending electricity to the grid. In addition to being a clean and renewable power source, some states also allow for bill consolidations to account for the energy your system adds to the energy grid.

Biomass Energy

Plant materials, such as wood, corn, and soy, account for nearly half the renewable energy in America. While it’s widely used, it’s not always sustainable and doesn’t present near the potential of other renewable sources going forward. However, methane power plants installed in landfills do have a renewable aspect to them, as long as garbage keeps getting dumped there!

Geothermal Energy

On the other end of the spectrum, geothermal energy has immense potential going forward as a viable renewable power source. In geothermal power plants steam, heat or hot water from geothermal reservoirs provides the force that spins the turbine generators and produces electricity. In geothermal power plants steam, heat or hot water from geothermal reservoirs provides the force that spins the turbine generators and produces electricity. The used geothermal water is then returned down an injection well into the reservoir to be reheated, to maintain pressure, and to sustain the reservoir.


This article was written by Brian Levesque.  Brian is an electrical engineer and advocate for sustainable power solutions.  Brian currently researches and provides content for Ablaze Energy – the premier solar solution provider for California and New York State.

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