Thursday, February 19, 2009
It has long been observed and proven that nature has already provided man with enough resources for energy—sunlight, geothermal heat, tides, and wind. Because these energy are abundant, in fact, so abundant that they could be replenished perpetually, they have come to be known as renewable energy.
Though extended discussions about renewable energy and its sources can become winded and more complex, every average person interested enough should at least know the basics in order to grasp the concept of how incredibly beneficial these energy sources are.
Man has long harnessed the power of wind and had applied it for practical purposes, albeit in smaller scale such as the power produced in windmills. Current technologies had long converted these simple renewable energy mechanisms to develop wind farms that generate energy supply without the associated risk of pollution
. A lot of wind farms have been established in the United States and abroad to generate electricity. This provides proof on the increasing attraction of using wind power as source of renewable energy while decreasing environment risks and hazards. One critical consideration in establishing wind farms would the presence of constant strong winds, which is why many wind farms are located in elevated areas and even offshore locations are considered viable settings for this kind of renewable energy facility.
Renewable energy from water comes in many different forms. The most common would be the hydroelectric energy that is generated by waterfalls while some areas of the world also generate micro hydro systems that produce smaller amounts of electricity. Renewable energy is also tapped from currents deep under the ocean. This is termed as tidal stream power and several technologies have been developed to harness these viable source. Other sources of renewable energy generated from oceans would be tidal changes, temperature difference, tidal motions, and of course, waves.
Another viable renewable energy source is sunlight, which earth certainly has in abundance. There are numerous technologies developed to tap the solar energy and convert it into electricity, heating systems, and even cooling systems. Though most of these technologies are still in the initial stages, there is no denying the potential benefits promised by this renewable energy source. One of the leading concerns is cost of the materials used, though several affordable yet more efficient designs are still expected to be introduced into the market.
A lot of geothermal power plants had been built and have long been operational in several parts of the world. This is because this source of renewable source of energy generates power at low operating cost. Though some experts may contend that geothermal energy would not last as long as the others and is technically not renewable, it is still expected to provide large amount of power for a long time, even for a hundred years or so. However, it is still classified as a renewable energy source by the International Energy Agency and, like all other sources mentioned above, geothermal energy is reliable and environmentally friendly.
Though none of the renewable energy sources are considered to compete with fossil fuels just yet, it still provide some form of alternative for environmentally conscious individuals and communities in doing their share of lessening environmental degradation and destruction, something we can all ultimately derive benefits from.