Every year, significant amounts of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere with the combustion of fossil fuels. These gases are the major contributors to global warming. It is, therefore, the need of the hour to use renewable energy that produces little or no emissions. This type of energy is sustainable, which means it is almost an endless source of energy.
Another term commonly used today to describe this type of energy is ‘alternative energy’. It refers to the sources of energy that are used as an alternative to the common non-sustainable energy sources. Now, let’s take a look at some of the renewable energy sources that can ensure a sustainable future:
1. Solar energy
One of the most abundant and freely available sources of energy on our planet is sunlight. The energy from the sun that reaches the surface of the earth in a single hour is tremendous. It is a lot more than the total energy required by the planet for an entire year.
However, the amount of solar energy that we can utilize varies greatly according to different factors. Among them is the time of the day, the geographical location, and the season of the year.
2. Biomass energy
This form of renewable energy involves conversion of solid fuel created from the materials of plants into electricity. The energy-efficient processes in use today ensures generation of electricity by much cleaner burning of organic materials.
Biomass generates power by converting industrial, agricultural, and domestic waste into solid, liquid, and gaseous fuel. This type of power generation is done in a more economical manner without causing any harm to the environment.
3. Hydro power
Among the most commercially developed renewable energy sources, hydro power is generated with the help of water. This is done by building a dam or a barrier, which creates a large reservoir. It controls the flow of water to drive a turbine, which generates electricity.
It is often more reliable than any of the other energy sources. Hydro power allows the storage of electricity for usage when the demand is high. One of the best aspects of this renewable energy source is that it doesn’t cause pollution. Another environment-friendly feature of hydro power is that it doesn’t release greenhouse gases.
4. Geothermal energy
This form of renewable energy is generated by utilizing the natural heat below the surface of the earth. It can be used either to generate electricity or to heat homes directly. The only disadvantage is that it is only freely available in certain parts of the world.
This is the reason why certain countries located in Europe don’t give much importance to this form of energy. Since it is created underground, it leaves little or no footprint on the earth’s surface. Geothermal energy is replenished naturally. So, it doesn’t run the risk of depletion.
5. Tidal energy
This form of renewable energy uses tidal currents to drive turbine generators and is quite similar to hydro energy. Unlike most of the sources of hydro energy, tidal flow is never constant. Nevertheless, it is still predictable and can make up for the times when tidal current is low.
This makes it more reliable than solar and winds energy as they lack consistency. Another interesting fact worth noting is that it is abundantly available near oceans and harbours. Since most of the populated cities are close to such areas, tidal energy can be harnessed for their residents.