The topic of renewable energy is becoming more and more important to discuss as our society moves forward in technology and civilization. While technological advancements are essential for us to grow, it’s also important to consider how our actions might affect the beautiful planet that we call home.
One of the most detrimental practices of the human waste is energy consumption and pollution. Since the concept of harnassing our environment’s materials for energy came about in the early 1800’s, not much has changed since then. America’s needs for cooking, heating, and electrical power has relied mainly on wood burning and fossil fuels from then until the present. Currently, a great majority of the United States’ power comes from burning fossil fuels. While this is a source that provides exactly what we need now, it’s not going to last forever. Now, the US rate for producing renewable energy is skyrocketing, which means that great things are in store for us and our home.
Renewable energy is energy that is extracted from natural sources that replenish themselves quicker than they can be depleted. Things like solar power and wind power are both examples of sources that are being constantly replenished naturally. The other most common alternative renewable energy sources are:
If you think about fossil fuels – coal, oil, and gas – you probably know that these are what is called non-renewable energy source. While we all learned about this in grade school, this topic is extremely important in today’s age. The debate about non-renewable energy is only getting hotter and the need for alternative sources of renewable energy is increasing daily.
The reason that fossil fuels are looked at so negatively is their high emission of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. When these materials are burned for energy, these emissions cause damage to our environment and atmosphere. Over time, these fossil fuels cause many forms of pollution; if you live in a big city, you’re probably familiar with smog, which is a huge issue in modern American cities. Air quality is decreased by these emissions as well, which can be dangerous for humans.
Switching over to clean energy sources reduces greenhouse gas emissions and promotes good climate change all over the world. Renewable sources of energy are becoming cheaper than fossil fuels and can generate up to three times the amount of job opportunities than working with fossil fuels. These new sources of energy are the key to turning a new leaf with our climate crisis.
Solar energy is the most abundant of all renewable sources, as you can harvest its power in most weather conditions, even when it’s cloudy. Solar energy comes in contact with the Earth more than 10,000 times the amount that the human race could consume for power.
Solar devices like solar panels convert waves of sunlight into usable energy that can be used to power heating and cooling, lighting, appliances, and so much more. While geography might affect regions around the world, the opportunity to take advantage of solar energy is present for everybody.
Solar panels have drastically decreased in price and become widely available to the public in the past decade, quickly claiming the spot as the cheapest form of electricity.
Wind energy produces power by harnessing the kinetic energy of air in motion from large wind turbines. These turbines can be placed on land (or onshore) or out at sea (offshore). This method of energy has been used for hundreds of years in things like sailboats and windmills. However, the versatility of onshore and offshore turbines is a relatively new technology that is still evolving.
Just like solar, the opportunity for wind power can vary from region to region. However, the potential that wind energy can provide as a renewable source would exceed the human race’s needs for electricity by several times, making it a reliable and natural energy source.
With the development of offshore wind turbines, the potential for wind power has skyrocketed.
Geothermal energy utilizes the thermal heat that comes from the core of the Earth to produce power. Heat is extracted by using thermal wells or other means that capture and trap heat underground.
Oftentimes, reservoirs that are either naturally heated or improved with hydrolic technology are the ones that provide geothermal power. Once these fluids are brought to the surface, energy is generated.
This technology has been around for nearly 100 years and remains a reliable, renewable source of energy.
Hydropower harnesses the kinetic energy of water flowing from a high elevation to a low elevation. This energy can be generated from reservoirs and rivers, or any other bodies of water that have a flow that decreases in elevation.
A hydropower reservoir can also provide things like irrigation, drinking water, navigation, and flood control services.
This method of sustainable energy is currently the largest standing for electricity. However, it is affected by weather and climate; it can be impacted negatively when a drought occurs or other rainfall patterns change.
This method can have adverse effects on the environment because of the construction that is required to run a hydropower plant. Therefore, a lot of energy companies recommend small-scale plants to reduce their carbon footprint.
Ocean energy plants take advantage of the kinetic energy that is stored in seawater and its waves. Ocean waves generate both energy and thermal heat, which are used to produce electricity.
This method is pretty new and is still in the development stage. Many different types of wave-capturing devices and tidal energy harvesters are still being designed. However, the potential that it shows will well exceed the human power needs and remain eco-friendly and reliable.
Bioenergy is similar to the concept of fossil fuels, but with greatly decreased emissions and the aspect of renewability. Bioenergy takes organic materials, also called biomass, like trees, crops, charcoal, and manures and burns them to create power for cooking, lighting, heating, and other applications.
While burning biomass will create greenhouse gas emissions, they are significantly less than that of burning fossil fuels. While the potential is there for small-scale applications, this form of energy can end up being detrimental to our planet if used in large measures. Deforestation, greenhouse emissions, and other pollutions are possible outcomes of the overuse of bioenergy.
NOW Power is a Texas energy company that is bringing new light to the consumer energy market. Keeping these renewable energy sources in mind, NOW Power wants to bring you the option to choose your power provider, giving everyone the option to go green.
NOW Power’s mission is to provide affordable and customizable electricity plans to the citizens of Texas through the simple click of a button. They offer many different postpaid and prepaid electricity plans that will give you the power you need at a price you love.
This way, we can all save some money and save our homes, too. Take back your power to choose, with NOW Power.