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Renewable Energy 101

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FWith the Earth's rapidly changing climate, it's important for us to consider more eco-friendly sources of energy. Renewable energy provides many alternatives that reduce pollution, lower costs and rely solely on the planet's naturally replenished resources.

Learn more about renewable energy and the most popular forms expected to take over the world in years to come.

What is renewable energy, really?

Any energy that's derived from a natural resource like wind, water or the sun (solar power) is considered renewable. Humans don't have to make anything in order for the resources to be available, and utilizing this energy source creates a natural cycle of give and take. Renewable energies are constantly replenished. This contrasts technologies such as oil, which will eventually be exhausted.

Further, another term frequently used when researching renewable energy is "alternative energy." Alternative energy refers to any energy source or process that doesn't rely on fossil fuels. Since most fossil fuels will run out within the next 200 years, it's important for humanity to look ahead and begin adopting alternative energy sources to maintain existing reserves and prepare for a world without gas, oil and coal.

What are the most popular types of renewable energy?

Wind

Wind turbines are one of the fastest growing renewable energy technologies. China has the biggest wind power generator in the world, and the United States follows up in second place. Wind power is expanding across Europe.

Wind turbines will continue to become staples of electricity production on both a personal and global scale.

Solar Energy

Rooftop solar energy is one of the most familiar types of renewable energy to people nowadays. Solar panels are installed on homes and office buildings to reduce energy consumption. On a larger scale, solar power is transforming major industries and their total reliance on power from the outside.

Solar power creates pure energy that does not pollute and can even earn people useful tax credits.

Water

Water energy sources include wave, tide and hydroelectric technology. Hydropower uses reservoirs and other fast-moving natural bodies of water to generate electricity on a large scale.

Biomass

The term biomass refers to any plant or animal byproduct that can be transformed and turned into a viable energy source. Biomass becomes bioenergy, which is rapidly growing and changing the world. In 2017, biomass accounted for 5 percent of the United States' primary energy use.

Throughout the world, bioenergy is implemented to generate electricity or heat. Biomass currently makes up 4.8 percent of Great Britain's electricity. For example, Algae and microscopic plants have been used to power aquatic robots, which are designed to help clean up oil spills and other ocean pollutants.

The Importance of Renewable Energy in Everyday Life

Renewable energy will reduce harmful gas emissions, reduce global warming and help slow down the devastating effects of climate change on the world's rich ecosystems and wildlife. Currently, You may hear mostly about wind turbines and solar energy, but these technologies only scratch the surface of what renewable energy can do for both large populations and individual consumers.

As the population grows, urbanization will become less of a desire and more of a necessity. More people use more energy, which means efficient, renewable sources capable of producing massive amounts of electricity and heating will only become more important.

As renewable energy becomes more commonplace, many of the breathing problems and health issues caused by pollution will decrease. Public health will improve, and costs of energy will drop as more of it is available for much less work.

The expanding renewable energy industry will also open up plenty of job opportunities in the U.S. and abroad. With so many discoveries and innovative technologies being developed, it's time to turn our attention toward renewable energy and learn more about how we can support it and help make a difference.

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