Renewable energy, also referred to as ‘alternative energy’, is energy generated from a natural source that is not depleted when used, such as wind or solar power.
Renewable energy has gained popularity as it does not harm the environment.
The renewable energy market is booming worldwide and is predicted to surpass fossil fuel use, thanks to such factors as falling prices and the Paris Climate Agreement. It is seen by many as a route to mitigating climate change, a problem brought on in part, by the widespread use of fossil fuels such as coal.
Types of renewable energy
Solar – Solar energy is a sustainable form of renewable energy from the sun, which can be used to generate electricity and heat.
Electricity is generated using photovoltaic panels. Solar thermal panels, normally containing a liquid, capture heat from the sun.
Wind – Wind energy is harnessed using wind turbines, located on or off shore.
Wind turns the blades of a turbine, which then turn a generator to make electricity. One large turbine can power roughly 3000 homes.
Geothermal – Geothermal energy is captured from shallow ground or hot water and hot rock found a few miles beneath the Earth’s surface, and even from deeper down from the extremely high temperatures of molten rock called magma. This heat can be used directly or used to generate electricity.
Biomass – Plant and animal matter (biomass) can be burned to create heat or to drive a turbine to generate electricity.
Hydropower – Hydropower is energy harnessed from moving water such as rivers, tides and waves.
Alternatively water is captured in dams and released through a turbine to generate electricity.