Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Brief Introduction to Renewable Energy

By Alexis Jameson

With environmental concerns as they are today, renewable energy is enjoying a time of heightened interest. Renewable energy can come from a number of sources such as wind, water, sunlight and heat from geothermal sources. Today, approximately 20% of the energy in the world comes from renewable sources. While most of this comes from burning wood a very large amount also comes from hydroelectricity.

Although it is proving controversial, wind power is becoming rapidly more popular these days. This type of renewable energy comes from wind farms, huge areas of land which are given over to dozens of wind turbines. Because of the relatively small amount of energy produced by wind turbines, they require a great deal of space to produce a worthwhile amount of power. This can severely damage local environments, however, they can also be placed its sea in certain cases.

Wind power, of course, is wind that is converted into electricity by way of wind turbines. This technology has however proven controversial due to the fact that it requires an enormous amount of land to build enough windmills to generate a satisfactory amount of electricity. These wind farms are not only unsightly, but they can be damaging to the local environment. Fortunately, however, they can also be placed in the sea.

Energy from water is called hydroelectricity. This kind of energy is created by way of water wheels and water mills and dams. The biggest advantage of a hydroelectric power, is that it is relatively cheap to produce and also brings us a lot of power, currently supplying the world with 19% of its electricity. Hydroelectric power can also come from waves and the force of the tides.

Another form of renewable energy is biofuel, which is derived from recently dead biological material, as opposed to fossil fuels which come from organic matter left by creatures and plant life long dead. The technology that utilises biofuel is rapidly becoming more popular, with a number of flexible fuel cars starting to appear on the market.

Renewable energy can also come from tapping directly to the natural heat sources of the planet. This type of renewable energy is called geothermal energy. The kind of power stations which are required to convert the earth's heat into energy is, unfortunately rather expensive, although quite economical to run.

When it comes to renewable energy, the industry is growing quickly and many companies are starting to capitalise on the increasing demand for environmentally friendly energy solutions. One of the fastest growing industries with regards to renewable energy is that of solar power with more and more people installing solar panels in their homes.

These are worrying times for the world today. With the rapidly growing population, comes a far higher need for energy and we are rapidly running out of non Renewable Sources of energy. However, it gives us hope to know that the industry of renewable energy is rapidly increasing and at last governments and individuals are starting to do something about the problem.

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