The Role of Renewable Energy
Renewable energy is described as the energy obtained from virtually inexhaustible natural sources, whether it is because of the large amount of energy that they contain or because they regenerate by natural means. We have a separate article that was written a few months back that clarifies this in more detail.
These forms of energy differentiate from others in the variety of ways you can take advantage of them and their abundance within the world, but mainly because they do not produce contaminating greenhouse gases. The growth in use of renewable energy is continual expanding, as they are essential for combating the effects of climate change. For this reason, the United Nations (UN) aims to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030, a long journey to be made, as the estimations from the International Energy Association (IEA) state that by that date there will still be about 800 million people without access to a supply of electricity.
As mentioned before, the previous post explains various different renewable energy sources according to the natural resources used to create energy. The following is a list of those resources:
- Geothermal with Intense Enthalpy
- Geothermal with Low Enthalpy
- Personal Wind Power
- Photovoltaic Solar
- Thermal Solar
- Solar Thermoelectric
However, what are non-renewable energy sources? To detect which resources are renewable or not, these energy sources have limited reserves that ultimately lead to their reduction with each use. As the reserves decrease, it costs more to extract them which increases their price as well. The following are some examples:
- Petroleum: Made up of different hydrocarbons (compounds formed by carbon and hydrogen atoms in variable amounts).
- Coal: Rock formed by carbon and other substances.
- Natural Gas: This source of fossil fuel consists of a mix of hydrocarbons.
- Nuclear Energy: This is obtained by bombardment, with high velocity neutrons, the atoms of certain substances.
What are some advantages to using renewable energy?
They will not run out, on account of both the magnitude of the resource and because it naturally regenerates itself. Its availability is the same as that of the sun and they are adaptable to natural cycles.
They are clean and do not produce waste, as they do not emit gases in the process of generating energy. They do not produce CO2 emissions and contaminating gases.
They produce competitive growth. Scalable economies and innovation achieve that these sources of energy become the most sustainable remedy, not only environmentally but also economically.
Favourable political horizon: Society has understood the obligation to strengthen the change directing it toward an economy lower in coal for the future of the planet. In favour of the decarbonisation of the economy pushing for clean energy technology.
They reduce energy dependency. In any location it is possible to find a renewable resource such as wind, sun, water, etc. It can be taken advantage of to produce energy in a sustainable way.
There are certain renewable energies that are less common, the following are a few examples:
Geothermal energy: It obtains electric energy from the natural heat inside of the earth. Geothermal energy is considered clean and renewable while it emits greenhouse gases, but it is less than 5% of what is produced by coal plants.
Energy from tides and waves: This generates electric energy from the tide rising and lowering and it can also be produced from submarine currents. Wave energy is very new but it takes advantage of the potential of the waves to generate new energy through turbines. Both forms of technology are very new and still not highly profitable.
Biomass energy: This is the electricity generated by biological resources, which uses animal and plant organic material. The biomass plants function similar to fossil fuel plants. It was with the arrival of coal that set biomass apart.
Largest Projects of Renewable Energy in the World:
–Three Gorges Dam (China). Hydroelectric energy: This is the source that produces the largest amount of clean energy in the entire world. This energy is reliable, efficient and has a low cost of production and maintenance. It has a potential of 22,500 MW. The dam is more than 2 km in length and 181 metres in height.
-Wind Power (USA): This has a potential of 1500 MW. The installation began functioning in 2011, with five operational units. It has a total of 586 turbines. -Ironbridge (UK): Biomass Energy: This energy plant has the largest amount of biomass in the world, it was reconverted and now generates biomass energy from wood pellets. It has a capacity of 740 MW.
-Solúcar y Andasol (Spain). Photovoltaic Energy: In Sanlúcar la Mayor (Seville, Spain) there is the Platform Solúcar with three plants that have a potential of 50 MW. -The Geysers (USA). Geothermal Energy: 350 wells of water feed a total of 22 geothermal energy plants that form geysers.
-Magallanes Project: 45 metres in length and 360 tonnes of weight.
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