Today, we all rely on various forms of power to keep us operating at our full potential.
Whether it’s the electricity that powers your computer at work and helps you to complete your daily tasks or the energy that keeps your appliances running at home, chances are that you are exposing yourself to more energy sources than you realize.
Unfortunately, if you’re still relying on a traditional, nonrenewable energy source, you could be harming the world around you.
The good news for today’s environmentally-conscious consumers is that you don’t have to subject future generations to a world that’s still reliant on nuclear and fossil fuels. Alternative energy sources, ranging from wind farms to solar panels, can help us to eliminate problems like global warming, greenhouse gasses, and dangerous carbon dioxide emissions.
Today, we’re going to introduce you to the types of renewable energy that you could use to change the world.
What Are The Main Sources Of Energy?
To begin considering the potential of alternative renewable energy sources, you need to start by understanding the many different kinds of power that we have to access in the world today.
Remember, nearly everything that we use in the world today requires some form of energy. Systems that can store large amounts of energy and transmit it into different appliances are “energy resources.” These energy resources power:
- Homes: For cooking, appliances, and heating
- Public services: Such as hospitals and schools
- Factories and farms: Keeping the supply chain moving
- Transportation: Trains, cars, busses, boats, and planes
As valuable as energy is to our way of life, it can also cause damage to the environment around us. Releasing energy from certain stores can cause harmful waste products. For instance, burning fossil fuels as sources of energy creates emissions like carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions. These fossil fuels can include everything from natural gas to coal or oil.
Although there are many different ways people can access a source of electricity today, we’re still most likely to turn to fossil fuels for the energy resource that we need. That’s mostly because of:
- The high output that fossil fuels can provide compared to other forms of renewable energy technology and nonrenewable energy.
- The existing infrastructure that we already have to access fossil fuels as a source of energy or electricity. This can make accessing fossil fuels easier and cheaper than generating electricity with things like utility-scale solar.
What Are The 6 Sources Of Energy Besides Fossil Fuels?
As mentioned above, fossil fuels and coal-fired power plants often make up the most significant source of energy in our current landscape. However, the risks associated with this kind of fuel, including greenhouse gas and climate change, means that we’re all looking for alternative methods of energy consumption.
Aside from fossil fuels, the other six sources of energy include:
- Hydroelectric power: One popular form of renewable energy on the market today is hydroelectric energy, a solution generated from dams built on rivers and other water bodies. These tools make power using the flow of water. Transmission lines then send the generated power to houses and other establishments. Hydroelectric energy is much more efficient as an energy source than natural gas, and other fossil fuels that lead to carbon emissions. Unfortunately, building dams and other tools to harness hydroelectricity can be problematic in some places, too, as it disrupts natural habitats.
- Geothermal energy: Another alternative to fossil fuels and natural gas when it comes to organic energy sources is Geothermal biomass electricity. This is the power that’s produced from beneath the earth, using heat. Inside of the earth’s crust, high temperatures occur due to the slow decay of particles. Hot rocks heat water that produces steam, which can then move turbines to power up generators. Those generators provide natural sources of energy for companies and homeowners to harness. The largest group of geothermal power plants in the world today are located at The Geysers in America.
- Nuclear energy: Perhaps not as clean as geothermal and hydroelectric power, nuclear energy is another option among new energy sources. This strategy uses a process called nuclear fission to produce electricity. Since the nuclear reactors’ energy output is higher than that of other sources of energy, you can create a more efficient energy supply with nuclear energy than you can with different nonrenewable strategies. Unfortunately, nuclear power is not a renewable energy source, and accidents with this kind of nonrenewable energy have caused significant health hazards over the years.
- Tidal energy: Similar in some ways to hydroelectric power, tidal energy is a renewable form of hydroelectric energy creation that uses power made from the movement of ocean tides. This safe form of electricity doesn’t emit any harmful emissions. Tidal power plants are very long-lasting and great for producing high amounts of electricity. However, building tidal power plants can be a costly activity, similar to providing biomass energy with geothermal structures.
- Wind energy: A potential alternative to biomass and natural gas energy sources, wind energy is generated using turbines. The energy produced by the turbines provides enormous amounts of power for homes and commercial businesses. Compared to launching a nuclear or hydroelectric environment, creating a wind turbine is much safer, more efficient, and less likely to expose you to carbon emissions. However, winds aren’t reliable, so it’s hard to ensure that you will get enough energy from a wind farm compared to other power plants.
- Solar energy: By far, the best and most reliable form of electricity generation for those who want power without fossil fuels. Solar energy uses the rays of the sun to create power. Generating solar power doesn’t cause any pollution or emissions, and it’s an efficient option for both commercial and residential use. Most solar panels today offer simple forms of clean energy, with long-lasting warranties. What’s more, unlike coal-fired power plants, and nuclear power plants, there are no dangers to using utility-scale solar to generate electricity.
Renewable Vs. Nonrenewable Energy Resources
Most experts today agree that the way we generate power needs to change. As the types of renewable energy available increase, from Solar PV options to heat pumps, there’s no excuse for the human race to continue generating carbon emissions and greenhouse gas emissions.
A renewable energy resource, like wind farms, biomass, geothermal, and hydroelectricity, allows us to generate electricity without having to worry about putting future generations at risk. By sticking with a renewable resource, we can make the world a better place, without having to give up on the conveniences that come with having access to endless electricity.
Governments around the world are looking for a new electricity source to help them have higher energy efficiency. Already, there are various programs in place that help businesses and homeowners alike to tap into things like solar panels and wind farms as their primary source of energy. This demand for clean, alternative energy is likely to grow even higher as the threats around global warming continue to grow.
According to reports around the world, global warming emissions and carbon dioxide are leading to everything from more frequent storms to changes in the seal level. In the US alone, 29% of emissions come from the energy sector, mostly from fossil fuels like natural gas and coal.
If a country as large as the United States could switch to a renewable source of energy instead, then the world could benefit drastically. Solar energy and other alternatives to fossil fuels come with absolutely no dangerous emissions to consider.
Additionally, because solar energy requires no water to operate, unlike other sources of energy, they don’t pollute our water resources or strain supply chains by competing with things like agriculture and drinking water reserves. In contrast, fossil fuels and natural gas can have a significant impact on water resources because thermal power plants, nuclear plants, and others all consume water for cooling purposes.
How Does Solar Energy Work?
The industry for renewable power is growing at an incredible rate, particularly as innovation in solar panels and other technology begins to deliver on a more accessible future for clean energy. In America, in particular, wind and solar energy generation are breaking records for integrations into the national energy grid.
While many think of renewable energy opportunities like solar power as a relatively new company, the power of nature has long been used for transportation, heating, lighting, and more. Wind-powered boats and windmills for generations, after all.
We turned to fossil fuels because they seemed like a more convenient and less-expensive way to retain electric power. However, now that renewable energy is more accessible, solar power is becoming the option of choice for many business leaders. Even some rural communities are discovering the benefits of solar power today.
Solar PV or photovoltaic power comes from cells and panels. These panels use silicon and other materials that can transform sunlight into energy. Distributed solar systems worldwide are generating energy locally for homes and businesses alike, through rooftop panels and grids that can power entire neighborhoods at once.
Right now, solar supplies around 1% of the electricity generation in the US. However, there’s plenty of opportunities for growth.
Is Solar Power The Best Renewable Power Source?
While there are benefits to other renewable energy sources, like wind farms and biomass power, most people agree that solar electricity is the best way to turn much of the world onto renewable strategies. Solar energy produces absolutely no toxic byproducts, and it doesn’t contribute to climate change at all.
What’s more, solar energy might be the most reliable source of sustainable energy. While we can’t always guarantee that the wind will blow, or that tides will remain consistent, we know that the sun will always end up shining. Indeed, there’s virtually no place on earth that doesn’t have access to the sun. While hydroelectricity and wind power are clean and renewable energy sources, they’re not always accessible to everyone. It’s worth noting, too, that a hydropower plant often endangers many of the delicate ecosystems that exist around the source of the water.
Alternatively, you can place your solar panels on your roof without worrying about affecting the wildlife around you. This means that individual consumers can get involved in changing the world through solar power, as well as large companies and organizations.
Studies have even begun to show that adding solar panels to your property could increase the value of your home too. You save thousands on your energy bill because you’re generating your clean power. Additionally, solar panels can increase the value of your property on a sale of 20:1.
Solar power delivers independence from the utility firms that are continually ramping up their prices in a world where we’re relying on massive amounts of electricity. You can ignore the stress of having to live off the grid. In some cases, you may even be able to sell some of the power that you generate back to the electricity and power plant.
Once installed, you don’t need to do a lot of maintenance to keep your solar panels in excellent condition. Most solar panels don’t require a lot of cleaning or regular repair, and they often come with warranties to give you extra peace of mind as well.
Why We Should All Be Using Solar Energy
Learning about the different sources of energy and various fuels in the world should have given you an insight into the opportunities that you have as a homeowner or business owner today. While wind and hydroelectricity are excellent, they don’t match up to solar power when it comes to convenience.
Unlike other forms of clean or renewable energy, solar power gives us access to a consistent source of electricity that we can trust. All around the world, we can rely on the sun to provide us with the necessary power to keep the world running. Although a solar panel isn’t efficient enough to harness the sun’s full power for recycled use, they are becoming increasingly more powerful over the years.
If you’re willing to change the way that you live today and harness the advantages of solar power, you could be on the cutting edge when it comes to exploring the next generation of energy production, as well as saving money and helping the environment in the meantime.