Renewable Energy is the Future
For hundreds of years the United States has obtained most of its power from fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil. While these are excellent at providing the power we need, they have numerous drawbacks. As non-renewable energy sources, these are finite resources that cannot be replenished. They are also increasingly more difficult and damaging to our environment to retrieve, making them harmful to our planet. Fortunately, there are alternatives to fossil fuels that are being used more and more and will be able to provide the clean, renewable energy we need for the future. Here is a look at the most promising.
Solar energy, which comes from the sun, is a powerful energy source and can be used for heat, cooling, and light. With more energy from the sun hitting earth in a day than can be used in a year, solar is an abundant source of energy and can be harnessed with solar panels. With the increasingly improved solar technology, solar panels can be connected to grids or batteries that can store energy or share it between interconnected homes or businesses.
Windmills have long been used to pump water and grind grain on thousands of American farms. Windmills have evolved into the modern wind turbines to turn wind energy into electricity. Turbines can be used by themselves to generate electricity for a home or farm, or, like solar, they can be connected to a power grid or a solar cell system to share power. Wind farms, where a large number of wind turbines are built close together, are also becoming more popular.
The heat from the earth is a powerful source of energy and can be drawn from hot water or steam reserves, from geothermal reservoirs, or from shallow ground near the earth’s surface. The geothermal energy derived from these sources can be used to produce electricity and drive generators and can also be harnessed to produce heat directly from the ground. The most popular and widely known form of geothermal energy is heat pumps used for both heating and cooling.
Water, or hydropower, is easy and inexpensive to obtain and all but two states in the US use it for electricity. In fact, almost 75% of Washington state’s power comes from water. By using a dam or diversion structure to alter the natural flow of water in a river or other moving water source, hydropower can be harnessed and used to produce electricity and other forms of energy. Though this power has been used in many large-scale applications, there is still more research that needs to be done to discover its uses on a smaller scale.
Renewable energy sources are vital to the survival of our planet and the four sources mentioned above are excellent alternatives to our quickly depleting fossil fuels. If you have questions about renewable energy and how to use it in your home or business, please visit our website.