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What is Renewable Energy?

by | Mar 9, 2022 | Renewable Energy

Introduction

With the rise in population, the demand for resources also increases and leads to intensive industrialization to meet the population’s demand, changing the environment and lifestyle of humans. The change occurs due to energy consumption in various sectors like transport, aviation, commercial and technological. All these sectors need the energy to work, and that energy is obtained from fossil fuels like coal, petrol, and natural gas. Coal is used to produce electricity, petrol and natural gas is used in the transport and aviation sector. These energy resources transform our world, but due to their exhaustive nature and causing pollution in the environment, there is a need to use alternative energy resources, like renewable resources, which are eco-friendly, and continuously formed in nature. These energy resources are sustainable-example- solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, tidal energy, hydropower energy, and ocean thermal energy.

Characteristics feature of renewable energy

  • They are continuously regenerated in nature through natural processes.
  • They are not limited and usable indefinitely.
  • These are present in large amounts in nature.
  • It develops in a short amount of time.

Comparison between Renewable and Non-Renewable Energy

Non-renewable energy resources:

Non-renewable energy resources are limited, and continuous use depletes their amount and causes pollution. Fossil fuels and minerals are examples of non-renewable energy resources. Minerals are decreased by constant use, and their sustainable formation requires a long time because geologic processes form them. For example:- diesel, petrol, gold, diamond, iron ore coal are extracted from the earth’s crust which was formed probably a hundred million or billions of years ago. They cannot be replenished once they are consumed. They are economical, finite, and affect the environment.

Fossil Fuels: These are non-renewable energy resources that consist of coal, petrol, and natural energy. Fuel oils are extracted from the earth’s crust through drilling stored in deep reservoirs, and shale stones formed from dead marine organisms. Oil fuel is purified, and different components are extracted for different purposes.

Minerals Ores: These resources consist of soft and hard rock minerals extracted through underground or surface mining, iron obtained via open-pit mining, and coal extracted by cut and filling mining method. Coal is categorized into three categories based upon heating value: anthracite is the highest grade coal, second is bituminous, and third is lignite, which is the lowest graded coal.

Renewable energy resources:

Renewable energy resources are indefinite, continuously replenished in nature without causing environmental pollution. They help mitigate environmental or climate change and global warming- for example, solar, wind, tidal, hydropower, geothermal energy. They are a clean energy resource. Their cost is high, and they are non-conventional energy resources.

Need For Renewable Energy

As the population and its consumption rise, the energy demand also rises to fulfil the needs. Countries worldwide use fossil-based fuels like coal, petrol, and natural gas due to their economic value and easy availability. Their continuous use creates environmental pollution and depletion of energy reserves. So due to environmental pollution and its exhaustive nature, there is a need to use alternative energy sources like renewable energy, which is environment friendly, sustainable, and non-polluting. It helps mitigate global warming climate change, increase energy security, helps to conserve natural resources and the ecosystem.

Classification of Renewable Energy

Classification of Renewable energy

 

Renewable energy is classified into different categories such as:-

Solar energy: This energy can be harnessed by imitating photosynthesis trapping the solar radiations by photovoltaic technology, converting solar energy into electrical energy.

Wind energy: The use of wind can harness this type of energy. The wind strikes on the wind turbine, causing the wind turbine’s movement, which converts the wind kinetic energy into electrical energy.

Hydro: This energy can be produced by moving water when it hits the turbine and changing the mechanical energy into electrical energy.

Geothermal: This energy can be harnessed from the deep earth crust by using steam and used to produce electricity.

Tidal power: This energy is harnessed from the periodic ocean tide, which occurs twice daily. The tidal water stored in the high ground is released to derive the turbines from producing the electricity.

Biomass: This type of energy is obtained from biomass produced by living beings as a by-product. That by-product is used to produce gas like methane, converted into solid fuel.

 Advantages:

  1. Renewable energy resources are the cleanest and most sustainable energy resources.
  2. Pollution-free energy resources and no negative impact.
  3. Reduce dependency on fossil fuel use and energy bills.
  4. Increase energy security.
  5. Create new job opportunities.
  6. It helps to solve environmental problems.

Limitations:

  1. They are non-conventional
  2. Their capital cost is high
  3. Need technology advancement to harness the energy effectively.

How Can Renewable Energy Benefit the Environment?

As renewable energy is continuously formed and renewed in nature, make it is eco-friendly. To harness this kind of energy does not harm the environment or pollute the environment as non-renewable resources cause pollution. It protects nature and natural resources from overexploitation and depletion. It helps to reduce greenhouse gases, climate change, and global warming by reducing the dependency on fossil fuels and conserving the earth’s ecosystem.

 

 

Author

  • The author has done a master's in Environmental science and is currently working as chief Environmental Advisor with New Delhi State Government.

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