In the present day, coal, oil, gas and nuclear energy are the main sources of power in the world. But it is time we took all the renewable “green” energy resources that we see around a bit more seriously. These renewable sources not only have the potential to bring power to some of the poorest regions in the world and boost energy security for nations dependent on imports, but also reduce CO2 emissions that are creating more and more problems around the world by fuelling global warming. Let’s look at the most important green resources that are available to us.
Solar energy, along with secondary solar-powered renewable power sources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity, geothermal energy and biomass account for most of the renewable resources on earth.
This renewable source has been used by humans since ancient times. This source is important not only for humans but also for all life forms on the face of the earth. But in the present day, only a very little fraction of the available solar energy is used by us.
Solar energy technologies can be used to harness the sun’s energy to provide heat, light, hot water, electricity, and even cooling, for homes, businesses, and industry.
And it is a renewable source since it will be providing us with heat and light energy at least for the next 5 billion years. And more importantly that energy is pollution free. It is also cost effective in terms of fuel, because no fuel is required, and its price would not be affected by the supply and demand of fuels.
As you might know, about 60% of all the greenhouse gases are due to the use of fossil fuels. Wind power, as an alternative to fossil fuels, is renewable and plentiful. It is clean, widely distributed and produces no greenhouse gases or radioactive or toxic waste during the process of power production.
A wind turbine, which is affordable and sustainable, creates reliable and cost-effective energy. One wind turbine can be used to generate energy for a household.
The force of falling or flowing water is another renewable source of energy. The generation of electricity by using hydropower is the most widely used form of green energy source. We get the water to run the power plant free from nature. Rainfall renews the water in the reservoir, so the fuel is almost always there.
Even now, this energy source plays a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The usage of hydropower also has the advantage of low operations and maintenance costs, and the technology is reliable and has been proven over time.
Biomass, which is carbon, hydrogen and oxygen based, is also a renewable energy source. It is derived from energy sources such as garbage, wood, waste, landfill gases, and alcohol fuels. Biomass is used to produce steam which can be in turn used to produce electricity.
Biomass plants also produce CO2. But the cycle of growing, processing and burning biomass recycles CO2 from the atmosphere. And it can be produced locally which saves on transportation costs.
The energy from ocean waves can also be used for the production of power. That energy can be harnessed using a wave energy converter for industry uses such as the generation of electricity, water desalination, or the pumping of water into reservoirs.
This energy source is renewable and green. It is also pollution-free and its net potential (resource minus “costs”) is equal to or better than wind, solar, small hydro or biomass power.
Tidal power is also a form of hydropower that converts the energy of tides into useful forms of power – mainly electricity. It is also a renewable source, and it is more predictable than wind energy and solar power.
It is the thermal energy that is generated and stored in the Earth. It is cost effective, reliable, sustainable and environmentally friendly. It is pollution free as it uses hot water or steam from deep within the Earth.