Renewable Energy Solutions
Renewable energy is energy produced from sources that do not deplete or can be replenished within a human’s life time.
Wind is a clean, free, and readily available renewable energy source. Each day, around the world, wind turbines are capturing the wind’s power and converting it to electricity. This source of power generation is playing an increasingly important role in the way we power the world. Wind energy is being harnessed onshore and offshore. The free renewable source of wind spins a turbine generating electricity. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, there was over 360,000 MW of installed capacity across the globe at the end of 2014 (General Electric, n.d.).
The sun is a clean, free, and readily available renewable energy source. Solar generating plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A solar power plant converts sunlight into electricity, and there are two different types of solar power plants: photovoltaic and solar thermal.
Geothermal energy is an indigenous environmentally benign source of renewable heat contained in the Earth’s interior, commonly associated with volcanic and tectonic activity. This heat is primarily stored in hot rocks at high depths from the Earth’s surface, and is also found in complex structures of hydrothermal reservoirs at high temperatures (Aldas, Kaparaju, & Moya, 2018).
Hydroelectric energy, also called hydroelectric power or hydroelectricity, is a form of energy that harnesses the power of water in motion—such as water flowing over a waterfall—to generate electricity. Most hydroelectric power plants have a reservoir of water, a gate or valve to control how much water flows out of the reservoir, and an outlet or place where the water ends up after flowing downward (National Geographic, n.d.).
Through the process of photosynthesis, chlorophyll in plants captures the sun's energy by converting CO2 from the air and water from the ground into carbohydrates, which are complex compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. When these carbohydrates are burned, they convert back into CO2 and water, which release the energy that was captured from the sun (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2015).
The gravitational pull of the moon and sun along with the rotation of the earth cause the tides. In some places, tides cause water levels near the shore to vary up to 40 feet. People in Europe harnessed this movement of water to operate grain mills more than a 1,000 years ago. Today, tidal energy systems generate electricity. Producing tidal energy economically requires a tidal range of at least 10 feet (Energy Information Administration, n.d.)