The Hottest Geopolitical Topic for 2020
Renewable energy, alternative energy, clean energy, and green energy. All these terms are becoming increasingly more common. So let’s learn what they are, how they affect your life, and rank which ones are most economically viable and feasible in 2020.
What is Renewable Energy You Ask?
Renewable energy is energy from resources which are naturally replenishing but flow-limited. These energy sources are virtually inexhaustible over time but limited in quantity.
Little known facts about the history of renewable energy
- Romans use renewable energy to heat their houses by moving warm air beneath floors and interior walls.
- A solar-powered plane sets a world record by flying across the United States with no fuel at all in 1990.
- Siemens builds the first-ever commercial offshore wind turbine big enough to power 6,000 homes thirty years ago.
- Albert Einstein receives the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of modern-day solar panel technology.
- Portugal makes history by running on renewable energy for 107 hours in 2016.
Benefits of renewable energy
- One wind turbine can generate enough electricity to power 1,400 houses.
- Renewable energy sources, like solar and wind energy, now generate nearly a third of the UK’s electricity.
- Fossil fuels get four times that the subsidy of renewables from G20 nations.
- Renewable Energy generates five times more jobs than fossil fuels.
The Primary Drivers Behind Energy Alternatives in 2020
The worldwide energy sector is undergoing unprecedented changes. Consumer data shows a noticeable spike in consumption and demand in the energy market place. Scientists are now active in creating effective clean energy technologies such as PV panels, wind, nuclear fusion, biomass, geothermal, marine energy, and focused solar energy.
The Best 5 Renewable Energy Technologies for 2020
There is a growing debate over the best safest renewable energy sources that we can start using today. We rank these energy sources based on the ability to produce it cheap, fast, and safely.
Among the most popular varieties of renewable energy is solar energy. The sun generates solar power which lights up our entire planet. We can harvest energy directly from sunlight and convert it into electricity to power our homes and businesses. In turn, we can use solar energy to make hot water or charge battery systems.
Solar power has benefits for your bank accounts and the environment too. The cost of solar is continually dropping, and installing solar on your house will almost always save you money over time. On top of that, producing solar power doesn’t pollute or discharge fossil fuels, which means that you can lower your environmental impact.
Another kind of renewable energy that we interact with every day is wind. When you feel the wind, you’re merely feeling air moving from place to place as a result of uneven heating of the Earth’s surface. We can capture the power of the wind with massive turbines.
While not necessarily a practical alternative for an individual homeowner, wind power is becoming more popular. We can see wind farms popping up around the world. Like solar power, wind power is pollution-free. It is becoming an increasing and significant clean energy source for providing electricity to grids across the globe.
We can produce renewable energy from moving water just like we can from moving air. We generate power by transferring water through a turbine to create electricity. For instance, at big dams or waterfalls.
Hydropower is currently a significant player in the alternative energy mix. Hydroelectric facilities now contribute over 7.5% of the power we use today. We can produce hydroelectricity through smaller jobs, like submerged turbines and small dams on rivers and streams.
Hydropower is also a non-polluting energy supply because it does not produce emissions. But, hydropower has a higher environmental impact than some other clean sources of energy. That is because they can change water levels, currents, and migration paths for fish and different freshwater life.
The core of the Earth has a natural energy source. Geothermal energy is a promising renewable energy source, with massive potential for energy supply. The planet releases an enormous amount of geothermal heat energy that lies beneath its crust. Occasionally that heat escapes in large amounts all at once, which we see as volcanic eruptions on the surface.
Furthermore, we can use geothermal heat to heat or cool buildings. We can do this with a ground-source heat pump. The process involves creating steam by spinning a turbine below the ground. We can heat or chill the field year-round at a constant temperature.
For example, geothermal energy accounts for 90% of home heating needs and 25% of energy needs in Iceland. However, there are some concerns with geothermal energy. Including the cost of constructing a power plant and its relation to surface instability and earthquakes.
One final example of renewable energy is biomass. Biomass energy refers to any power generated from living organic matter such as animals or plants. Biomass is a clean resource because plants only require energy from sunlight.
Biomass fuels are also thought to be “carbon-neutral”, meaning that they don’t put any excess carbon dioxide into the air. All we need to do is to grow plants, harvest them, and burn them for energy. However, regrowing vegetation takes a lot of time. That leaves the debate over carbon-neutral open for discussion.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Truth
To get at the heart of the debate over alternative renewable energy sources, we must address the good, the bad, and the ugly truth. These components help shape our opinions over the matter. We can parse the winning and losing arguments by understanding the advantages and disadvantages of these energy sources.
We are working hard to promote renewable energy. We all know it has the power to tackle problems that lot of us face. For instance, climate change on a global scale, atmosphere pollution in our cities and towns, and acidity in our oceans. Fortunately, green electricity is increasingly more fashionable and economical around the world.
Renewable Energy Will Not Run Out
Green energy technologies utilize resources straight from the environment to generate power. These energy sources include sun, wind, tides, and biomass. Renewable resources won’t run out, which is not valid for several kinds of modern fuels. Eventually, the fossil fuel system will be hard to extract over time because of driving cost and its impact on the environment.
Renewable Energy Runs More Efficiently
Typically, renewable energy technologies require less maintenance than generators that use fossil fuel sources. That is because power generating technologies like solar panels and wind turbines have few or no moving parts. Fewer maintenance needs mean they will run for a longer time.
Huge Savings Opportunity
Using renewable energy can save you money long term. Not only will you save on costs, but upkeep costs as well. When you are using a technology that generates power from the sun, wind, steam, or processes that are natural, you don’t need to pay to refuel. The amount of money you can save using energy can fluctuate depending on a variety of factors. In most cases, transitioning to clean energy means anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars in savings.
Better Health and Environmental Benefits
Renewable energy production sources emit little to no greenhouse gases or pollutants to the air. It places a smaller carbon footprint and a generally positive effect on the environment.
On the other hand, fossil fuels emit significant levels of greenhouse gases. That increases global temperatures and the frequency of extreme weather events. Using fossil fuels not only emits greenhouse gases but other harmful pollutants. Fossil fuel also contributes to respiratory and circulatory health issues. You can help reduce pollutants and add to an overall healthier atmosphere.
Less Reliance on Foreign Energy Source
You can create energy locally with clean energy technologies. The more renewable energy you are using for your energy needs, the less you are going to rely on imported energy.
Although some forms of clean energy have been around for a while, we now have no choice but to adopt new renewable technology.
Not Everyone Can Afford it Right Now
Upfront, the technology is more expensive than traditional energy generators. There are often monetary incentives, such as tax credits and rebates, available to help alleviate your initial costs of renewable technology.
On-Demand Availability May Be Limited
A number of these energy resources are not available year-round in some locations and instances. Some days might be windier than others, the sun does not shine at night, and droughts may occur for several days. On the other hand, fossil fuels may be turned off or on at any time.
Because of the irregularity of some renewable energy resources, there’s a high demand for energy storage. While there are storage technologies available now, they can be expensive, especially for large scale renewable energy plants. It’s worth noting that electricity storage capacity is growing as the technology progresses. For instance, batteries are becoming more affordable with new technology.
The United States has diverse geography with varying climates, topographies, vegetation, and more. It is a beautiful melting pot of landscapes but also means that there are some geographies which are more suitable for renewable technologies than others.
For example, a large farm with open space may be an excellent place for a residential wind turbine or a solar energy system. While a townhouse in a city with tall buildings will not have the ability to reap the advantages of either technology.
If your property isn’t suited for renewable energy technologies, there are other choices. If you’re interested in solar but don’t have a sunny property, you can purchase green power or enroll in a community solar alternative.
The Ugly Truth
In conclusion, renewable energy sources like hydropower, wind power, solar energy, geothermal energy, biomass, are alternatives to fossil fuels that contribute to the improvement of the environment. They also help increase more opportunities for alternative energy supply and self-reliance.
However, we may all not be on the same pace to adopt renewable energy. Our differences in opinions create a gridlock that stalls the innovation of technology that can help reduce the cost and speed for developing alternative energies.
More importantly, we may all not be on the same time table that our environment demands. So the more significant challenge may lie understanding whether the Earth can sustain the current usage of fossil fuels.
Fortunately, the positives outweigh the negatives when it comes to renewable energy. Transitioning to renewables on a personal, corporate, or governmental level will not only help you save money but also encourage a cleaner, healthier environment for the future.