Of all the available resources, non-renewable energy resources are the least abundant, and yet they are also the most widely used. In the last century, we have devastated the earth’s natural resources and put a tremendous strain on local and global economies. Environmental awareness has also been increasing, and this has led to deeper research into types of renewable energy. The use of renewable resources such as solar energy, wind energy, biomass, geothermal energy, and water, has been spreading.
The sun is directly and indirectly responsible for four of our renewable energy options, but the most obvious is solar energy. Solar energy produces electricity from the sun and is used in business, industry, and the home. It can power our lights, heat our water, cool our homes, and produce the electricity we need to run our appliances and gadgets. While just about any area of the world can benefit from solar energy, it is most useful in those parts of the world with high sun exposure for the majority of the year.
Driven by the heat of the sun, the wind’s energy is captured by windmills, or wind turbines, and distributed for agricultural, industrial, and residential purposes. Sun and wind cause the evaporation of water. This produces precipitation, which flows into the world’s rivers. We can capture its energy through the use of hydroelectric power plants.
The sun and water nourish the plants, and plants become biomass. Organic matter provides fuels, produces electricity, and provides essential chemicals to power our world. The energy from biomass is called bioenergy. Renewable bioenergy comes from life, then supports life, which continues to cycle in the circle of organic life.
All renewable energies do not come from solar resources. The energy we can get from heat inside the earth is called geothermal energy. Geothermal energy can provide the energy we need for electricity, as well as heating and cooling.
Our earth is made up of seven continents, which are surrounded by oceans, which provide two important sources of energy. Tides and wind create waves. Tidal energy is renewable, and wave energy is consistently renewable with wind, water, and tides. That is not all there is! The difference in temperature of ocean water from the icy cold depths to the shallower, warmer water that has been heated by the sun is also a source of energy.
The discovery of coal and oil as sources of energy helped to create the industrial and technical world we live in, but in order to continue to power a technologically-evolving earth, we must do further research into all different types of renewable energy. Oil and coal will not renew — at least not fast enough to keep up with a growing world that depends on electric power. Of all the choices we have, we continue to use non-renewable fuels that poison our water and pollute our air. We strip our forests fast and fail to plant with equal vigor. Renewable energy is our hope for the future of the planet.
Renewable energy can provide job security and put money back into local economies. This is because careers in renewable energy are built around maintaining an endless resource, rather than producing from energies that will run out. Money spent on renewable energy sources and investments in earth-friendly energy puts money into the local economy. Rather than boosting the economies of people across the world, we can lend a hand to our local economies.
Oil and coal will not last forever and if we continue to use those non-renewing resources, we will hit rock bottom one day, and that will mean we have caused irreparable damage to our world. If we are going to leave a sustainable and beautiful inheritance to the children of our children, we have to get serious about making renewable energy our only energy resource.
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