A diversity of alternatives
There is a variety of renewable energy which are more or less popular among the public. Wind power with wind turbines or sun power with the photovoltaics, they all share the common trait of being able to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
It is used in many ways, heating homes and businesses, warming water or power devices. Solar farms use photovoltaic mirrors to concentrate sunlight across acres of solar cells. The generated power is then transferred to a thousand homes. It is estimated that in one hour, the amount of solar energy that reaches the earth’s surface is more than the planet’s total energy requirements for a whole year. However, the amount of solar energy can vary according to the season, the time of the day and the geographical location.
It is the cheapest energy source. The wind pushes turbines that are used to drive generators. These generators, then, feed electricity into the grid.
Hydro Energy and Tidal energy
Hydro energy is one of the most commercially developed and is considered to be sometimes more reliable than wind and solar energy. The electricity produced can indeed, be stored for use when demand reaches a peak. The energy is created thanks to dam or barrier. A large reservoir can be used to create a controlled flow of water that will drive a turbine, generating electricity. Like hydro energy, tidal energy is highly predictable and uses twice-daily tidal currents to drive turbine generators.
It is produced on sites whereby huge amounts of heat are trapped beneath the Earth. This heat is then converted into electrical power. The production of geothermal energy is negligible in the United Kingdom compared to countries such as Iceland where geothermal heat is much more available. It has low emissions if steam and water are pumped back into the reservoir.
It is the conversion of organic and plant waste into energy that is renewable. By converting agricultural, industrial and domestic waste into solid, liquid and gas fuel; biomass reduces economic and environmental cost.
To go further
Here is a list of companies and organisations that are working on the transition.
- Large companies that use renewable energy
- UK company which invests in large-scale renewable energy projects
- Renewable world aims to make renewable energy accessible to all, simultaneously tackling the twin problems of climate change and poverty