There are many renewable energy sources, including hydroelectric power, wind power, biomass energy, and thermal energy. Wind energy is arguably the most popular type of renewable energy. But, what are the different types? How are they used? And what are their main advantages?
There are several types of renewable energy, and hydroelectric power is one of the oldest. Hydropower is most commonly produced near water sources and is responsible for 17% of U.S. renewable electricity generation. Before developing steam power, water was used to run lumber and grain mills. The first hydroelectric power plant in the United States began producing electricity in 1882 on the Fox River near Appleton, Wisconsin.
The world’s hydropower plants are located in impoundments. The goal is to build dams to raise the water behind the dam to as high a working head as possible. The working head of a hydroelectric system is directly proportional to the potential power of water. High-head installations use less water than low-head installations. The powerhouse is usually located on one flank of the dam, and it may be situated in a steep gorge.
The National Audubon Society is a significant environmental organization in the United States dedicated to conserving birds and wildlife. Its support for wind power is based on minimizing the impact on critical wildlife habitats and migrating bird populations. Wind power is a type of renewable energy, and Green Mountain Energy offers several wind-energy plans to meet your electricity needs. But it is important to note that wind energy has its disadvantages.
The amount of land required to build a wind farm varies, and it depends on the size and terrain of the area and the rotor diameter of the turbines. Some estimates suggest spacing wind turbines between five and ten rotor diameters. However, some wind farms have been constructed on hillsides, in fields, and even offshore in the ocean. Wind farms are now familiar sights in cities and rural areas and are the only energy source that requires little maintenance.
Biomass is a type of energy that has been used around the world since the prehistoric era. It has the potential to produce heat, power, and electricity and is still commonly used today. Biomass is an abundant form of natural energy that can be used for various purposes. The main drawback of biomass is that it is an inefficient energy source. However, if used responsibly, it can provide clean power at a much lower cost than conventional fossil fuels.
Biomass plants can offset carbon emissions by reabsorbing carbon dioxide. In contrast, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during biomass production can be far greater than the amount of carbon dioxide released during the process of burning the fuel. Furthermore, most biomass requires arable land to be developed, making them unavailable for farming food or natural habitats.
Thermal energy is a source of heat that can be used for heating and cooling purposes. This energy can be obtained from solar heat, geothermal heat, and fossil fuels. While thermal energy does not have many adverse environmental effects, it can cause pollution, especially if it is escaping water or chemicals. Because of this, it is not the most environmentally friendly energy source, so it is often used in conjunction with other renewable sources to provide backup power and energy storage.
While renewable thermal technologies are already viable and proven safe, there are still many benefits to investing in further research. In some cases, government policies can offer financial incentives to encourage the installation of thermal energy systems. In New York, for example, the city will cover 40-70% of installation fees when thermal energy is used. The same is true in France, where rebates and tax exemptions are available for renewable thermal projects. In 2015, France aided over 3,600 renewable thermal projects.