The term renewable or sustainable energy is used when an energy source can be used again and again without the fear of its depletion. With the increase in population, the advancement of technology and human’s need of comfort, the requirement of energy is rising exponentially hence to meet these energy needs, we cannot just depend on the non-sustainable fossil fuels but find a renewable alternative as an energy source.
Let us understand in detail the potential of renewable sources of energy.
Solar power is generated by using photovoltaic cells to capture sunlight and convert it into electricity which is stored in batteries for later use. The main benefit of using solar energy to generate power is that it is available in abundance and it produces no pollution. The cost of setting up solar panels is high along with other limitations such as if the weather is cloudy then the absence of sunlight means power cannot be generated.
Wind turbines are also widely used all over the world to generate electricity. Countries like Denmark generate a major percentage of their electricity through wind power. These wind turbines are usually placed in remote hilly locations which are windy so that more power can be generated. This setup does not suit the urban environment and it is highly unreliable as you need to be dependent on the wind to generate power. Also, wind turbines create a lot of noise hence it needs to be placed in remote locations only.
Biomass energy is generated by burning of animal and plant wastes, wood, timber, etc which are completely renewable. Burning biomass does produce carbon dioxide, but it is compensated by the plants which uses carbon dioxide for photosynthesis during their lifespan. Biomass such as wood pellets from dkbrænde which has a high calorific value and low ash content, costs lower than fossil fuels and also adds environmental advantages such as reducing landfills.
Hydropower can be considered as one of the most efficient sources of renewable energy as its basic principle is harnessing energy from flowing water which is quite reliable as the flow of water can be controlled by building a dam in a water body. The cost of building a Hydropower plant is high, but it provides power for a lifetime. The reservoirs built can additionally be used to irrigate the nearby areas. There are certain disadvantages associated with hydropower plants such as an overflow of the dam or flash flooding causing damage to property or human lives.
Geothermal energy is fetched from below the earth surface by installing a geothermal power station that uses the heat from beneath the earth to generate electricity. Geothermal plants can only be set up in areas with high temperature beneath the surface such as areas prone to volcanoes or seismic activity. But an earthquake can damage the geothermal plant itself. They are clean energy and environmental-friendly.
Tidal energy is harnessing power from the ocean’s current. This is one of the cleanest forms of renewable energy and is highly reliable as the tide, unlike solar or wind, is always available which depends on the gravitational force between the earth, sun, and moon.
Harnessing power from renewable energy sources also can get challenging at times due to the various limitations we have discussed but overcoming these hurdles and to effectively harness power from sustainable sources of energy will reduce the carbon footprint, conserve the ozone layer and preserve the limited fossil fuels
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