Renewable Energy Sources

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Nuprang village, where Lukman lives, has only five households and is just 3 km off the national highway. In spite of being so close to the highway the villagers are deprived of basic public facilities. They are also deprived of electricity even though the national grid passes near the village.

And there is no possibility of getting it for many years to come. However it is difficult to provide an electricity facility for just five households from micro-hydro or from the national grid.

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Villagers remained sceptical about the scheme but celebrated through song and dance when the first electricity was provided. Renewable energy, often referred to as clean energy , comes from natural sources or processes that are constantly replenished.

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For example, sunlight or wind keep shining and blowing, even if their availability depends on time and weather. Wind has powered boats to sail the seas and windmills to grind grain. The sun has provided warmth during the day and helped kindle fires to last into the evening. But over the past years or so, humans increasingly turned to cheaper, dirtier energy sources such as coal and fracked gas.

Now that we have increasingly innovative and less-expensive ways to capture and retain wind and solar energy, renewables are becoming a more important power source, accounting for more than one-eighth of U. The expansion in renewables is also happening at scales large and small, from rooftop solar panels on homes that can sell power back to the grid to giant offshore wind farms. Even some entire rural communities rely on renewable energy for heating and lighting.

Renewable Energy

Nonrenewable sources of energy are only available in limited amounts and take a long time to replenish. Nonrenewable energy sources are also typically found in specific parts of the world, making them more plentiful in some nations than others. By contrast, every country has access to sunshine and wind. Many nonrenewable energy sources can endanger the environment or human health.

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To top it off, all these activities contribute to global warming. Humans have been harnessing solar energy for thousands of years—to grow crops, stay warm, and dry foods. Solar, or photovoltaic PV , cells are made from silicon or other materials that transform sunlight directly into electricity. Distributed solar systems generate electricity locally for homes and businesses, either through rooftop panels or community projects that power entire neighborhoods.

Solar farms can generate power for thousands of homes, using mirrors to concentrate sunlight across acres of solar cells. Solar supplies a little more than 1 percent of U. But nearly a third of all new generating capacity came from solar in , second only to natural gas. Today, turbines as tall as skyscrapers —with turbines nearly as wide in diameter—stand at attention around the world.

Wind, which accounts for a little more than 6 percent of U.

Top wind power states include California, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Iowa, though turbines can be placed anywhere with high wind speeds—such as hilltops and open plains—or even offshore in open water. Hydropower is the largest renewable energy source for electricity in the United States, though wind energy is soon expected to take over the lead. Nationally and internationally, large hydroelectric plants—or mega-dams—are often considered to be nonrenewable energy.

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Mega-dams divert and reduce natural flows, restricting access for animal and human populations that rely on rivers. Small hydroelectric plants an installed capacity below about 40 megawatts , carefully managed, do not tend to cause as much environmental damage, as they divert only a fraction of flow. When biomass is burned, the chemical energy is released as heat and can generate electricity with a steam turbine. Biomass is often mistakenly described as a clean, renewable fuel and a greener alternative to coal and other fossil fuels for producing electricity.

Renewable energy sources produced 20% of U.S. electricity in first half of 12222

However, recent science shows that many forms of biomass—especially from forests—produce higher carbon emissions than fossil fuels. There are also negative consequences for biodiversity. Still, some forms of biomass energy could serve as a low-carbon option under the right circumstances.

For example, sawdust and chips from sawmills that would otherwise quickly decompose and release carbon can be a low-carbon energy source. Drilling deep wells brings very hot underground water to the surface as a hydrothermal resource, which is then pumped through a turbine to create electricity.

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