The typical energy resources currently in use include non-renewable sources that will not last forever. In fact, we have already used up a large percentage of the earth’s non-replenishing resources. This is having a profound destructive effect on not only our economy, but the environment. However, recent research has increased the interest in lower-cost renewable energy resources that do not harm the earth’s environment. These resources include solar, wind, organic matter, geothermal, and water.
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.
Wind energy, which comes from the sun’s heating effect on the air, can also be used for providing electricity. Energy from the wind is collected by wind turbines and then applied to agriculture, industry, and home uses. It is the reaction of sun and wind that causes water evaporation, which leads to precipitation of snow and rain. The water from rain and melting snow flows into our earth’s streams and rivers, where the energy can be turned into hydroelectric power.
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.
Our large-scale consumption of non-renewing energy is damaging the environment we live in. We can make a dramatic change for the better by using sources that will not run out, but continue to renew and sustain the world. The destruction of our rainforests is due in large part to energy consumption. Oil drilling and coal mining strips the land and leaves toxins in our air and water. The side effect of using these fuels is damage to all living things.
Energy resources that renew are good for the economy. When people and corporations invest in renewable energy, most of the profits go back into the helping the local economy, rather than profiting commercial operations and industries on the other side of the globe. Renewable energy jobs are more secure than jobs in oil or coal. Renewable energy never depletes, but it must be harnessed, equipment will always be necessary, and although it does do most of the renewing on its own, it must be supervised.
The hard truth of the matter is that non-renewable energy sources will eventually run out. If we do not switch over to the renewable energy sources we will leave an injured and scarred world for our descendants. Make no mistake, there is such a thing as too late.
At dumpsterrentalfortwayne.org we have been committed to environment-friendly efforts like recycling and renewable sources of energy wherever possible.