Renewable energy or Alternative Energy, generally a form or forms of energy that are not based on fossil fuels but are either renewable or sustainable without depleting a finite resource. Examples of alternative energy are Biofuel; Geothermal Energy; Solar Energy; Tidal Energy; and Wind Energy.
Fossil fuels are non-renewable, that is, they draw on finite resources that will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve. In contrast, the many types of renewable energy resources – such as wind and solar energy – are constantly replenished and will never run out.
Most renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. Sunlight, or solar energy can be used directly for heating, lighting homes and other buildings, generating electricity, solar cooling, and a variety of commercial and industrial uses.
The sun’s heat also drives the winds, whose energy is captured with wind turbines. Then, the winds and the sun’s heat cause water to evaporate. When this water vapor turns into rain and flows downhill into rivers or streams, its energy can be captured using hydroelectric power.
Along with the rain, sunlight causes plants to grow. The organic matter that makes up those plants is known as biomass. Biomass can be used to produce electricity, transportation fuels, or chemicals. The use of biomass for any of these purposes is called bioenergy.
Hydrogen also can be found in many organic compounds, as well as water. It’s the most abundant element on the Earth. But it doesn’t occur naturally as a gas. It’s always combined with other elements, such as with oxygen to make water. Once separated from another element, hydrogen can be burned as a fuel or converted into electricity.
Not all renewable energy resources come from the sun. Geothermal energy taps the Earth’s internal heat for a variety of uses, including electric power production, and the heating and cooling of buildings. And the energy of the ocean’s tides come from the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun upon the Earth.
In fact, ocean energy comes from a number of sources. In addition to tidal energy, there’s the energy of the ocean’s waves, which are driven by both the tides and the winds. The sun also warms the surface of the ocean more than the ocean depths, creating a temperature difference that can be used as an energy source. All these forms of ocean energy can be used to produce electricity.
Why is renewable energy important?
Renewable energy is important because of the benefits it provides. The key benefits are:
Renewable energy technologies are clean sources of energy that have a much lower environmental impact than conventional energy technologies.
Energy for generations to come
Renewable energy will not run out ever. Other sources of energy are finite and will someday be depleted.
Jobs and the Economy
Most renewable energy investments are spent on materials and workmanship to build and maintain the facilities, rather than on costly energy imports. Renewable energy investments are usually spent within the same community, frequently in the same state, and often in the same town. This means your energy money (NAIRA) stay home to create jobs and fuel local economies, rather than going overseas.
Biofuels produced and used within the same country is a way to reduce dependence on sources of oil and other fuels, providing energy security and an economic boost for agriculture and industry. Biofuels are also a type of renewable energy resource, unlike fossil fuels, which cannot be grown or created. Other renewable energy sources include solar energy and wind energy.
With serious investment on renewable energy it will increase the life span of our oil in this country (NIGERIA), creating an alternative and cheaper means of energy consumption, which is suitable with our immediate environment.
About the Author
Eru Kobe Godwin is a poet, designer, and a writer at connectnigeria.com. He is also the CEO at Cypress Concepts: corporate and casual shirt designers and stylists.