The benefits of renewables for energy
Renewables have many benefits, but why might they be the best energy option? Keep reading to find out.
In recent years, solar panels and wind turbines have become increasingly common. Why? Because people are quickly realizing that renewable energy has many benefits, not only for the planet, but also for people.
Renewable energy is an umbrella term that covers a range of energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and biomass. In this article, we’ll explore why renewables are a great option for sourcing energy and the wide range of benefits they bring.
What is renewable energy?
Depending on location and season, there are different types of renewable energy. The seven main types of renewable energy are:
Solar. Solar energy comes from the sun and is the only type of renewable energy that you can personally use to power your home through the installation of solar panels.
Wind. In order to use wind energy, wind turbines must be installed in windy areas. Offshore and onshore wind farms are a great way to bring energy and electricity to more remote areas.
Hydroelectric. Hydroelectric power works the same way as wind, but uses water instead. Large dams and turbines convert water currents into energy. Although an expensive option, it has the potential to create a tremendous amount of energy.
Geothermal energy. Geothermal energy uses the heat already generated on the planet and, in some areas, is able to convert it into energy.
Tide. Tidal power is similar to hydroelectric power and is the energy we can get from the tides.
Biomass. Biomass is a bit different from other renewable energy sources in that it is the energy we get from burning organic waste. It is classified as renewable because there will always be waste to burn.
Hydrogen. Hydrogen is the most available element on our planet, and if we are able to separate it, it can be used as a carbon-free fuel.
A smart, distributed energy network ensures that, whatever the weather, everyone has access to energy. For example, one location may have bright sunshine, perfect for creating solar power, while another may experience high winds, perfect for spinning those wind turbines.
We all know that global warming is a serious problem and needs to be tackled quickly if we are to save our planet for generations to come.
Traditional fossil fuels such as coal and gas create greenhouse gases that are harmful to the environment. The more fossil fuels we use, the more harmful carbon emissions are supercharged into the atmosphere. Simply put, these emissions cause the atmosphere to warm up (hence the name global warming) and lead to some of the major environmental problems we experience today, such as floods and droughts.
Renewable energy sources, however, emit little or no harmful emissions, making them a much more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy solution.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 99% of the population breathe unhealthy air and exceed their health limits. Unhealthy air is usually caused by the burning of fossil fuels which release nitrogen dioxide into the atmosphere, which can lead to a whole host of respiratory health issues.
Renewable energy sources not only limit the number of harmful gases in our atmosphere, but they can also prevent the same harmful substances from reaching the ground and impacting the food we eat.
A healthier population will also help reduce pressures on health services, which means that the health benefits of renewable energy are considerable.
The clue is in the name with this one, but renewable energy has one major advantage it will never miss: it’s renewable.
While we can expect fossil fuels to start running out over the next century, renewable energy sources will still be around. The sun will always shine to create solar energy and the wind will always blow to spin our turbines. In other words, the sun is expected to continue to shine for at least four billion years, so we can be sure that our solar power will keep us going for some time.
Renewable energy sources are also relatively reliable. While traditional fossil fuels often come from disputes between countries and political entities, no one has control over things like the sun and the wind.
The introduction of a smart grid ensures that the energy created by renewable sources can be distributed evenly, so that even if the wind is blowing at one end of the country but not at another, everyone has access to energy.
Renewables are also considerably cheaper than fossil fuels, which means the switch can also have a positive impact on our stock markets.
For starters, renewable energy technologies have fewer moving and combustible parts, which means maintenance requirements and costs are much lower than fossil fuel alternatives. This means that the overall cost of running renewable energy power plants is much cheaper.
As renewable energy depends on sun, wind, steam and more, it does not need to be refueled and there are no bidding wars for foreign energy sources, each country can produce its own renewable energy.
The financial benefits of using renewable energy will benefit the entire supply chain, from power plants to the end user and his energy prices.
We all know that taking action to save the planet is no longer a choice. We must act to prevent further damage to an environment on the brink. Renewable energy is one of the best ways to start making a difference, but as this article shows, it’s not just the environmental benefits that make renewable energy the best option. The public health benefits as well as the cost and availability of renewables make this a no-brainer, and we can expect to see renewables become increasingly popular over the coming decades.