We want to answer the main question quickly and easily: What is renewable energy and the types. We will also give you some tips to reduce the carbon footprint and the renewable energy available for your home.
What is Renewable Energy?
Renewable energy is energy produced from sources like the sun and wind that are naturally replenished and do not run out. Renewable energy can be used for electricity generation, space and water heating and cooling, and transportation.
Renewable sources are often associated with green energy solutions and clean energy, but there are some subtle differences between these three energy types. Where renewable sources are those that are recyclable, clean energy are those that do not release pollutants like carbon dioxide, and green energy is that which comes from natural sources. While there is often cross-over between these energy types, not all types of renewable energy are actually fully clean or green. For example, some hydroelectric sources can actually damage natural habitats and cause deforestation.
Types of renewable energy for your home
There area range of renewable sources that have been developed, with each offering their own advantages and challenges depending on factors such as geographical location, requirements for use and even the time of year.
1. Solar Power
The potential for the sun to supply our power needs is huge, considering the fact that enough energy to meet the planet’s power needs for an entire year reaches the earth from the sun in just one hour. However, the challenge has always remained in how to harness and use this vast potential.
We currently use solar energy to heat buildings, warm water and power our devices. The power is collected using solar, or photovoltaic (PV), cells made from silicon or other materials. These cells transform sunlight into electricity and can power anything from the smallest garden light to entire neighbourhoods. Rooftop panels can provide power to a home, while community projects and solar farms that use mirrors to concentrate the sunlight can create much larger supplies. Solar farms can also be created in bodies of water, called ‘floatovoltaics’ these provide another option for locating solar panels.
As well as being renewable, solar powered energy systems are also clean energy sources, since they don’t produce air pollutants or greenhouse gases. If the panels are responsibly sited and manufactured they can also count as green energy as they don’t have an adverse environmental impact.
2. Wind Power
Wind energy works much like old-fashioned windmills did, by using the power of the wind to turn a blade. Where the motion of these blades would once cause millstones to grind together to make flour, today’s turbines power a generator, which produces electricity.
When wind turbines are sited on land they need to be placed in areas with high winds, such as hilltops or open fields and plains. Offshore wind power has been developing for decades with wind farms providing a good solution for energy generation while avoiding many of the complaints around them being unsightly or noisy on land. Of course, offshore use has its own drawbacks due to the aggressive environments the turbines need to operate in.
3. Hydroelectric Power
Hydroelectric power works in a similar manner to wind power in that it is used to spin a generator’s turbine blades to create electricity. Hydro power uses fast moving water in rivers or from waterfalls to spin the turbine blades and is widely used in some countries. It is currently the largest renewable energy source in the United States, although wind energy is fast closing the gap.
Hydroelectric dams are a renewable energy source, but these are not necessarily green energy sources. Many of the larger ‘mega-dams’ divert natural water sources, which creates a negative impact for animal and human populations due to restricted access to the water source. However, if carefully managed, smaller hydroelectric power plants (under 40 megawatts) do not have such a catastrophic effects on the local environment as the divert just a fraction of the water flow.
4. Biomass Energy
Biomass energy uses organic material from plants and animals, including crops, trees, and waste wood. This biomass is burned to create heat which powers a steam turbine and generates electricity. While biomass can be renewable if it is sustainably sourced, there are many instances where this is neither green nor clean energy.
Studies have shown that biomass from forests can produce higher carbon emissions than fossil fuels, while also have an adverse impact on biodiversity. Despite this, some forms of biomass do offer a low-carbon option given the correct circumstances. Sawdust and wood chippings from sawmills, for example, can be used for biomass energy where it would normally decompose and release higher levels of carbon into the atmosphere.
Geothermal energy uses the heat trapped in the Earth’s core which is created by the slow decay of radioactive particles in rocks at the centre of the planet. By drilling wells, we are able to bring highly heated water to the surface which can be used as a hydrothermal resource to turn turbines and create electricity. This renewable resource can be made greener by pumping the steam and hot water back into the earth, thereby lowering emissions.
The availability of geothermal energy is closely tied to geographical location, with places such as Iceland having an easily reached, ready supply of geothermal resources.
6. Tidal Power
Tidal power offers a renewable power supply option, since the tide is ruled by the constant gravitational pull of the moon. The power that can be generated by the tide may not be constant, but it is reliable, making this relatively new resource an attractive option for many.
If you want to know more about renewable sources you can see this article.
Reduce your carbon footprint
What is a carbon footprint?
Greenhouse gases are emitted through the production and consumption of goods and services. Carbon footprint is a concept used to quantify the impact of an activity, a person or a country on climate change.
Here are some simple ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint:
1.- Eat more plant foods and less animal foods. Consume local and seasonal products and Make sure to buy only what you need, to avoid waste
2.- Try other modes of transport. Cycle or use public transport
3.- Switch to a low-carbon energy provider
4.- Reduce, reuse, and recycle to waste less
5.- Buy responsibly-made clothes, e.g. made from recycled material or with an eco-label
Make your home more energy efficient
Home energy audit checklist. Walk round each room and note down what you find.
Insulation: Inspect the loft, external walls and ground floor, if accessible. Look for insulation around the hot water tank and pipes.
Draught proofing: Check around doors, windows and other openings for draughts and gaps.
Heating: Make sure your boiler, radiators or other heat sources are working efficiently, and check that heating controls, timers and thermostats are set correctly.
Lighting: Check that all lighting is fitted with efficient LED bulbs, including in ovens, extractor hoods, and external lights.
Renewable energy for your home: the best way to get electricity
Generate your own electricity with solar solar panels. Drastically reduce your electricity bill and even get paid for any surplus you supply. At Tiekom Energía we take care of the whole process for you. The installations come with a guarantee and we even provide low-cost finance options.
Tiekom is committed to 100% renewable energy, to saving the planet’s resources and offers significant savings in the electricity bill of our customers. We believe that renewable energies are the way to guarantee the future of our planet.
We work every day to make electricity more easily understandable and accessible to all and also more respectful with the environment. We are committed to transparency, savings and sustainability.
Conclusion: Renewable energy looks set to be a large part of the future energy mix. The drive towards a greener future for power production is promoting a rise in job creation in renewable power industries such as solar and wind. This trend looks set to continue as governments strive to reach net zero.