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Renewable Energy: What is it all about?

Renewable energy is a popular topic these days, but what exactly is it? It can be confusing to understand the different types of renewable energy. This blog post will give you an overview of all the different forms of renewable energy.

Renewable energy is produced using natural resources that are constantly replaced and never run out. Just as there are many natural sources of energy, there are many renewable energy technologies.

Common Renewable technologies

  • Solar is one of the most well-known - Solar energy resources are massive and widespread, with the potential for solar power to meet humanity’s growing need. The amount of sunlight striking Earth's surface every hour has been calculated at more than all human-generated electricity.

  • Wind power is most widespread - wind power is now the most affordable and competitive way to produce electricity from renewable sources.

  • Hydropower is one of the oldest - Hydropower converts the energy of moving water into electricity. It includes a number of generation and storage technologies, predominantly hydroelectricity and Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES).

Energy harnessing technologies

  • Geothermal energy - Geothermal energy is heat from the Earth. It is a renewable energy source with multiple applications including heating, drying and electricity generation examples include Greenhouses, Hotsprings geo thermal heated homes etc

  • Bioenergy - Biomass is organic matter, crops or waste material which can be converted to energy. Renewable energy is generated from the conversion of biomass into heat, electricity, biogas and liquid fuels. Biomass is organic matter derived from forestry, agriculture or waste streams available on a renewable basis. It can also include combustible components of municipal solid waste.

  • Ocean energy - Ocean energy refers to all forms of renewable energy derived from the sea. There are three main types of ocean technology: wave, tidal and ocean thermal.

Grid strengthening technologies

  • Battery storage - Batteries are an energy storage technology that uses chemicals to absorb and release energy on demand.

  • Smart technology predicts when and where electricity is required. Distributed energy resources (DER) is the name given to renewable energy units or systems that are commonly located at houses or businesses to provide them with power.

Renewable energy is the fastest-growing energy source globally

  • Eighteen percent of the energy consumed globally for heating, power, and transportation was from renewable sources in 2017 (see figure below). Nearly 60 percent came from modern renewables (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, hydro, wind, and biofuels) and the remainder from traditional biomass (used in residential heating and cooking in developing countries).

  • Renewables made up 26.2 percent of global electricity generation in 2018. That’s expected to rise to 45 percent by 2040. Most of the increase will likely come from solar, wind, and hydropower.

The International Energy Agency notes that the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies will depend heavily on government policies and financial support to make renewable energy cost-competitive.


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