What Is Renewable Energy?
Renewable energy is a power source extracted from resources that naturally replenish, or through inexhaustible processes. Renewable energy sources are abundant and ubiquitous, causing little to no negative impact on the environment. Some of the most common examples include sunlight and wind, while other sources like coal, oil, and natural gas are finite.
As renewable sources attract usage across the globe, people won’t have to wonder, what is a renewable energy source? Currently, renewable energy accounts for over 20% of the electricity generated in the United States. The capacity to produce renewable energy should continue to increase worldwide, with solar PV accounting for much of the increase.
What Is an Example of a Renewable Energy Source?
These examples of renewable energy sources help to further define the term:
- Solar Energy: Sunlight is the planet’s most abundant and freely available energy resource. Solar energy is a perfect example of renewable energy, offering many benefits with minimal environmental effects. Technologies like photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) capture the sun’s rays and turn them into electricity. In the first quarter of 2022, homeowners in the U.S. invested in enough solar energy systems to power 23 million homes.
- Wind Energy: Tall wind turbines capture wind energy, feeding it to an electric generator that produces electricity. Wind energy accounts for 9.2% of US electricity generation. The states producing the most electricity through this renewable resource are Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Illinois.
- Hydroelectric Power: The process of capturing hydroelectric power shares some similarities with wind energy’s process, generating electricity through the spinning movement of turbine blades. Hydroelectric power relies on the force of moving water to move the turbines and generate power.
- Geothermal Energy: This renewable energy source utilizes the heat below the earth’s surface to generate electricity. Harnessing the energy involves digging deep underground reservoirs to bring steam and hot water to the surface. Geothermal power plants are commonly found in the western states and Hawaii.
These natural energy sources are all examples of what renewable energy is, and as the world continuously increases its demand for power and electricity, renewable energy sources will be at the forefront of meeting the world’s energy needs.