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What is Renewable Energy?

March 28, 2022 - Martina Igini

Renewables are made from natural resources on our planet, like wind, water, and sunlight. They are incredibly valuable energy sources, also known as “clean energy” as they do not pollute the environment. 

Renewables come from our planet’s unlimited sources of energy, like wind, sunlight, waves, and the earth’s internal heat. Here are 5 main sources of renewable energy and why they are so important to us.

5 Main Sources of Renewable Energy 

Solar Energy

This is energy produced directly from sunlight through smart solar panels placed outside of buildings facing the sun. Solar can be used to heat up buildings, water, and be turned into electricity. 

Wind Energy

The blades of large windmills are moved by the power of the wind. These blades spin a turbine inside a generator to produce electricity. There are over 341,000 wind turbines on the planet spread across 83 countries.

Hydroelectric Power

Water from dams and rivers can be used to spin powerful turbines and generate what we call hydroelectricity. Several provinces in Canada produce over 90% of their energy through hydropower and the country is one of the largest global consumers of this energy source along with China and Brazil.

Geothermal Energy

Huge pumps extract the heat and steam from below the Earth – mainly from volcanoes and geysers – and use these to heat up homes and buildings as well as to generate electricity. About 25% of the total electricity of Iceland is produced by geothermal energy, thanks to the country’s several hot springs.

Biomass Energy

This is the oldest source of renewable energy on the planet. With biomass, we refer to all organic matter that has stored energy through the process of photosynthesis. Think wood, crops, seaweed, and animal wastes. This energy is converted to electricity and heat. In the United States, the majority of biomass energy comes from wood.

Fun Facts About Renewable Energy

Why Is Renewable Energy so Important?

Renewables are an essential source of energy for the future and one of the world’s most important allies in the race to stop global warming and reach net-zero emissions. They are much cleaner sources and have a very minimal environmental footprint than fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. Another good thing about renewables is that they are endless: while resources of coal and gas are finite, the wind will never stop blowing and the sun will never stop shining! This is amazing news, as we can rely on these energy sources for a very long time. 

Check This Out Next: What is Nuclear Energy?

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About the Author

Martina Igini

Martina is an environmental journalist based in Hong Kong. She holds two Bachelor's degrees, one in Journalism and one in Translation and Interpreting Studies as well as a Master's degree in International Development. Passionate about writing and languages, her interests include sustainability and the role of public policy in environmental protection, especially in developing countries. She has extensive experience working as a journalist and in 2020, she joined the outreach team of the United Nations Global Communication Department. She currently works for Earth.Org and is the website's main writer and editor.