Renewable energy resources are sources of energy that never run out. Using renewable energy resources to generate electricity is an alternative to using fossil fuels. They also tend to be less harmful to the environment compared to non-renewable energy resources.
Below are examples of renewable energy resources:
Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy of moving air into mechanical energy. When the turbines rotate, the generator inside turns, which produces electricity. Wind farms, made up of many turbines, are often built in areas with strong and consistent winds.
Solar panels capture energy from the sun to generate electricity.
Solar panels, or photovoltaic cells, directly convert sunlight into electricity. Solar farms are often set up in areas with high solar radiation to maximise the energy captured.
Sunlight can also be used to heat a fluid, which is then used to generate steam and turn turbines.
Geothermal energy harnesses thermal energy stored deep within the Earth.
In regions with volcanic or seismic activity, this heat comes closer to the surface and can be harnessed more easily. It’s used to heat water, produce steam and drive turbines that generate electricity.
Hydroelectric energy harnesses the natural flow of water caused by gravity to turn turbines.
Dams are built on large rivers. Water released from the reservoir behind the dam flows through turbines, generating electricity. It’s one of the oldest and most established renewable energy sources.
Wave energy captures the energy of ocean waves, which are often influenced by wind. Many small wave-powered turbines are installed, typically near the coast. As waves pass, they turn the turbines, generating electricity.
Tidal energy harnesses the power of tides caused by the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon to generate electricity. Energy systems use wave movements to turn turbines or generate electricity through other mechanisms.
Below is a table showing the positives and negatives of these sources:
|Renewable energy source||Advantages||Disadvantages|
|Wind||No pollution||Noisy and can obstruct scenic views|
|Solar||No pollution||Initial costs are high|
|Geothermal||Little damage to the environment||Not many suitable locations|
|Hydroelectric||Reliable||Initial costs are high|
|Wave||No pollution||Initial costs are high|
|Tidal||No pollution||Initial costs are high|
Recently, there has been a shift towards using more renewable energy resources because burning fossil fuels harms the environment.