Renewable Energy Sources For Dummies….Let Us Break It Down For You


It seems like every time I turn on the news or open the morning paper there is something about ‘renewable energy sources’. I felt like I had been living under a rock because I wasn’t sure at all of what this was or how it would affect me. So, like many of you I decided to research it.

Renewable energy basically stands for ‘natural resources’. So renewable energy resources are ways of obtaining energy through natural things we can find in our environment.

renewable energy resources

( photo by )

Examples of renewable energy resources which you have most likely heard of are wind and sunlight. A few sources of renewable energy that you may not have heard of as I had not are water, rain and tides.

Wind Power

A renewable energy source you may have seen in recent years is the wind power resource. Usually wind power is seen in the form of a wind turbine or windmill. A windmill works like this; as the wind powers the mill in circles, energy is created.

So, the more wind more energy will be created. Because of this, countries tend to put their wind turbines in areas where stronger and more consistent winds are known to be. These areas are usually in high altitude sites and near the oceans.

wind mills

( photo by roebedo )

Overall, wind as a renewable energy source is one of the more preferred sources as it is proven to work efficiently. There are no tricks to wind power; as long as there is wind there will be an energy source.

The only criticism of wind power however as a universal renewable energy resource, is that in order to fully provide sources of energy to the world or even parts of the world, there would have to be wind turbines everywhere and critics fear we do not have enough land for that.

Water power

Another renewable energy source which you have most likely seen several times in your life but maybe weren’t aware it was a source of renewable energy is water power.

Water power as a source of energy can be in the form of hydroelectric energy, micro hydro systems, damless hydro systems, ocean energy in the form or marine current power, ocean thermal energy conversion and tidal power, and wave power.

water power

( photo by bluesmoon )

Water as a source of renewable energy is a little more difficult to explain and to understand. While wind power is something you can see and is something abstract that you can actually imagine taking place, water power as a renewable energy resource is a bit more complex.

Imagine that there is actually energy in the water of the oceans, streams and lakes. Now, imagine that energy is 800x more powerful than energy in the air provided by the wind turbines.

If you want to get technical, this is because water is 800x denser than air but for simplicity sake let’s just say water is 800x more full of energy than the air and wind.

So, if you take all this energy and put it in one area such as is done with a dam, you can use that power from the water as energy. This is called hydroelectric energy and can be seen in the form of a dam. There are also renewable energy sources that utilize water however are not in the form of a dam.

These sources are called Damless hydro systems. Damless hydro systems utilize the energy from water such as rivers and oceans without using a dam. The ocean is a huge source of renewable energy. A main source of energy from the ocean is called Tidal Power. Essentially, we use tidal power for energy by ‘capturing’ the energy from the tides.

There are two ways in which to capture energy from tides. The first way is to capture energy from the tides in a vertical direction. What this means is, when the tides come into the shore, water levels in pre-setup basins rise and then the tide rolls out.

The water that was captured in the basin that was setup is then put out through a turbine (like the wind turbine but for water) and the potential energy is stored until it is used.

Tidal power

The other tide energy source is from tidal motion in a horizontal direction. This means that we are using tidal stream power kind of like wind turbines but we are using generators for the tidal streams.

Again, imagine that water is 800x times more full of energy than the air and wind are. This means the little bit of water that is captured from the tides can provide that much more energy than the air and wind going through the wind turbines.

wave power

(photo by casualclicks )

Wave power is another water powered source of renewable energy. Like the tides and the windmill, wave power is gathered by wave power machines which capture the energy released from the waves. This source of renewable energy has reached a commercial level recently as well.

Using ethanol for your vehicle is another renewable energy source which has been particularly popular in the media lately. Surely you have heard of hybrid cars well, using ethanol instead of pure gasoline to run your vehicle is one step to being close to hybrid.

Basically, ethanol is not pure gasoline so right there we are going to improve our environment. Ethanol is a blend of alcohol and sugar combined with already existing gasoline to create a lesser percentage of pure gasoline to run a vehicle.

The use of renewable energy resources is bringing many nations together because they are seeing eye-to-eye on this issue. Currently nine countries have decided to implement a universal renewable energy resource agreement.

These nine countries are Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Implementing a universal renewable energy resource program or agreement has been a very big undertaking however is having very positive results.

Through the various countries and continents coming together and cooperating in identifying ‘best practice’ solutions for the renewable energy resource movement, nations have been coming together and agreeing on many of the most important issues facing on our planet today.


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