Renewable energy is a popular topic and for good reason. Using renewable energy can have some major benefits on the world we live in by reducing the damage we are doing to it. Believe it or not, there are several sources of renewable energy available for us to choose from. Lucky for us we have the power to choose to power our homes with renewable energy as well as choose which energy source we would like to use.
Each of these sources is unique and comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the top renewable energy sources and their advantages and disadvantages.
Wind power is generated by wind turbines. These turbines harness the wind and convert it to useable energy.
Wind turbines come in a variety of shapes and sizes: the horizontal-axis wind turbine, the vertical-axis wind turbine, and the hybrid wind turbine.
Wind power is great because it does not emit any greenhouse gasses when generating electricity. It is also renewable, which means that if harnessed properly, it can produce an infinite amount of energy for us to use. Wind turbines are also very tall so they are able to generate more electricity than other types of turbines. The disadvantages to using wind power are that they can be quite expensive and no one wants their view blocked by a giant turbine with blades that go around really fast! Some people have even said that the noise from these turbines disturbs them which in turn affects their quality of life.
- It is one of the cleanest forms of renewable energy
- Less expensive over time than other options
- Does not disrupt farm production
- Can be dangerous to wildlife
- Can be noisy
- More expensive upfront
Solar energy is harnessed from the sun through solar panels. These panels take the sun’s energy and converts it to useable electricity.
Solar energy is a great option because it is renewable and it is free! You can’t beat that. Solar panels also have the added bonus of being able to be installed pretty much anywhere. The disadvantage to solar energy is that you need direct sunlight in order for the panels to work properly and sometimes during winter, there just isn’t enough sunlight to use solar power year-round.
- Unlimited source of energy
- Lower electricity rates
- There are several uses for solar power
- Little maintenance
- Solar panels are expensive
- They rely on the weather for efficiency
- Space is needed for solar panels
Believe it or not, we can produce useable energy with water. One way that hydroelectric power is harnessed is with dams. When the water is released, it flows through turbines and generates energy. This is a great way to get energy from water and it’s renewable and clean. The downside to this type of energy is that dams can be very expensive and take up a lot of space, which means that some people may not have enough room on their property for one.
- Low cost over time
- Helps with the development of remote communities
- Dams create recreational opportunities
- Can damage the river ecosystem
- Expensive upfront
- Creates flood risks
Biomass power is harnessed through plants and animals that have begun decaying. It is a great form of recycling. The plants and animals are burned to create heat energy. This form of power is also carbon-neutral which means it does not emit any greenhouse gases when harvesting the energy.
The downside to biomass is that you need a lot of decaying material to produce electricity on a large scale. That means land space needs to be dedicated to growing plants or animal feed.
- The process is carbon neutral
- Reduces waste
- It is abundant
- The process can contribute to air pollution
- It is expensive