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Renewable energy is energy that automatically replenishes itself from ongoing natural processes. For example, sunshine, wind, flowing water, biological processes, and geothermal heat flows are all creators of usable renewable energy. Most types of renewable energy comes from the sun, this is also called solar power. Energy such as rainfall and wind power are different but both exist because of the sun’s effects. These types of energy may be directly used or they can be used to make the creation of other forms of energy easier and more cost efficient. Solar ovens, geothermal heating, and water and windmills are examples of how renewable energy is used directly. Examples of indirect use are electricity generation by utilizing wind turbines or photovoltaic or solar cells.
Water energy or hydropower is a form of renewable energy. Water is about a thousand times heavier then air so the smallest movement in water can gyrate a turbine and create energy. Water turbines are most often used to create electricity and this is most commonly done with a dam. Water power is not being looked at as a major competitor in the future because the land where a dam would be effective is already in use or cannot be used because of environmental concerns. Scientists believe that hydropower will be most effective on the smaller scale requirements such as, small houses or businesses.
Solar energy is energy gathered from the sun’s rays. Most commonly it is gathered with photovoltaic cells or solar cells. Once it is collected it can be stored in batteries for later use. Solar energy presents many new problems such as; on a cloudy day or at night there is not enough light to create electricity, current knowledge of solar energy limits the amount of energy that can be collected and this adds to the high costs of the technology.
Geothermal energy is energy that originates from radioactive material that is decaying in the core of the earth. With geothermal energy we can make electricity or use the heat to heat houses and buildings. Geothermal energy is gathered by pumping either oil or water into the earth, letting it evaporate and then using the gasses that come out of the earth to run turbines that are connected to electrical generators. A draw back to this technology is that the places where geothermal heat is vented from the earths crust eventually cool off, making that location no longer a usable energy source.
Energy extracted from biomass is called biofuel. Biomass is any recently living organism such as plants or wood that can be burned. Biomass is most often used to create heat as it is quite easy to burn wood and create heat for houses. Other forms of biomass include using soy beans to power engines and other agricultural products to create biofuels such as biodiesel and ethanol. The main drawback to biomass is that in order for it to be used it needs to be grown, collected, dried, fermented and burned. This is an expensive process that requires the facilities to undertake this operation.