The Leading Source Of Renewable Energy


02 Nov 2017

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"The leading source of renewable energy is hydroelectric energy. It provides more than 97% of all electricity generated by renewable sources worldwide" (Hydroelectric Power, 2009, para. 8). Electricity is produced by the strength of gravity generated by hydroelectric energy (Davinson, 2012). A dam is built to trap water usually in a valley where there is an existing lake. Water under pressure is run through subways in the dam, to turn turbines and hence drive generators (Ouma, 2013). Hydroelectric power is very common for a numerous reasons. Hydropower’s lifecycle is an important key as electricity can be produced consistently for decades and so can contribute to the generation of energy (Ouma, 2013). Often, the lake’s water that forms behind the dam can be used for irrigation, leisure tourism, and water sports (Ryan, 2009). There are however, certain thoughtful drawbacks that have limited the full exploitation of the world’s hydropower potential. The main disadvantage of hydroelectric energy is that they have a big impact on the local environment and eco systems (Ouma, 2013). The change in river stream can causes destructive flooding of big areas of land means that the natural environment is damaged (Ryan, 2009). Dams flood river banks, destroying wetland habitat for thousands of organisms. In addition, finding an appropriate location can be difficult; the impact on residents and environment may be intolerable (Davinson, 2012). Homes, communities, and towns are required to move permanently as a dam construction begins. Although there are many disadvantages, hydroelectric dams are much more reliable than wind and solar power. Hydroelectric dams are very expensive to build. However, as soon as the station is built, the water comes free of charge, and there is no waste or pollution.

Biomass is one of the most commonly use and well-utilised sources of renewable energy in the world. Term of "biomass" refers to organic matter that has stored energy through the process of photosynthesis (Donal, 1999). Biomass can be defined as biological material derived from living. "In the context of biomass for energy this is often used to mean plant based material, but biomass can equally apply to both animal and vegetable derived material " (Palz and Pirrwitz, 1983, p.5). The common way to capture the energy from biomass was to burn something to make heat. The substances use to get energy in biomass such as tree branches, waste products, waste wood and other scraps. The way to convert electricity from biomass is to burn it to produce steam, which will turn a turbine then produce the electricity (Lorenzini, 2010).

According to Mitchell, and Overend (2000), although biomass process using combustion technique to get energy, there is no effect to the increase of the CO2 level in the atmosphere. By using biomass, it can help reducing global warming compared to a fossil fuel-powered plant. Other advantages of biomass are biomass energy is relatively low-cost and reliable. This is because it is generated from everyday human and animal wastes, vegetable and agriculture waste product. The materials are cheap and very easy to get. The use of biomass can reduce dependence on foreign oil because biofuels are the only renewable liquid transportation fuels available (Cheng, 2011). Nowadays, many researchers make a research about biofuel. One day the biofuel will replace the fossil fuel. Although biomass many advantages, it also have disadvantages. Some of the common disadvantages are cost of construction of biogas plant is high, so only rich people can afford it. Biogas plant requires space and produces unwanted smell and collecting or growing the fuel in sufficient quantities can be difficult (Cheng, 2011).

Another useful renewable energy is the wind, the free energy that will never deplete. The wind energy has helped the mankind over many centuries to drive wind turbines. Wind is the moving air energy that is invisible but it is able to generate kinetic energy by its movements. It is a form of energy that is produces by difference of earth’s topography (Maharani, Lee, and Lee, 2009) such as the type of vegetation (Renewable Energy Research Laboratory, 2006). As the wind blows, its movement is very useful as it can be the source of energy that can be "harvested" to generate power supply with the help of the turbine then it will convert the kinetic energy that is produced from the wind’s movement to electrical energy (Renewable Energy Technologies, 2007).

There are always two sides of coins, same goes to the wind energy. It also has its own advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of wind energy are the wind energy is the source of free and non-polluting energy. Its produce no harmful waste and disposal that may affect the environment. Most of others conventional power plant formed air pollutants and greenhouse but not for wind plants (Pehnt, 2006). Besides, as it is the renewable energy, wind will never exhaust and may last forever. It is the boundless renewable energy resource since picking the wind energy will never use up our natural resources (U.S. Department of Energy, 2011). Moreover, process of the wind energy systems does not involve any fuel cost (U.S. Department of Energy, 2011). Thus, it has low operating cost.

Unfortunately, even though the wind power is not the pollutant energy, but it consumed some concern to the noise produced by its rotor blades .The noises emissions from the rotor blade may cause physiological effects to human in long period such as anxiety, tinnitus, or hearing loss (Renewable Energy Research Laboratory, 2006). Besides, its development takes up large space known as wind farm to produce a great amount of energy. This wind farm had caused habitat fragmentation, habitat loss and others anthropogenic impacts to some animals (National Wind Coordinating Collaborative, 2010).Its big rotor also had given bad visual impact and effecting aesthetic value. Many people see large wind turbines as unpleasant structure to look at. They disfigure the landscape and are generally unattractive. The wind turbine also caused much death to bats and birds that fly through it. Most of the birds that fly through the rotating rotor is very defenceless mainly during poor weather condition thus forcing them to fly at low altitude (National Wind Coordinating Collaborative, 2010). This power source is the discontinuous energy source as the wind does not constantly blow when energy is required (Renewable Energy Technologies, 2007).

Solar energy comes from the sun where the sun is 93 miles away from the earth but still supply energy to the earth and it runs the water cycle and it is believe that there will be no fossil fuels if sunlight does not exist (Renewable Energy, 2001). Solar panel is a device created by human to capture the solar heat and convert into electrical energy. There are two groups on how sunlight is converted into energy which are solar thermal and solar photovoltaic (Baharin, 2007). Passive solar thermal can use air to circulate collected energy to heat the building (Baharin, 2007) where active solar thermal use electric pump to circulate water (Renewable energy, 2001). Another group is solar photovoltaic where electricity is produced right from sunlight (Renewable Energy, 2001).

Solar power seems to be the most exploited in recent years. There are some advantages to exploit solar energy if compared to other renewable energy. The implementation of solar panel at home or building can be done by a small organization or by a family by the help of the expertise. The use of sunlight as solar technology maximizes the infinite supply of the sun to produce usable form of energy (Renewable energy, 2001) and solar energy is an infinite free energy (Whitburn, n.d.). Besides, electricity produced from sunlight is free and can save our money in a long term as in the last thirty years, the nationwide electricity cost have been increasing by 6% per year (Advantages of Solar Panels, n.d.). Solar energy at home can be used to heat home or pool. The electricity produced can give advantage when no electric current available, even it is not enough to supply all electric components in home in a long range. But, it is still an advantage to other houses.

Despite having some advantages, the implementation of solar panel for houses or building might result in little output due to weather condition. It is known that the solar energy can only be effectively used at some areas which are hot throughout the years. Another obstacle to renewable energy is cost competitiveness ("Renewable Energy Coming of Age", 2012).

Types Of Renewable Energy Sources

Types Of Renewable Energy Sources

Types Of Renewable Energy Sources


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