Exploring Renewable Energy

It’s easy to forget how exponentially our technology has improved in recent years. Just a century ago, our world would’ve been unrecognizable to those of us here today; cars were only then starting to become commonplace, movies lacked sound, and devices like personal computers and smartphones hadn’t even been considered.

And yet, despite how far we’ve come in the years since, there are a few things we’ve yet to catch up on, one of the most pressing being the switch to renewable energy.

What Is Renewable Energy, and Why Is It Important?

Most of the world uses non-renewable energy sources like fossil fuels, oil, and natural gas. While we’ve relied on them for many years, they’re unsustainable.

These resources take millions of years to regenerate, making them effectively finite. Worse, they emit carbon dioxide, which traps heat in the atmosphere and contributes to global warming.

Switching to renewable energy sources can help solve both these issues, ensuring a long-lasting, greener energy supply. Here’s a rundown of a few of the most notable and promising sources of sustainable, renewable energy.

Solar Energy

Solar energy comes from our sun. It’s collected with solar panels covered in specialized cells. When light from the sun hits these cells, it’s absorbed and converted into electricity and then routed to an electrical box to be dispersed to different devices.


Because solar energy harnesses the natural function of the sun, it’s not finite or exploitative. Furthermore, since the sun hits the entire planet, electricity would be far more accessible worldwide.


Cloudy days and inclement weather hinder energy collection. In addition, there’s currently no way to store and transport it, so for now, solar panels have to hog space in places that use solar energy.

Wind Energy

Wind energy is a tried-and-true renewable energy, having powered things like boats and farming mechanisms since 5000 BC. Today, it’s helping provide energy to eighty different countries. The energy comes from wind turbines with blades that spin when the wind blows against them. The subsequent spinning motion triggers generators, producing electricity.


The turbines are adaptable to various settings, working everywhere, from cities to rural properties to island communities and resorts. In addition, while energy is required to build the turbines, they’re so effective that they can quickly recoup the cost. They’re also becoming popular with tourists, which helps increase interest in adoption.


Due to their size, it can be challenging to install them in architecturally dense places with no open areas. They also produce noise and can disrupt or endanger wildlife, although efforts are being made to reduce wildlife impact.


Another source of renewable energy that has its roots in ancient history is hydroelectricity. It works similarly to wind energy, harnessing the kinetic energy of water spilling over a dam or flowing down a hill to spin turbines, generating electricity. It’s currently the most widely adopted renewable energy source, accounting for over 70% of the planet’s renewable electricity.


Since most hydroelectric plants are built on dams, they provide many of the same benefits as dams, such as reducing the chances of a flood and helping improve and strengthen natural waterways. It also pairs up nicely with solutions like solar and wind, allowing for high electricity output when faced with high demand.


While the dams can help waterways and prevent erosion, constructing them and the turbines can disrupt nature. Furthermore, while hydroelectric plants don’t produce carbon emissions, the emissions from constructing them can be high. In addition, hydroelectric plants become nearly or entirely useless during drought.

Marine Energy

Marine energy utilizes water, just like hydroelectricity. However, instead of using the kinetic energy from falling water, marine energy uses natural occurrences in large bodies of water, such as the motion of waves and tides and temperature changes, to generate electricity.


Because most of the planet is covered in water, marine energy could become the biggest renewable energy source. In addition, ocean plants like phytoplankton play a critical role in producing oxygen; switching to marine energy would significantly reduce carbon emissions, protecting these plants from the damage carbon dioxide causes.


Until there’s an effective and minimal or no-impact method of storing and transporting marine energy, it only benefits coastal cities. In addition, marine energy generators cause noise pollution, which can annoy those living near them and disrupt sound-sensitive sea life. It’s also not currently a very cost-effective solution.

Geothermal Energy

Deep under the earth’s surface is a blistering hot core, its heat radiating through the depths of our planet. Geothermal energy production harnesses this heat to spin turbines by directly using steam bursting through fractures or mixing hot underground water with colder water or another fluid.


Geothermal energy output is reliable and easily predictable, making it more consistently dependable than some other sources of renewable energy. Not only that, it’s comparable to marine energy in terms of sheer potential, as it wouldn’t take much heat to meet global energy usage.


Unfortunately, even though geothermal is cleaner than traditional energy sources, small amounts of greenhouse gases underneath the earth slip through during geothermal energy production. They also risk triggering earthquakes, as geothermal plants in a country have.

Bio gas

And finally, the last renewable energy source on this list is biogas. A major environmental concern the world is facing is methane emissions. Organic matter from landfills and farms releases methane, which traps heat in the atmosphere far better than carbon dioxide. However, organic matter can be converted into biogas, reducing methane emissions.


In addition to methane reduction, bio gas reduces waste, helping keep landfills manageable. Furthermore, bio gas production is simple, meaning bio gas technology costs are low. Bio gas also creates an abundance of jobs, benefiting those seeking employment in areas with few open positions.


Although small bio gas plants are cheap, they’re inefficient; the cost to construct a plant big enough to serve a large population far exceeds what governments would be willing to put down. Moreover, while bio gas does reduce a good chunk of the methane organic matter would emit, it doesn’t completely eradicate it. It also puts out some carbon dioxide. While this does make it a less green energy source, it’s a small enough amount that it ultimately yields a reduction in greenhouse gas.

What’s the Takeaway From This?

Due to the sheer diversity of the planet’s geography and the layouts, locations, and needs of communities, there may not be one definitive solution to renewable energy. But a complete switch to renewable energy is possible.

Instead of finding just one source to power the whole planet, the solution may be to innovate on what’s available now, making them more efficient and compatible. If we can do that, we’ll be able to take the step into a truly sustainable tomorrow.