All over the world, major companies are turning to renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal to become more sustainable. However, there are many terms referring to renewable energy, and you may not know what every phrase means! Continue reading to learn about six key terms that you should know.
Let’s start with the most important term- renewable energy. This phrase encompasses many other words, terms, and energy production methods, but the U.S. Energy Information Administration describes it as “energy from sources that are naturally replenishing but flow-limited.” Solar, wind, geothermal, and wave power are just a few examples of renewable energy.
The International Energy Agency states that biomass is any organic matter that is available on a renewable basis. This can include organic waste from industrial sources or feedstock from plants and animals. The IEA also states that bioenergy is energy that is produced from products derived from biomass, and represents about 9% of the planet’s primary energy supply.
Geothermal energy refers to heat from below the Earth’s surface that can be used to produce renewable energy. The U.S. Department of Energy, or DOE, states that geothermal energy supplies renewable power at all times while emitting little or no greenhouse gas, and is a vital clean energy resource for our planet.
Solar power simply refers to energy from the sun. The energy can be harnessed in many ways, such as through photovoltaic and concentrated solar power systems, or CSP. The Solar Energy Industries Association describes CSP systems as “using mirrors to concentrate the Sun’s energy to drive traditional steam turbines or engines that create electricity.”
Wind is actually a form of solar energy, as it is caused by three important simultaneous events that include the sun: the atmosphere being unevenly heated by the sun, irregularities of Earth’s surface, and Earth’s rotation. Wind turbines of various sizes take the wind’s kinetic energy and turn it into mechanical power.
Hydropower is the world’s largest source of renewable electricity and is energy that comes from the flow of water. Turbines are essential parts of hydropower systems, as it’s the powerful flow of water that drives them and produces energy.
Wave power is another form of energy that comes from water, but it is the kinetic and potential energy that is associated with ocean waves. Since there is so much renewable ocean energy, the European Commission believes it could contribute about 10% of the EU’s power demand by 2050.
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