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What is Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy Renewable energy is energy derived from a natural source, such that it is in an unlimited quality. Examples include solar power, wind power, geothermal power and hydro power. Unlike burning coal or wood, for example, the rays of the sun are not depleted through the use of solar panels.

Since renewable energy sources are not dependent on the combustion of a traditional fuel source, there are two main benefits of their use. First, from an ongoing operating perspective, these options are generally much cheaper than traditional methods and, secondly, they are more environmentally friendly since they produce little, if any emissions.

Conversely, the disadvantages of renewable energy include potentially prohibitive implementation costs, possible geographical limitations and inefficiencies compared to traditional methods.

Since many renewable energy options, such as geothermal heating, have not gained widespread popularity the equipment can be expensive. These alternatives also often require specialized skills for installation, can also be costly. Fortunately, in an effort to encourage the use of more environmentally friendly power generation options, many governments offer financing assistance or tax incentives to offset some of these costs.

Renewable energy options certainly can be limited be the geography of an area. For example, hydro power is not possible without a moving water source and solar power is likely not a viable alternative in areas with regular cloud cover or inadequate daylight hours. One solution to this problem is to use two or more renewable energy sources concurrently, such as having solar collectors on the roof, but also employing one or more windmills to supplement the solar power.

Renewable energy is also low intensity compared to burning coal or oil. This means the related equipment is often required to cover a considerable area, which can be an eye sore or even an environmental hazard of its own, mostly through interference of animal migration.

The use of renewable energy is gaining popularity on a large scale, with many countries employing wind farms and hydroelectric power plants, but is not as common at the homeowner level. However, with monopolized utility companies in many regions and growing concerns about environmental issues, expect homeowners to begin exploring renewable energy alternatives in larger numbers.

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