Facts About Renewable Energy Sources
Global warming is concerning more people every year. We are all looking for ways to lighten our effects on the environment and reduce our carbon footprint. One of the most effective ways we can do this is to use more renewable energy sources. Cars, homes, and businesses can all break away from the dependence on harmful fossil fuels and uncertain foreign oil, and find ways to generate cleaner, greener power.
It Starts with the Sun
Highly renewable energy sources can come from many places although they all start with sunlight. Solar energy from the sun can power homes and cars both with the heat and the light sent to Earth every day. As sunlight causes changes in temperatures, air pressure is changed, generating wind. Hydroelectricity is generated by wind moving the waves, and by sun evaporating water falling as rain into rivers that serve as sources of hydroelectric power. Everything comes back to the sun.
Solar power is not an ideal source of energy in many places although technology is advancing rapidly and this may not be true in the future. Right now, the most ideal places for solar electricity are somewhat close to the equator. Since direct sunlight is needed for this method of electric production, areas with long sunlit days, such as deserts, are ideal. In these areas, solar power can provide enough electricity to be the only method needed during most or all of the year.
For those who live in climates with shorter periods of sunlight, other renewable energy sources may be better. Hydroelectric power can be an ideal source of energy for anyone living near the ocean or a large, fast flowing river. About 20% of the world’s electricity is currently supplied by hydroelectricity.
Blowing in the Wind
Wind power is just one more of the renewable energy sources being looked at today. Areas good for wind farms would be high on hilltops, on the plains, or along the shoreline. Anywhere there is a large amount of wind during any part of the year, and there are few wind blocks to stop it from freely moving through the area. This technology is rapidly becoming more available to homeowners, smaller, sleeker wind turbines are already on the market that are efficient at lower wind speeds.
The largest wind farm in the world is located in Texas and produces enough wind each year to power more than 220,000 homes. With wind energy, there tends to be more power generated during the times of year it is needed most. In Montana for instance, the winter is the windiest time of the year, producing more wind energy, helping to heat homes throughout the cold months.
The great thing about these highly renewable sources of energy is that, individuals can often generate their own electricity. If you live outside the local power grid, your only option may be to generate your own electricity. If you’re connected to the power grid, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year using solar power.
Many people are generating more power than they can use, especially in the summer, causing their power meters to run backwards generating a credit on their bill. The power companies are literally paying them for providing their extra electricity to the power grid.
The Earth's Warmth
Geothermal energy, using the earth's warmth to heat, cool and hot water is a renewable resource that has a long history. For homeowners, a geothermal heat pump is an affordable way to regulate the climate in your home.
Variety of Savings
Governments all over the world are providing incentives and rebates for using clean, renewable energy sources. In the United States, incentives are provided at the federal and state levels in the form of rebates, grants, loans, tax breaks, and exemptions. Some people have seen as much as 70% savings on the installation of their alternative power sources.
Netmetering is also a big part of the savings you can experience. Individuals can install their own alternative power systems, and have it connected to the local power grid. This allows them to sell any extra power they may have back to the electric company. Some people are actually making a nice supplemental income selling their excess power back to the power grid. So, not only can you save money using renewable energy sources, but you can make some money as well if you live in the right areas.
With all of the alternative methods of energy production available, and the incentives and savings you will experience, not to mention the healthier environment that can result, there is no reason that we should not all be considering renewable energy sources to get rid of fossil fuels and foreign oil dependencies.
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