Posted on: 3 July 2018
As the world steers away from non-renewable and high-risk power sources such as nuclear energy and fossil fuels, there's still a lot to learn about their renewable counterparts. Technology for renewable energy sources is improving all the time, and that's likely to speed up as even more time and resources are shifted away from old power sources and onto these ones. For now, however, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each type of renewable energy, and how are they used?
Wind turbines are a very recognisable symbol of renewable energy. To some, they are graceful, modern-looking installations that could be mistaken for art sculpture. To others, they're an eyesore. These days, this debate is often sidestepped by building the turbines off-shore, out of sight. They're also able to harness more wind power out on the ocean, where there are no buildings or land masses to disrupt wind speed. However, the construction and maintenance of wind turbines can outweigh the amount of energy they'll produce in a lifetime, so their use may be limited in coming years.
There are many different subsets of hydropower, but they all work in largely the same way. They convert the crushing kinetic force of tidal movements into usable energy. You won't tend to hear much about hydropower in the news, but don't be fooled. This form of power generation is very effective and is widely used — but it may not reign forever. Hydropower farms are expensive. They're also difficult to build and maintain and require very careful placement. As other renewable energy types develop, this kind may retreat into a backup more than a leader.
This is the type of renewable energy that most consumers are more familiar with — and that's partly because solar power can be generated very easily. Although the panels do need to face the right direction, they can be installed almost anywhere and are not prohibitively expensive. They do generate power much more slowly than, say, hydropower — but their efficiency is improving in leaps and bounds as the technology continues to become more mainstream. The more households and businesses that construct their own panels, the better. Soon enough, transparent panels will likely be affordable too. Perhaps that's when this technology will really take off at last.
It's important to explore every type of renewable energy, and there's certainly no harm in utilising a mixture of many different kinds to meet the world's energy requirements. However, for private consumers looking to do their small part, there are currently no options to rival the convenience and cost effectiveness of a solar panel.Share