Renewable Energy Sources

The world’s demand for energy is increasing daily. In the U.S. alone, around 75% of human-caused greenhouse gases emissions are due to burning fossil fuels over the last 20 years. Conventional, fossil-fuel based energy sources are becoming severely depleted and their environmental impact, especially the effect of carbon emissions on global warming, is making their continued use an issue of concern globally. Alternative sources of energy, which is anything non-fossil fuel or “clean,” are playing an increasingly important role in both the production of electricity and vehicular transportation.

There are a wide variety of resources and technologies that are regarded as alternative energy sources. Many of these are renewable – resources that are usually found in nature, not depleted through use and able to regenerate constantly, including: sunlight, wind, tides, hydropower and geothermal heat. Others are considered sustainable – resources that can be grown like biofuels/biomass. Green energy resources are those where the overall impact on the environment is neutral.

Renewable resources account for 16% of global energy consumption and around 19% of electricity generation. Wind power alone has an annual growth rate of 30%. The percentage of alternative sources in power production varies considerably across the U.S., but all states are actively pursuing policies to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. Consumers and an informed electorate have helped energize these initiatives.

The continued use of renewable energy sources as alternative power is expected to see much growth as mainstream society continues to improve technology, cost and efficiency in an ever-growing attempt to replace fossil fuels; each industry vying to become the most used alternative energy source around the globe. As the cost of renewable energies decreases and governments begin offering implementation tax breaks for operations and installations, renewable power as an alternative energy source is now a go-to solution on an economic level as well environmental solution.

Resources:

Renewable Energy

Energy Information Administration – Renewable & Alternative Fuels

Energy Information Administration – CO2 Emissions

EPA