What is “Renewable Energy” and where does it come from? We all think we know and some of us may even be able to name some of the most prominent sources of renewable energy, but do we really understand the purpose of each type (such as how and where it is used), how much energy it can generate or its wider economic or benefits? Here, we attempt to cut through the fog and give a clear and decisive summary of the information presently available on renewable energy and associated technologies. Put simply, renewable energies are those generated from sources that do not have a finite end, or those that can be recycled (1), typically from natural sources – like solar power, wind power and water power. These are the examples that we think about most when we hear the term “renewable energy” but they are not the only sources.
We use energy every day of our lives – our electronic devices require electricity for power, our streetlights need the same for lighting, our vehicles require gasoline and diesel. We fuel our homes with domestic oil, propane or electricity from a national or local grid for lighting, heating and for powering our devices. You’re reading this article on a website that is hosted on a server that needs power, as does the computer with which you are viewing the site. The places we work use computers, phone networks, security systems and servers, as do our shopping malls, parking lots, sports stadiums, cars, airplanes and so on. All of these things require power from fuel.