Renewable energy, also called alternative energy comes from sources that will not likely be used up in our lifetime”. These energy sources are continuously replenished by nature. The forms of; Water, Wind, the Sun, Earth, and most of its biological products can all be harnessed into Renewable Energy. We have been in this practice of fueling our power needs from renewable energy sources for thousands of years.

Five thousand years ago, ancient Egyptians made boats powered by the wind. In 200 B.C., people used windmills to grind grain in the Middle East and pump water in China. Thermal Energy from the Sun has long been used in basic food processing and preservation practices.

In modern times, we’ve developed more advanced technologies to boost the safety and efficiency of these energy harnessing processes. We can see these achievements with the Hydropower plants, Wind turbines, Solar thermal and Photo-voltaic systems, Geothermal and Biomass Energy. This was catalyzed mainly by the increase in demand for global electricity generation. In the subsequent texts, we’ll look at the various notable alternative energy systems in brief detail.

Hydro Power Plants.

Traditional hydropower plants work by harnessing the force and pressure of water flowing from a high point to a lower end through chutes in a dam. Near the bottom of the chute sits a turbine; water spins the turbine, which creates power that can be transmitted to businesses and homes. In the early 21st century, hydroelectric power was the most widely utilized form of renewable energy; in 2019, it accounted for more than 18 percent of the world’s total power generation capacity.

Wind Turbines.

Today, we capture the wind’s energy with wind turbines. A turbine is similar to a windmill; it has a very tall tower with two or three propeller-like blades at the top. The wind turns these blades. The blades turn a generator (located inside the tower), which creates electricity in contrast to the windmill, which does not generate electricity. Groups of wind turbines are collectively known as wind farms. It is estimated that the global wind farm distribution generates over 650GW of energy each year, and they are being employed in many countries as intermittent energy sources.

Solar thermal and Voltaic systems.

Solar Thermal Energy is the energy collected from the Sun and harnessed to generate heat. On the other hand, the Photo Voltaic (P.V.) system harnesses energy from the Sun to produce electricity using electric photo elements. This form of renewable energy has experienced exponential growth and global acceptance in the past years due to its next to zero carbon footprint and scalability. Data from over 40 countries around the world show a cumulative P.V. capacity of more than One Gigawatts. At the end of 2018, Africa’s total solar P.V. installed capacity reached 5,110 MW, approximately One percent of the world’s solar P.V. capacity.

Renewable energy is considered clean energy since it doesn’t cause severe environmental pollution, and it has low or zeroes carbon and greenhouse emissions.

Fossil fuels which have been the mainstream since the advent of the industrial age, emit high levels of greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide, which are greatly responsible for global warming, climate change, and degradation of air quality.

Hence renewable energy sources have become the new alternative to a safer and sustainable global power generation.

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