Learn More about Renewable Energy: What, Types, How

Since we entered the Industrial Revolution, fossil fuels have dominated the energy mix of most countries across the world. For the past 150 years, humans have heavily depended on coal, oil, and other forms of fossil fuels. Yet, the use of this fuel has huge implications towards global climate and human health as well. 

Did you know that three-quarters of global greenhouses gas emissions are produced from the burning fossil fuels for energy? In order to reduce the CO2 emissions and to slow down the climate change effect, the world needs to start shifting to renewable energy. 

What Is Renewable Energy?

Renewable energy is naturally-replenishing energy sources that are relatively limited in their amount of energy available per unit of time.

The use of renewable energy will play an important role in the decarbonization of our energy systems in the coming decades. Based on the Global Energy Review 2020 by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the use of renewable energy in 2020 was 1.5% higher than in 2019. The share of renewable energy in global electricity generation also jumped from 26% in 2019 to 28% in 2020.

Type of Renewable Energy

  1. Hydropower 

Hydropower is now becoming the world’s biggest source of renewable energy where China, Brazil,  Canada, the U.S., and Russia are the leader of hydropower producers.

Since a long time ago, people have been using large dams to harness the energy of river currents. However, as stated in nationalgeographic.com the use of large dams potentially disrupts river ecosystems and surrounding communities, harming wildlife and displacing residents. 

Nothing to worry, dams aren’t the only way to maximize the use of water for power. Tidal and wave energy projects are able to generate about 500 megawatts of power. These powers are created by the tides of the sea. Similar to other forms of renewable energy, it uses equipment to capture energy sources. In this case barrages are used to catch the power of the waves that later on will be used to generate electricity. 

Hydropower as renewable energy. Sourcer: miro.medium.com  
  1. Wind 

The use of wind as a source of energy began more than 7,000 years ago. Surprisingly, from 2001 to 2017, the cumulative wind capacity has increased from 23,900 megawatts to 539,000 megawatts around the world. 

Compared to hydropower, the wind generation at scale is considered as a relatively modern renewable energy but is growing rapidly across the world. The world’s top 5 countries in wind power capacity are China with 221 gigawatt (GW), USA with 96.4 GW, Germany with 59.3 GW, India with 35 GW, and Spain with 23 GW. 

Wind power as a renewable energy. Source: unsplash
  1. Solar 

In the decade from 2007 to 2017, the world’s total installed energy capacity from solar panels faced a whopping increase to 4,300 percent. Several countries such as China, Japan, and the United States are leading the solar transformation. 

However, the use of solar as energy has a long way to go to be maximized as it requires advanced and expensive technology to be concentrated solar power (CSP). Concentrating solar power (CSP) is a system that uses mirrors to reflect, concentrate, and focus the sun’s energy in order to generate electricity. The thermal energy concentrated in CSP can be used to produce electricity when it’s needed.

  1. Biomass

The biomass energy is including the biofuel and biodiesel. Biofuel is an umbrella term that refers to energy made from living matter such as plants. Biodiesel is one of biofuel types. It is considered as oil made from plants (soybean or oil palm) or used cooking oil that can be used as a renewable alternative for diesel. 

Similar to solar energy,  biomass is a flexible energy source for fuel vehicles or even produces electricity. According to worldatlas.com, biomass is widely used for heating and cooking ranging from Haiti, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nigeria.

  1. Geothermal

The geothermal energy is derived from the Earth’s internal heat and has been used for thousands of years in various countries across the world. The underground reservoirs steam and hot water could be tapped through go- a-mile- deep wells in order to generate electricity. 

Smaller scale speaking, some buildings might also have the geothermal heat pumps for heating and cooling. Geothermal energy is always available but it may be followed by the rotten egg smell and the release of hydrogen sulfide as the  side effects. According to thinkgeoenergy, the top 3 geothermal countries in 2019 are the United States with 3,676 MegaWatt (MW), Indonesia with 2,133 MW, and Philippines with 1,918 MW. 

Geothermal energy. Source: cdn.britannica.com

How to boost renewable energy

  1. Set Renewable Energy Targets

Since every country is on their attempts to reduce carbon dioxide, according to Deakin University, every nation can set their own Renewable Energy Target (RET). 

As  examples, In 2015, Australia has set the Renewable Energy Target (RET) to 23,5% for 2020. On top of that, Denmark has set 50% of Renewable Energy Target (RET) for 2020. 

  1. Improve Wind Turbine Quality 

Wind turbines bring a lot of potential energy but they tend to cause noise and that’s why wind turbines are rarely located in the residential areas. As an attempt to maximize the use of wind turbines, it can be a consideration to develop the performance of wind turbines, so it can be used widely in various areas. 

  1. Build Energy Neutral Homes

A house that must produce energy as much as it consumes is what’s called an Energy Neutral Home. As stated in zeroenergyproject.org, Energy Neutral Homes or Zero Energy Homes combine advanced design and excellent building systems to make a comfortable, healthy, and sustainable homes to live in. With a smart design and a good insulation at home, we don’t need as much energy for heating and cooling. 

  1. Reduce The Use of Fossil Fuel 

Since renewable energy is increasingly cost effective and widely used, there’s a glimmer of hope for us to rely less on fossil fuel. By the introduction of various sources of renewable energy and its functions, it’s time for us to start shifting from fossil fuel to renewable energy in order to sustain our daily necessity. The use of solar power as a heater at home might be the most simple way to try. 

Example of using solar power at home. Source: depositphotos.com

Supporting the development of renewable energy, Waste4Change as a company that provides responsible waste management solutions will help companies/organizations to be sustainable and environmentally friendly through Solid Waste Management Research.  We are supporting the research of renewable energy as an alternative way for our clients. For more information please visit w4c.id/SWMR

References

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/energy/reference/renewable-energy/ https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/renewable-sources/

https://ourworldindata.org/renewable-energy

https://this.deakin.edu.au/innovation/six-ways-to-boost-renewable-energy-use

https://www.iea.org/reports/global-energy-review-2020/renewables

https://www.thinkgeoenergy.com/the-top-10-geothermal-countries-2019-based-on-installed-generation-capacity-mwe/

https://zeroenergyproject.org/buy/zero-energy-homes/

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