The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can, be transferred from one location to another and converted to and from other forms of energy.
The sun is the source of all the energy available on Earth. Energy is essential to life and all living organisms. Our energy decisions impact Earth’s natural systems in ways we may not be aware of. Thus, it is essential that we choose our energy sources carefully. Everything that occurs happens because energy is changed from one form to another. We depend on energy to run our homes and businesses.
In this time of global market uncertainty, one thing we do know is that the world still needs energy.
In the 1700s, human harvest biomass (wood, peat, and animal dung) for heating and cooking.
The rise of the Industrial Revolution created an increased demand for biomass energy. This lead to more trees cutting down more rapidly than they could be grown. An energy crisis occurred in the 18th century. In response, Europeans began using coal as a primary energy source.
The process of industrialization was propelled by many technological inventions. One of them the invention of the steam engine.
The oil industry began in 1859 with the discovery of the world’s first commercially viable oil well in the USA.
It came at a time when emerging technology created new products from oil. One product, kerosene, became popular as a cheap, clean fuel for lighting homes.
America’s first commercial oil well was created at Titusville, Pennsylvania. A new technique was pioneered using a pipeline to line the boreholes to allow deeper drilling. The success of the oil well, plus a demand for kerosene, triggered an oil rush and began a major new industry.
Oil production is among the main culprits of air pollution. When fossil fuels are burned by power plants, they generate toxic gases. This will cause respiratory problems such as asthma and cardiovascular diseases.
More greenhouse gases will be released into the atmosphere. Greenhouse emissions have been trapping unwanted solar heat, which causes temperatures to rise. Wildfire seasons are longer, hurricanes are stronger and heatwaves are harsher.
A renewable energy source means sustainable energy. It is made from resources that nature will replace, like wind, water, and sunshine.
It comes from sources that are replenished naturally, such as the sun and wind.
Wind energy is obtained from the force of the wind. It transforms the kinetic energy of air currents into electrical energy. It is extracted with the rotor, which transforms the kinetic energy into mechanical energy. The generator transforms this mechanical energy into electrical energy.
Harnessing the wind as a source of energy started more than 7000 years ago. Currently, China, U.S., and Germany are the leading wind energy producers.
Solar energy is the ultimate source responsible for our energy sources on Earth. The amount of sunlight that strikes the earth’s surface in an hour is about 173,000 terawatts of solar energy.
When sunlight hits a solar panel, it reacts with silicon crystals in each solar panel to produce an electric current. It creates electrical charges that move in response to an internal electric field in the cell, causing electricity to flow.
From home rooftops to utility-scale farms, solar power is reshaping energy markets around the world.
Our ancestors have been using biomass energy (energy from living things) since the beginning of time. One example is to use wood fires for cooking or keeping warm. It is renewable organic material that comes from plants and animals.
Biomass is direct combustion, which burns agricultural waste or wood to heat water. This produces steam, which spins turbines.
Like solar power, biomass is a flexible energy source, it is able to fuel vehicles, heat buildings, and produce electricity.
Geothermal energy is derived from the Earth’s internal heat. It comes from the heat generated during the original formation of the planet and the radioactive decay of materials. This thermal energy is stored in rocks and fluids in the center of the earth.
On a large scale, underground reservoirs of steam and hot water can be tapped through wells that can go a mile deep or more to generate electricity.
It is now absolutely vital that we optimize our use of sustainable and renewable energy sources. We have to address the problems of global warming, health effects and sustainability of fossil fuel dependency. Thankfully, solar power is becoming cheaper, and many countries have opted to invest in installing solar panels, as well as other forms of renewable energy.
1) Improved public health
Human activity is overloading our atmosphere with greenhouse emissions.
These gases act like a blanket, trapping heat. This results in a web of significant and harmful impacts such as stronger storms, drought, sea-level rise, to animal extinction.
With renewables energy like solar panels and wind turbines, it generates no emissions and no air pollution.
2) Fewer floods and droughts will occur.
Due to the sheer amount of water that is required annually to power the plants that burn fossil fuels, droughts are becoming far more likely. Climate change is also causing floods, which damages thousands of homes every year, rendering people homeless and even causing fatalities.
One example is Hydropower plants. They can be used to regulate and reduce the risk of flooding.
3) Steady source of revenue
Solar power and wind energy investment are rising steadily in the wake of Coronavirus. Wind farms and solar panels are low-risk and reliable things to invest in. Experts are referring to wind farms as havens in the storm that is COVID-19.
Customers prefer to purchase from environmentally responsible companies. Partners and investors are interested in firms that meet certain sustainability criteria. Investing in renewables also shows investors that your company is forward-thinking.