Renewable Energy


Energy in its various forms is the basis for sustaining human civilization as we know it today. From the days of the Industrial Revolution, first in England and then in Western Europe and America, energy assumed critical proportions of importance in shaping the lives of men both as individuals and as nations. In the early days of the industrial revolution, coal was the dominant form of energy but with the discovery of petroleum, coal was relegated to the bygone days. Such is the importance that petroleum has had over the last six to seven decades that it has singularly determined the spread of economic resources globally among nations and it has caused armed conflicts both internally within nations and internationally as people fought to gain control over sources of this strategic commodity.

Concerns about Fossil Fuels

Critical issues are being raised about the effects of the incessant gulping of colossal amounts of fossil fuels by industries worldwide. One of such issues is the danger posed by the colossal amounts of noxious gases being released into the atmosphere. Some experts have claimed that these dangerous emissions have already resulted in significant climate change worldwide. Another issue bothers on economics. This concerns the prospect of sustaining the economies of nations that are heavily dependent on the trade and utilization of energy resources which are being depleted daily because they are non-renewable. The prospects look grim in the foreseeable future because most of the known deposits of oil and gas as well as other forms of fossil fuels have a limited lifespan which at most could be a hundred years from now. In the event that this happens, civilization as we know it today cannot be sustained because modern technologies are designed mostly to run on petroleum and other non-renewable fossil fuels. Given this hypothetical situation, it is not surprising there is the current global emphasis on the need to develop renewable energy sources.

So what is Renewable Energy?

Renewable energy is defined as any form of energy that is replenished within human timescales by natural forces. Examples of renewable energy includes solar energy, wind energy, hydro energy, geothermal heat energy, as well as energy from tidal waves and rain. Also included in this definition is the man made biogas. Renewable energy may be used in place of fossil fuels to generate electricity, to heat or cool air and water, as vehicle fuels, and for generating energy in rural areas that are not connected to the national grid. One major advantage that renewable energy sources have over conventional fossil fuels is that they are more widespread over large geographical areas in contrast to the former whose distribution is restricted to certain countries and regions. Another advantage is that these energy sources are environment friendly and as its name implies, renewable energy is readily available being constantly renewed by nature itself.

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