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What Is Alternative Energy?
Alternative energy is any energy source that does not use fossil fuels (coal, gasoline and natural gas). Energy generated in ways that do not deplete natural resources or harm the environment, especially by avoiding the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power.
What Is Renewable Energy?

This question gets asked a lot these days and the answer is always a bit complicated. In the simplest terms possible, Renewable Energy is all about harnessing natural processes that have been in action since the beginning of time.

What Is The Difference Between Alternative Energy And Renewable Energy?

The subtle but significant differences between renewable energy and alternative energy have different implications on our environment:


If energy is only renewable but NOT alternative: the energy source supply is infinite, but the generation of energy does produce greenhouse gases or harm the environment. For example, wind power is renewable, but wind turbines pose a threat to flying wildlife, and the land use requirement for wind farms is very high.


If energy is only alternative but NOT renewable: The generation of energy does not produce greenhouse gases or harm the environment, but the energy source supply is finite. For example, nuclear energy does not harm the environment or produce greenhouse gases, but there is a finite amount of Uranium required in the generation of nuclear energy.


In short, renewable energy comes from resources that are in infinite supply but have the potential to harm our environment. Alternative energy does not harm the environment or pollute the atmosphere.

How Many Different Types Of Renewable Energy Are There?

The two main sources of renewable energy – or the ones you’ve most likely heard of before – are solar and wind power.


Solar


We use solar energy every day, from growing crops on farms to staying warm. Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are made of solar cells. A cell is a small disk of a semiconductor like silicon. They are attached by wire to a circuit. As light strikes the semiconductor, light is converted into electricity that flows through the circuit. As soon as the light is removed, the solar cell stops producing power2.


Wind


We can also produce electricity through wind power. A wind turbine turns energy in the wind into electricity using the aerodynamic force created by the rotor blades, which work similarly to an airplane wing or helicopter rotor blade. When the wind flows across the blade, the air pressure on one side of the blade decreases. The difference in air pressure across the two sides of the blade creates both lift and drag. The force of the lift is stronger than the drag and this causes the rotor to spin. The rotor is connected to the generator, either directly (if it’s a direct drive turbine) or through a shaft and a series of gears (a gearbox) that speed up the rotation and allow for a physically smaller generator. This translation of aerodynamic force to rotation of a generator creates electricity.3


Hydropower, Biomass, Geothermal, and Tidal Energy


Other less ‘mainstream’ sources of renewable energy are hydroelectric power, biomass energy, geothermal energy, and tidal energy.


Like other forms of electricity generation, hydropower uses a turbine to help generate electricity; using the energy of falling or flowing water to turn the blades. The rotating blades spin a generator that converts the mechanical energy of the spinning turbine into electrical energy.4


Biomass contains stored energy from the sun. Biomass is organic material that comes from plants and animals. When biomass is burned, the chemical energy in biomass is released as heat. It can be burned directly or converted to liquid biofuels or biogas.5


According to the Geothermal Research Council, geothermal Energy is heat (thermal) derived from the earth (geo). It is the thermal energy contained in the rock and fluid that fills the fractures and pores within the rock of the earth’s crust. Deep wells are drilled into underground reservoirs to tap steam and very hot water. The steam and hot water are then brought to the surface for use in a variety of applications, including electricity generation, direct use, and heating and cooling.6


Tidal energy is produced by the surge of ocean waters during the rise and fall of tides. For most tidal energy generators, turbines are placed in tidal streams. A tidal stream is a fast-flowing body of water created by tides. A turbine is a machine that takes energy from a flow of fluid. That fluid can be air (wind) or liquid (water). Because water is much more dense than air, tidal energy is more powerful than wind energy. Unlike wind, tides are predictable and stable. Where tidal generators are used, they produce a steady, reliable stream of electricity.

Which Renewable Energy Source Are The Best?
Although all of the different forms of renewable energy can be used, the most efficient forms of renewable energy are geothermal, solar, wind, hydroelectricity, and biomass. In the US in 2015, renewable energy accounted for a tenth of the total US energy consumption. Half of this was in the form of electricity. Biomass had the biggest contribution with 50%, followed by hydroelectricity at 26% and wind power at 18%.8 However, these statistics may show the most efficient forms as such because of the availability and popularity of certain types of renewable energy. The more mainstream renewable energy becomes, and the more it is utilized globally, these statistics will change.
How Can Renewable Energy Benefit The Environment?

Renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, are not only great because they can help reduce your carbon footprint, but they also come with other benefits as well. By switching to renewable energy sources in all areas of your life, you’ll find that the environment benefits along with you. Here are some ways how renewable energy can benefit the environment in a very direct way.

Can Renewable Energy Replace Fossil Fuels?

The transition to renewables will be hastened by dramatic improvements in the pricing and performance of such systems. Due to steady increases in the efficiency of wind and solar systems, coupled with the savings achieved through large-scale manufacture, the price of renewables is falling globally…


The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy will not occur overnight, and it will not escape recurring setbacks. Nevertheless, renewables are likely to replace fossil fuels as the dominant source of electrical power well before mid-century as well as make giant strides in other areas such as transportation.


The short answer is: yes. Renewable energy can and will replace fossil fuels in the future, but it will take time for the world to adjust to reducing their reliance on fossil fuels.

How Does Renewable Energy Save Money?
There are a number of ways that renewable energy will save you money. For one, your electricity bill could be lower. Businesses that install solar panels, wind turbines and other forms of renewable energy on their properties and use them to power their operations can meet a significant portion or all of their energy needs. They would also be protected from fluctuations in electricity prices, and could potentially sell their energy back to the grid. When a power outage happens on the main grid, homes and businesses that have renewable energy will not be affected. Renewable energy is also becoming less expensive upfront to buy and install. In the long term, utilizing renewable energy sources either in your home or as a business will save money and reduce the risk of outages.
Will Renewable Energy Sources Stop Global Warming?
Many people disagree over whether or not global warming is real. We are not here to debate that fact; however, we are here to discuss the significant impacts that fossil fuel use has on the environment, and how renewable energy will reduce those harmful effects. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions act like a blanket, trapping heat, which results in frequent storms, drought, sea level rise, and even extinction of animal species. In the US, 29% of emissions come from the electricity sector. Replacing these fossil fuels with renewable energy sources will reduce the amount of harmful emissions in the atmosphere, and will reduce the risks associated with global warming. Renewable energy sources produce little to no emissions during the manufacturing, installation, operation, and decommission. For example, burning natural gas for electricity releases between 0.6 and 2 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour; coal emits between 1.4 and 3.5 pounds of CO2E/kWh. On the other hand, wind produces only 0.02 to 0.04 pounds of CO2E/kWh during a life cycle, and solar produces 0.07 to 0.2; geothermal 0.1 to 0.2; and hydroelectric between 0.1 and 0.5.
How Does Solar Energy Work?
Solar technologies convert sunlight into electrical energy either through photovoltaic (PV) panels or through mirrors that concentrate solar radiation. This energy can be used to generate electricity or be stored in batteries or thermal storage.
How Does A Wind Turbine Make Energy?
Wind turbines work on a simple principle: instead of using electricity to make wind—like a fan—wind turbines use wind to make electricity. Wind turns the propeller-like blades of a turbine around a rotor, which spins a generator, which creates electricity.

Wind is a form of solar energy caused by a combination of three concurrent events:


The sun unevenly heating the atmosphere

Irregularities of the earth's surface

The rotation of the earth.
What Happens If The Sun Isn’t Shining Or The Wind Isn’t Blowing?

The answer to this question is: batteries. When the sun IS shining and the wind IS blowing, solar panels and wind turbines (as well as other renewable sources such as hydropower) produce electricity, and this electricity is stored in large batteries. When solar panels or wind turbines produce more power than we are demanding, the energy gets stored in batteries for later use.


According to GE, a battery energy storage solution offers new application flexibility and unlocks new business value across the energy value chain, from conventional power generation, transmission & distribution, and renewable power, to industrial and commercial sectors. Energy storage supports diverse applications including firming renewable production, stabilizing the electrical grid, controlling energy flow, optimizing asset operation and creating new revenue. Energy storage can help you increase the dispatchability and predictability of renewables, helping to meet strict code and connection permits.

How Can I Use Renewable Energy?

The following are some top green alternative energy tips that will help you get an idea of how you as an individual can incorporate more renewable energy into your life:




  1. Switch to green power. An increasing number of electricity providers offer renewable alternatives, such as wind and solar power.

  2. Use solar power. Active solar power is captured through solar cells and can be stored for later or used immediately to provide heat or electricity. You could also use solar power to heat the water for your showers, dishwasher, and laundry by installing a solar hot water system.

  3. Use geothermal energy. Ground source heat pumps are a way to reduce electricity use for heating and cooling, so its easier to go 100% renewable.

  4. Replace fossil fuels with biomass/biofuels. You can heat your home using biofuels. You can also use a woodstove or pellet stove.

  5. Use wind power. It is more expensive up front, but a wind turbine is a 20-year investment that will save you money in the long run.

  6. Use small-scale hydropower. Micro hydropower can be used, like pumping water to power a generator.

  7. Start smart. When buying a home, make sure it is well insulated and energy-efficient so you use less electricity.

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How Many Solar Panels Do I Need To Power My House?
Its based on the amount of electricity that a residence uses each month.

The amount Energy Your Home Uses: The month to month kWh utilized is generally recorded towards the lower part of most power bills.


The Direction Your Roof Faces: Here in the northern half of the globe rooftops that face the southern sky get more daylight openness than those that point toward the north.


The amount Sunshine You Receive In Your Area: Here in Houston, we may not get very as much sun as say, El Paso or Phoenix. Notwithstanding, on the off chance that you’ve at any point endured a Houston summer, you realize we get a ton — between rainstorms that is.


Which Solar Panels You Are Considering: Solar boards come in all kinds of sorts of designs and effectiveness evaluations. Our professionals can assist you with picking, yet it will have an impact in the number of boards that you’ll require.

What Power Plant Is Better For My Home, Off Grid System Or On Grid System?
With grid-tied systems, the energy you generate is sent into the utility grid. Your panels feed electricity into the grid, which can be distributed to other people in your area.

In return, you receive a credit for the energy you generate, which you can use any time. Think of it like a transaction at the bank: you are allowed to withdraw as much as you deposit. This is what allows you to keep the power on when the sun goes down.

Off-grid systems are different. With no access to the utility grid, you must find another solution to store energy.

For that, you’ll need to add a battery bank to your system. Batteries provide dedicated energy storage. Without any access to power lines, batteries are mandatory for off-grid solar systems.

In summary: grid-tied systems store energy in the power grid, while off-grid systems store energy in batteries.
How Much Power Will a Wind Turbine Produce For My Home?
Small wind turbines used in residential applications typically range in size from 400 watts to 20 kilowatts, depending on the amount of electricity you want to generate. A typical home uses approximately 10,649 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year (about 877 kilowatt-hours per month).
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Alternative Energy Today is dedicated to supporting all clean energy solutions including solar, wind, energy efficiency, and a modernized electric grid. We are committed to ensuring that all people benefit from a just transition to a clean energy future.


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