Natural Energy Sources
There are many natural energy sources that can be used to provide a source of clean and renewable electricity or even used for other purposes such as providing heating for your home or business.
The main sources of natural energy are the sun, wind, water and earth. Out of these, water is the most diverse as it can be used in a variety of ways. The tides and waves of the sea can be used to generate electricity whilst rivers can be held back by a hydroelectric dam to provide power to the masses.
The above renewable energy sources are described below in more detail.
Solar Energy Source
The sun provides a source of energy to the earth in the form of solar radiation. We can use this solar energy source to not only generate electricity but to also heat a water supply.
Photons contained within the sun's rays make the production of electricity possible through the use of a solar panel. The main disadvantage of this type of energy source is that the equipment required to convert the energy into an electricity or hot water supply (for example using solar panels) can be quite expensive and is often beyond the reach of the average household. A reduction or even elimination of energy bills in some cases makes this less of a worry for those who have the initial capital to have a solar energy system installed for their home or business.
Solar energy is the most widely used natural energy source among homeowners.
Wind Energy Source
We can harness the energy of the wind in a variety of ways in order to produce not only electricity but also momentum. Both industrial and home wind turbines can be used to provide a source of renewable electricity.
The problem with renewable wind energy is mainly down to the relatively low output of electricity you could receive depending on your location. To get an economically viable output of electricity you often require an industrial sized wind turbine in a location that has a high average wind speed. With a larger wind turbine comes an increase in noise pollution and high maintenance costs.
Many people opt to use a solar energy source instead of the wind in order to provide a source of electricity.
Water Energy Source
Water contained on the earth can be used in a variety of ways to generate electricity. The earth's seas and rivers can provide a source of renewable electricity to a significant number of people if the conditions are right.
A method of harnessing the seas natural energy source and increasing in popularity over recent years is tidal power. This highly renewable energy source has a huge force behind it and is able to drive water turbines situated around 100 meters out to see as the tides go in and out.
In addition to tidal energy is wave energy. Wave energy is similar to tidal energy in that it has a huge source of energy behind it (the sea). Long cylinder containers can be linked together and anchored to the earth close to a shoreline that has significant levels of wave activity. These cylinders have been designed to generate electricity from the rocking motion that the waves place on the wave energy system.
The main problem with harnessing the earth's natural water energy source is the effect that industrial sized equipment can have towards sea life and towards the blocking of shipping access to various coastlines.
Although the above natural energy sources all depend on various conditions being met, there is likely to be an energy source that's suitable for providing a source of electricity or heating in your area.
- Written by James Bratley