Renewable Energies – Concept, importance and advantages

We explain what renewable energies are, their importance and the types that exist. Its advantages and non-renewable energies.

Renewable energy
Renewable energies are capable of being replenished in time.

What are renewable energies?

When we talk about renewable energy or sustainable, we refer to those that can be used continuously over time without risk (or with a minimal risk) of their exhaustion or extinction.

They usually refer to natural sources of energy capable of being replenished over time, which is why they are also known as alternative energies or, in some cases, as green energies or ecological energies, as they may imply less environmental impacts than traditional sources of energy.

In the contemporary world, humanity’s energy demand is extremely high, both for industrial, commercial, transportation or basic sustenance purposes for households.

Since the Industrial Revolution, when this growing demand began, different methods have been used to satisfy it, generally at the expense of the environment: pollution, destructive mining, logging, burning, etc.

Renewable energies are in this sense safer, but generally less efficient and not always usable, as they depend on the specific geography of the region. For example, wind power requires large plains or windy shores; the solar large tracts of land under the sun; and the hydroelectric large waterfalls.

So far the known renewable energies are:

  • Tidal energy. That takes advantage of the movement of the tides.
  • Solar energy. That collects thermal and light radiation from the Sun.
  • The eolic energy. That uses turbine fields with blades as mills to take advantage of the wind’s thrust.
  • Hydropower. That mobilizes turbines with the force of natural or artificial waterfalls.
  • Geothermal energy. That takes advantage of the high temperature of the earth’s subsoil to evaporate water and generate electricity or heat.
  • Wave energy. That takes advantage of the force of the waves on the marine coast.
  • Biomass or biofuels. Organic fuels developed from waste organic matter.

Importance of renewable energies

Solar energy
Renewable energies are more environmentally safe than others.

Facing the complicated climate outlook facing the 21st century, renewable energies are vitally important in reducing the emission of CO2 and other gases greenhouse effect that pollute the waters and the atmosphere, thus generating greater global warming.

Since energy consumption cannot be limited in a hypertechnological and industrialized world, its sources could at least be substituted as far as possible with more environmentally safe ones.

Nevertheless, there is no method of obtaining energy that is 100% safe for the environment and has no impact on it.

On the other hand, the depletion of fuel resources (coal, oil, uranium) would represent a global economic problem in the long term, which would justify wars and cause humanitarian catastrophes, since goods are limited and scarce in the face of an increasingly world population. big.

Types of renewable energies

Renewable energies are classified into two types:

  • Pollutants Energy sources such as biomass, biofuels or organic fuels, are totally renewable but not for that safer environmentally. In fact, the combustion process they undergo generates gases that are just as toxic and harmful to the atmosphere as traditional fossil fuels.
  • Non-polluting. Although its installation and operation generally has a minimum ecological impact, whether in the transformation of natural spaces, lake dams, etc., there are other forms of renewable energy whose exploitation does not systematically damage the environment, such as solar, wind, geothermal or tidal energy, since its base phenomena (sun, wind, terrestrial heat, tides) would continue to occur, whether or not they were used by humans.

Advantages of renewable energies

Renewable energy
Renewable energies use resources that occur in the same way, whether they are used or not.

The advantages of renewable energies are clear:

  • They do not depend on a raw material whose market can fluctuate and make the acquisition more expensive.
  • They generally have less long-term environmental effect than traditional energies.
  • They take advantage of resources that occur equally, whether they are used or not.
  • They allow low-income countries to obtain energy by tapping into their own geography rather than buying raw materials or, worse, electricity.

Nonrenewable energy

On the contrary, there are numerous non-renewable energy sources, which take advantage of mineral and organic resources that took thousands of years to form, such as oil, mineral coal or uranium. Despite being very powerful and effective, these methods have their days numbered, as their raw material is not generated at a fast enough rate.

Non-renewable energies are:

  • Burning oil and other fossil fuels (coal, natural gas)
  • Nuclear energy (especially the fission of the uranium atom)