Augusta Free Press

Renewable energy in 2016

As we make our way deeper into 2016, all eyes are on the energy industry. Will things turn around for the better this year, after the less-than-stellar showing in 2015? In 2015, renewable energy sources saw a huge surge, thanks to climbing prices of oil. The coming years, however, could make that increase seem miniscule. Wind and solar energy are quickly becoming more mainstream options in many parts of the world, from North America to developing countries. But what are the pros and cons of moving in this direction?

 

Hydropower

With this type of power, sources of water are used to generate electricity. From small canals used to channel water through a turbine to water-cooled chillers, water is the most common renewable source of energy in use in the United States currently.

On the pro side, hydropower has much in its favour. It is a renewable energy source that is not polluting. There is no greenhouse gas emission and no production of dangerous toxic waste. However, the cost of building dams to put hydropower to use can be quite high, and the ecological damage caused by the dam’s disturbing of the river’s system can be significant. The spawning and migrating patterns of fish can be negatively impacted.

 

Wind power

The power of wind can be harnessed through the use of turbines, which generate electricity. This turbines can be used either by individual households for their personal use, or as a way to contribute to the total output capability of the power grid. As the speed of the wind picks up, its ability to generate power increases. Because of that, it is important to place windmills strategically to maximize their ability to catch the wind.

One of the major benefits of wind power is that wind is a plentiful, affordable and renewable resource that does not produce any emissions. However, the major drawback is that because the production of electricity based on wind power relies on the weather, power produced in this method is intermittent.




 

Solar power

Solar power harnesses the sun’s energy to generate heat, light, electricity, hot water and, although it may seem counterintuitive, cooling power. Solar power is actually used to supply about 1 percent of the total energy needs in the United States, despite the sun’s amazing ability to generate power. This amount, however, is predicted to increase in 2016 and moving into the future, as new and more efficient ways of harnessing solar energy emerge.

Like the other types of renewable energy discussed here, solar energy does not result in the emission of pollutants. However, the manufacturing, transportation and installation involved in solar energy production does result in pollution. Further, one of the biggest drawbacks of this type of power is that the initial outlay to purchase the solar cells can be quite costly, which is why many homeowners are reluctant to utilize this form of renewable energy, along with the fact that installing solar panels can be quite disruptive to the home.

Regardless of whether we embrace renewable energy sources or not, there will almost always be a need for backup energy sources. For that, it’s best to contact companies like www.sure-power.com to find out what your options for backup energy sources are.