How Renewable Energy Works

You will likely be familiar with the most common renewable energy technologies, even if you are not sure how these are applied. Mainstream renewable energy resources include solar power, hydropower and wind power. But what other types of renewable energy technologies are actually out there and how does society benefit from them?

PIF lifts the lid on developing trends and examines how renewable energy works.

Renewable energy definition

Science Daily defines renewable energy as an energy resource that is replaced rapidly by a natural source, such as the sun, wind or tidal power. This renewable energy definition simplifies the complex nature of renewable energy and makes an otherwise tangled subject matter easy to understand.

Bitesize renewable energy information

The origins of renewable energy generation can be traced back to the use of steam turbines, which were used to generate energy on a farm back in 1905. The industry has since exploded, accounting for more than half of all electricity generation globally.

To date, the renewable sector consists of the following generation methods:

  • Wind power
  • Hydropower
  • Solar energy
  • Geothermal energy
  • Bioenergy
  • Energy storage
  • Biofuel energy
  • Marine energy

Progressive renewable energy technologies that shape the world

Renewable energy generation has experienced astonishing growth in recent years, and has expanded beyond the mainstream technologies we are familiar with. Geothermal development, a type of renewable resource that utilises heat sitting below the Earth’s surface, is one of many cost-effective and environmentally friendly renewable energy technologies that have grown in the last ten years.

Historically, geothermal development was restricted to locations around the boundaries of tectonic plates. Development in equipment and resources have expanded this renewable energy technology to include applications such as home heating and electricity. This opens up an opportunity to utilise this resource across more mainstream applications globally.

Marine energy is another developing renewable energy technology that uses tidal power and kinetic energy to generate electricity that can power homes, transport and industry. Ahead of the game, the UK is described as being the pioneers of marine technology, following the very first ocean-driven renewable energy technology established in Orkney, Scotland. This installation was a breakthrough example of how we can harness energy from the ocean.

Although still billed as an emerging technology, a huge amount of investment has built the marine energy sector into a powerful one. There is a vast amount of potential with marine energy and this could eventually account for a substantial amount of renewable energy across the globe.

There are also many more emerging technologies that are still in their infancy. Considering the historic growth of similar renewable energy sources, such as marine and geothermal, who knows where these new trends could take us in the future? Want to know more? Take a look at our Top 10 Renewable Energy Facts to find out more about how renewable energy works.

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