For many people, the first thing that comes to mind when you mention renewable energy, is solar power. Over the past couple of decades in the United States, solar power options have grown in popularity by leaps and bounds. In just the last decade alone, the cost of installing solar panels in both residential and commercial areas has plummeted, and solar power tax incentives from the federal government and state governments have made solar power the renewable energy option for most people. However, there are many different types of renewable energy that we can draw from to cut our dependence on non-renewable energy sources, like coal and oil.
Other renewable energy sources include wind power, hydroelectric energy, geothermal energy, bioenergy, and hydrogen power. Wind power is harnessed by using wind turbines. In the last 18 years, the growth of electricity produced through wind turbines in the U.S. has grown over 2700%, or enough to power over 20 million homes a year. Wind power is not a new concept. Windmills have been used for centuries to pump water, among other things.
Hydroelectric energy is power produced by water. In just the past four years, hydroelectric energy production has increased almost 5%. Cities and small towns are figuring out options to use their local waterways in order to provide some of their electricity.
Commercial geothermal power plants have been using geothermal energy to power buildings, greenhouses and more in the U.S. since the 1960s. This clean, renewable energy source is constant and will be available for millions of years to come because it relies on heat from deep below the Earth’s surface.
Biomass is matter that comes from plants and animals. Bioenergy is a renewable energy source that uses biomass to create heat and electricity and to produce biofuels that are used in vehicles, and that are better for the environment than traditional fuel sources.
When it is burned, hydrogen produces very little or no pollution. That makes hydrogen power a very attractive form of renewable energy. To date, the cost of using hydrogen power as a renewable energy source is still higher than other energy sources. Today, hydrogen power is used to produce electricity, process foods, cultivate fertilizer and to power cars fueled by a hydrogen cell.
As time goes on, the United States will continue to explore ways to use renewable energy as a way to power our world. There are many options for North Carolina residents that want to start taking advantage of renewable energy sources today. If you are interested in solar power options, Southeast Power can help. Give us a call today at (919) 771-2901.