Clean New Energy – Photovoltaic Solar Energy and Wind Power

Clean new energy provides an alternative to fossil fuels, reduces carbon emissions and promotes energy independence. Solar energy utilizes photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity. Concentrating solar-thermal power uses mirrors to focus the sun’s heat to produce thermal energy and electricity.

Embracing renewables diminishes the dependence on traditional energy sources, curtails greenhouse gas emissions and minimizes individual carbon footprints. It also creates jobs in the clean energy industry and has positive “ripple” effects on local economies.

Solar Power

Solar power is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to transition to clean new energy. Millions of homes and businesses are already using it to replace fossil fuel electricity. It is a flexible technology that can be built as distributed generation (located near the point of use) or as a central-station, utility-scale solar power plant similar to traditional power plants. It can also be combined with storage technologies to provide a complete clean new energy solution.

Historically, solar was used to light torches and other electrical equipment. In 1839, French physicist Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect, in which sunlight was converted into electricity by passing through certain materials. This led to the creation of the modern PV cell, which can be used in solar panels to produce electricity from the sun’s rays.

Today, the technology is used in everything from calculators to satellites. Solar panels are made from silicon or another semiconductor material installed in a panel frame with a glass casing. When the panel is exposed to sunlight, it absorbs photons – very small packets of energy – and releases electrons, producing an electric charge. The electricity can then be used to power a wide range of devices and services.

Solar energy systems are a clean, renewable source of energy Clean new energy photovoltaic solar energy that produces very few greenhouse gas emissions. However, some materials required for these systems are energy intensive to make. Therefore, they can have a high environmental impact over their life-cycles and should be carefully considered in the planning of new projects.

Wind Power

Wind power uses large-scale wind turbines to harness kinetic energy from the air. Like solar, it is one of the cheapest green energy options. It also has the added benefit of requiring no fuel-delivery infrastructure like gas pipelines, propane trucks and coal barges that cause negative environmental impacts.

Wind farms are often sited in remote areas away from population centers to minimize impact on wildlife and local communities. Wind energy is a renewable resource, so its availability is not limited. It is also a clean source of energy with low greenhouse gases emissions, so it doesn’t contribute to global warming. In addition, wind energy requires no water to operate, and it produces few waste products.

Solar and wind power create a lot of good jobs in the United States, including many skilled technicians, engineers, construction workers, and support staff. Local governments also benefit from these projects, receiving lease payments and tax revenues. Farms and rural landowners benefit from new sources of income.

Solar is a practical way for homeowners to work toward a net-zero carbon future by reducing their energy costs and helping to create a more sustainable world. The same is true of wind, although it may not be as practical at a residential level as solar. However, both are part of a collaboration of green energies working together to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and move toward a more sustainable future.

Hydroelectric Power

Hydroelectric power – which generates one sixth of the world’s electricity – is a key source of renewable energy. It has a low water consumption footprint and does not pollute, which makes it an important part of the sustainable solution for a growing global population.

Solar photovoltaic systems use semiconductors to transform sunlight into electrical currents that pass through inverters, which convert the direct current into alternating current. The alternating current is then passed through a transformer, which lowers the intensity of the current and raises its voltage. The resulting electricity can be used directly or fed into the grid.

All streams and rivers flow downhill, which gives them potential energy that can be converted into electric energy. The greater marine the height and the faster the flow, the more energy can be generated.

In 2021, hydropower was the fastest growing source of renewables in the world, led by China (which accounts for 38% of global PV generation growth). These flexible plants — which can be used to cover peak demand times when other sources aren’t available — make up an essential supplement and back-up to wind and solar energy.

Small or pico hydropower systems supply the electricity needs of small communities and isolated buildings without access to electric power networks. The smallest pico systems, which produce up to 100 kW, can provide enough power for a typical home.

Geothermal Power

Just a few kilometers beneath the surface of the earth there is enough heat to meet all humanity’s energy needs. Geothermal energy is a renewable, environmentally friendly form of energy that is available 24/7, has zero greenhouse gas emissions and creates more jobs than any other source of electricity.

Wells, sometimes a mile (1.6 kilometers) deep or more are drilled into underground reservoirs to tap steam and very hot water that drive turbines linked to electricity generators. The first geothermal-generated electricity was produced in Larderello, Italy in 1904.

Unlike photovoltaic and wind power plants, which seldom work at full capacity because of technical limitations, geothermal plants can operate continuously – although they do need to be shut down for routine maintenance or when there are problems. As a result, they can be used to provide clean, consistent baseload power, helping to balance variable renewable resources like solar and wind.

Electricity from geothermal sources can be produced using a variety of designs. Some systems, known as dry steam plants, simply pipe hot steam directly into generators to produce electricity. Other systems, called flash steam or binary cycle plants, use a mixture of water and steam to generate electricity. Geothermal energy can also be coproduced with oil and gas drilling, and is being developed at sites in the United States to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, extend the life of existing oil and gas fields and promote renewable energy technologies.