In the past, people went about their daily lives with a more casual mindset when it came to energy consumption and sustaining the environment. People would burn coal without considering the consequences and cut down trees without planting new ones. As time went on, advances in technology, energy prices, and climate change resulted in an increase in alternative energy sources. We will be taking a look at four of the most environmentally friendly sources of energy in the modern-day.

1. Hydroelectric

Hydroelectric power is generated by the flow of moving water. To harvest energy, turbines combine with electrical generators. When the water passes through, the turbines start to spin into the generators. The generators will then transform this kinetic energy into electricity, which can be used as power. Norway is currently a world leader in hydroelectric power. Hydroelectric powers almost 99% of the country’s energy needs.

There are many advantages of hydroelectric energy. The main advantage is that hydropower is renewable, unlike fossil fuels. The water will not stop flowing unless the hydro plant were to deteriorate after many years of use. This makes it a very reliable form of energy, as it has a steady stream at all times of the day and in all weather conditions. This form of energy is also adjustable, as people can ebb the flow of water by using the plant machinery. The reserves in a hydroelectric power plant are also able to collect rainwater. This is helpful for storing drinkable water or for irrigation purposes.

2. Geothermal

Geothermal energy is produced from beneath the Earth’s crust. The heat is generated from the magma found in the mantle. To produce energy from this heat, wells are dug deep into the ground, into reservoirs. From there, the steam and hot water are accessible. It is then used to spin turbines that connect to generators. Geothermal energy is used mainly to heat and cool large commercial buildings.

The major advantage of geothermal energy is that it is renewable, even though the wells will not last forever. It also does not take up very much space to build a geothermal facility compared to other similar plants. A geothermal plant will take up roughly 1,045 square kilometers of land while a wind plant will take up about 3,460 square kilometers to produce the same amount of energy. In addition, geothermal systems tend to be very efficient. Geothermal will use about 25% to 50% less electricity as compared to a typical heating/cooling system.

3. Solar

Solar power generates when sunlight converts into electricity. This most commonly happens through the use of solar panels. Solar panels are comprised of photovoltaic cells and are usually installed on roofs to maximize the amount of sunlight that they receive. The cells absorb all the sunlight and then generate direct current (DC) energy. From there, it transforms into usable alternating current (AC) energy. The AC will then flow through the electrical panel, powering the building.

Solar energy, a renewable resource, has many advantages when used. It provides power to homes and commercial buildings, vastly reducing the cost of the electrical bill. If you generate surplus energy from the use of solar panels, it can be exported back to the grid, and you may receive payments from the government. Once installed, solar panels require very little maintenance. The only thing you need to do is clean them a few times per year, which is a service that specialized cleaning companies offer. In addition to this, there tends to be very little electricity lost during transportation. When energy is distributed between distances, about 3-5% of it is lost. This is not the case when there are solar panels attached to a building, as there is very little distance for it to travel.

4. Wind

The wind has been producing power for us for centuries. Wind turbines and windmills harness the power of wind for our use. The blades of this equipment have a curved design, so as to generate low air pressure on one side and then push the air down. The kinetic energy from the wind turns into electricity by connecting to a generator. Wind farms contain a large number of turbines and/or windmills so as to harness the maximum amount of power possible. To achieve the optimal results, they are planted facing the wind and placed in areas with high wind speeds.

The wind is a renewable resource that does not contaminate the environment. It does not produce any toxic substances that can harm the environment, wildlife, or humans. It also does not generate waste, making it a very sustainable form of energy. The wind is also a very cost-effective form of energy. On average, each kilowatt-hour of energy produced will cost about two cents. The wind sector is very large, and more than 100,000 Americans work in the field. It is projected that by 2050, there will be room for over 600,000 employees to work in the wind sector.

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