Renewable Energy

A renewable resource is a resource that can be replenished naturally over time. As a result, it is sustainable despite its consumption by humankind.

Renewable resources are considered especially important for their potential to replace non-renewable, or finite, resources in the production of energy. Additionally, renewable resources can offer cleaner energy solutions than those provided by non-renewable resources such as coal and fossil fuels

Hydrogen System

Hydrogen is a clean fuel that, when consumed in a fuel cell, produces only water. Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of domestic resources, such as natural gas, nuclear power, biomass, and renewable power like solar and wind. These qualities make it an attractive fuel option for transportation and electricity generation applications. It can be used in cars, in houses, for portable power, and in many more applications.

 

Hydrogen is an energy carrier that can be used to store, move, and deliver energy produced from other sources.

Hydrogen System

Solar System

Sunlight is a widely recognized renewable resource. In fact, it’s been used throughout human history to warm shelters, dry and cook foods, and heat water. Different technologies exist and continue to be developed to collect and convert solar radiation into heat energy that can be used for various purposes.

For example solar photovoltaic (PV) devices, or solar cells, change sunlight into electricity. Depending on the number of solar cells in use, they can power small appliances or provide the electricity for many homes

The challenge with using sunlight for our energy needs is that it can vary and, at times, be unreliable. The availability of sunlight depends on time of day, existing weather conditions, season of the year, and geographic location.

Solar System
Wind has a direct relationship to the sun. Daily winds result when the sun’s heat is captured unevenly by the varying surfaces on the earth, including oceans and other water masses. Air above land heats up faster than air above water during the day when the sun is shining. That warm air expands and rises. Cooler air takes its place. This creates wind.

In earlier years, windmills were used across the U.S. to capture energy and pump water from wells. They still exist in some farming areas to provide livestock with water.

Today, wind is harnessed to produce electricity. Wind flows over blades in wind turbines. The blades turn and that drives an electric generator. In turn, that generates electricity.

Typically, wind turbines don’t produce emissions capable of polluting the air or water. Also, they don’t need to be cooled by water. Though rare, they can have some negative effects on the environment if they leak lubricating fluids or catch fire. They can also impact bird life and species.

In 2021, wind turbines provided about 9.2% of total U.S. utility-scale electricity generation.

Wind Power

Geothermal

Geothermal is a renewable resource that uses the earth’s heat to generate power. Hot springs heated by the earth have been used for centuries for bathing. Geothermal energy has also been used, and still is, for district heating systems.

Geothermal energy is used to generate electricity, as well. Power plants for this purpose are built below ground, within approximately a mile of the earth’s surface.

Seven U.S. states have geothermal power plants. In 2021, they produced approximately 16 billion kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity. That equals about 0.4% of total U.S. utility-scale electricity generation. Those states are California, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, New Mexico, and Hawaii.5

Geothermal heat pumps are another way to use the earth’s heat. They transfer heat from the ground (or water) into buildings during the winter and reverse the process in the summer to aide in heating and cooling.

Geothermal