The climatic phenomena of recent years are causing increasing concern: the changes that our planet is going through are so obvious that many are trying to limit the damage. How? By adopting alternative energy solutions to protect the environment.
Man has always used every possible resource to survive and produce energy. However, not all resources are infinite, or in any case, they need a long time to regenerate; that is why nowadays the massive exploitation of certain natural elements is a serious environmental problem. Find out what you need to know about energy sources and how renewable energy sources differ from non-renewable ones.
What are the forms and sources of energy?
Energy makes it possible to live on planet Earth and is essential to both humans and other living forms, animals and plants. What commonly provides energy is called an energy source.
Energy sources are found freely in the environment: sun, water and wind are available to everyone, but other resources such as gasoline are also still used today. Are all energy sources the same? What are the energy sources we can find on Earth? All resources used to produce energy are classified into two broad categories: renewable sources, which do not run out, and non-renewable sources, which are destined to end after consumption. As you can guess from the terms themselves, there are differences between the two types, in terms of:
- Availability on the planet
- Renewal times
- Production cost
- Cost of transport
- Impact on the environment and people's health
Let's go into more detail about the specifics of renewable and non-renewable energy sources.
Renewable Energy Sources
Renewable energy sources are obtained from nature and are endowed with an extraordinary capacity for self-regeneration. They are the energy category that is always available and never runs out. In order to be exploited they do not need any processing by man, therefore they do not pollute and are good for both man and the environment. Renewable sources can be defined as sources with low environmental impact, they are essential for our well-being. How can they be used? Generally to produce heat, electricity and light.
They belong to this category:
- Solar energy - Sun energy
- Wind energy - wind
- Geothermal energy - heat
- Hydropower - water
- Marine energy - alternative energy generated by ocean currents
- Biomass energy - coming from the combustion processes in thermal power plants of residues of vegetable and animal organisms, or urban waste. Biomass energy is an excellent example of recycling that is good for the environment.
Non-renewable energy sources
Non-renewable energy sources will be depleted as they are consumed. In order to produce them again, it is necessary to use other resources; this has a great impact on our ecosystem. Non-renewable energy sources are polluting energies.
Some such energy forms are:
- natural gas
All the elements that man extracts from the underground are nuclear fuels or fossil fuels (hydrocarbons), or materials that are burned to produce energy. These processes, however, emit waste consisting of carbon dioxide and toxic gases, which are released into the atmosphere.
Currently, fossil fuels, as harmful as they are, are still the most widely used energy source in the world to produce electricity, heat buildings and operate vehicles of various types.
Creating energy from non-renewable sources is certainly cheaper than choosing renewable sources for the same purpose, but the former mentioned have several problems:
- they are exhaustible
- they are unevenly distributed on our planet
- they cause overheating of the earth's atmosphere
How to overcome these major drawbacks, especially if the climate situation is increasingly critical? Fortunately, many countries are investing in the use of renewable sources for alternative energy production, with great success.
Since energy is responsible for 73% of all emissions, replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy is the main lever to combat climate change.
An incredible example of what can be done comes from Ørsted, a Danish energy company. In less than a decade, it has transformed itself from one of the most carbon-intensive energy companiesin Europe to one of the most sustainable energy companies in the world.
At Ørsted, they aim to achieve zero emissions across the entire value chain by 2040. But not only that , Ørsted wants to empower others to make big changes as well, so that together we can build a promising future.
Ørsted's vision is a world that runs entirely on green energy. Ørsted develops, builds and operates offshore and onshore wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities and bioenergy plants, and provides energy products to its customers. Ørsted is ranked as the world's most sustainable energy company in Corporate Knights' 2022 index of the world's 100 most sustainable companies and is recognized on CDP Climate Change's A-list as a global leader in climate action.
We all need to do our part to protect the environment - each of us can act now.
As individuals and families, we can switch to green energy in our homes and make a smarter choice for our planet. Take action now and call your energy provider to ask if they can offer you a green energy solution. If they can't, switch to a green energy provider today.
As businesses: it can be difficult for workplaces to know where and how to start being green. Take the first step by talking to the manager to ask them to analyze your department's carbon footprint and create a green action plan.
As citizens: Ask the politicians you support to take action to phase out fossil fuels and accelerate the development of green energy technology. Write them a letter or email, reach out to them on social media, call them, or make your voice heard.
In general, buy products that are environmentally sustainable, reduce packaging, allow for reuse and refills, and come from companies that are serious about the environment.
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