In 2015, renewable energy made up 10% of all the energy used in the US. About half of this came from electricity. Geothermal, solar, wind, hydroelectricity, and biomass are the best ways to get energy from natural sources.
The biggest share, 50%, comes from biomass. Hydroelectricity comes in second with 26%, and wind power comes in third with 18%.
Geothermal energy is made by using the natural heat of the Earth. With a conduction rate of 44.2 terawatts, there is a lot of energy stored on the planet. A recent report says that by 2021, the global industry will have made about 18.4 gigawatts.
Wind energy, on the other hand, moves huge wind turbines by using the flow of air. The movement of the parts makes electricity. Usually, rows of windmills are built along the coast, where there are no obstacles to stop the flow of air. By 2050, this industry could make up 35% of the US’s electricity production.
Experts think that by then, solar energy could be giving us up to 25% of the energy we need. The estimate is based on systems that use both photovoltaic and thermal solar energy. This might not be too far from the truth, since solar technology keeps getting better and the price of solar panels keeps going down.
Biomass includes things like wood, biofuels, waste, and other organic materials that can be burned to make energy. Carbon is released when the plants are burned, but the process is still considered renewable because the plants can be grown again. The generation will go from 4.2 quadrillions BTU in 2013 to 5 quadrillion BTU in 2040 at a slower rate than the others.
Hydroelectric plants get electricity from the power of moving water. Building dams is the usual way to stop the flow of water. This needs a lot of money to get started, but it doesn’t cost much to run or keep up. At the moment, 7 percent of all the energy made in the US comes from this.
Measuring Renewable Energy Efficiency
We can figure out which of these renewable energy sources is the best by adding up the costs of the fuel, the cost of making the energy, and the damage to the environment. Wind beats out all the other sources by a wide margin. It is followed by hydro, nuclear, geothermal, and solar power in that order.
A formula was made to figure out the standard cost of electricity, or LCOE, for each of the different ways we talked about. The outcome depends on a number of things, such as the cost of capital, the cost of fuel, the projected rate of use, the cost of operation, and the cost of maintenance.
Aside from these, plant owners and investors must also think about how other outside factors might affect the efficiency of the plant. For example, there will always be some uncertainty about fuel prices and how the government will run. One administration could get help from tax credits and other business boosters. Someone else might not be as excited to see it take off.
The levelised avoided cost of electricity, or LACE, is another formula that is used. This shows how much it cost for the grid to make electricity before a new generation project took place. LACE tries to close the gaps in LCOE by comparing how well technologies work while taking into account differences between regions.
Types Of Wind Power
Wind power comes in different forms, such as offshore, distributed, and utility-scale wind. Turbines that are in bodies of water are a sign of offshore. Because of where they are, they are hard to build, which can make them 50 percent more expensive than nuclear and 90 percent more expensive than generators that use fossil fuels.
The utility-scale wind is when electricity is made in wind farms and sent to the power grid, so that utility companies can send it to the end-user. The turbines used have more than 100 kW of power. On the other hand, distributed wind power is sometimes called “small wind” because the turbines are 100 kW or less. The electricity goes straight to the person who needs it.
Wind turbines could be made with either a horizontal or a vertical axis. The first one is more well-known than the second one. These are made up of blades, a tower, a drivetrain, controls, electrical cables, group support, and equipment for connecting groups. Small turbines for homes have rotors that are between 8 and 25 feet across and are taller than 30 feet.
If you are interested in learning about green energy, here’s an article about the advantages of photovoltaic cells.