In a world where fossil fuels are burned in mass quantities and the supply of such fuels is very limited, different forms of renewable energy have many advantages. These renewable energy advantages have convinced many people to switch away from fossil fuels, which are limited resources that are harmful to the environment. They make this switch because most forms of renewable energy are exactly the opposite; available in an unlimited supply without adversely affect the environment. If various sources of renewable energy are utilized, the renewable energy advantages could result in a cleaner environment and a more sustainable world.
Renewable energy can come in many different forms, each with advantages and disadvantages. Wind and water are both used to gather electricity, as people construct devices that convert the kinetic energy caused by the movements of the wind and water to usable electrical energy. Water is also used to generate energy in other ways, such as salinity gradients or temperature differences. While there are renewable energy advantages to both wind and water, neither has proven to be efficient or convenient enough to remove the need for fossil fuels. It is, for example, impractical to use water or wind to power an automobile.
One major source of renewable energy is the Sun. Solar power has been used for many years because of its advantages. Sometimes, the heat of the Sun's rays are directly utilized for cooking purposes or to cut down on the electrical energy used for heat. In other cases, solar panels are constructed to harvest the Sun's radiant energy and convert it to usable electrical energy. The renewable energy advantages of solar energy are readily apparent; solar panels generally have no impact on the environment and solar power will be available until the Sun dies.
Another form of energy that is sometimes praised for its renewable energy advantages is biofuel, which is produced from plant matter. Unlike in fossil fuel, the organic matter in biofuels do not need to decompose over the course of millions of years. Sugarcane and corn are both used to produce biofuels, which are burned to release the chemical energy that is stored in their chemical bonds. While this is a renewable form of energy, biofuels are often mixed with fossil fuels. The end result still releases many different substances into the atmosphere that are harmful to people and to the environment.