At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
The renewable energy industry is a sector of industry which includes the research, development, storage and delivery of renewable energy. In order to get a complete picture of the renewable energy industry, it is necessary to understand the concept of renewable energy and why it is important to its advocates. In addition, it is necessary to understand the sources of renewable energy which help to make up the renewable energy industry.
Renewable energy is energy that can be replenished and will last infinitely. Many countries in the world rely heavily on fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gases, which are non-renewable energy sources expected to be depleted at some point in the future. Proponents of renewable energy technology caution against the environmental damage they say is caused by the harvesting of non-renewable sources. Similarly, extracting non-renewable resources from the Earth can be very costly, which induces countries to explore less expensive, renewable energy sources.
There are many renewable energy sources that have been discovered and there is continued research to find more. The sun indirectly or directly provides most of the renewable energy on the planet. Solar energy derived from sunlight is used directly for heating, cooling and generating electricity.
Another renewable energy source is the wind, which is also indirect solar power, because the sun controls the winds on Earth. Wind power has been captured by using windmills, but currently wind turbines are used to catch the wind’s energy and generate electricity. Wind turbines may also be used for communications and pumping water.
Biomass is the organic matter which makes up the plants on Earth. It is an important renewable energy source that can be used for electricity, transportation, fuel and chemicals. The most popular form of biomass is wood, but food crops and a variety of other plants are used. Biomass is the only renewable energy source which is able to replace liquid fuels for automobiles and it has been proven that biomasses help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Geothermal energy is another type of renewable energy which makes up the renewable energy industry. It is derived from the heat of the Earth. Geothermal energy is most often used by harvesting hot water or vapor from the deep in the Earth’s crust.
Water is the final renewable energy source. The ocean provides energy by its temperature, tides and waves. Similarly, when flowing water is used to produce power it is called hydropower.