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Renewable Energy Sources

The United States currently relies heavily on coal, oil, and natural gas for its energy. Fossil fuels are nonrenewable, that is, they draw on finite resources that will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve. In contrast, renewable energy resources—such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower, and biomass—are constantly replenished and will never run out.

solar

Solar

Solar power is the result of converting sunlight into electricity. Sunlight can be converted directly into electricity using photovoltaics to provide power.

 

 

wind

Wind

A wind turbine is a rotating machine that converts the kinetic energy of wind into mechanical energy. The San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm consisting of 3,218 units delivers 615 megawatts of power.

 

 

geothermal

Geothermal

Geothermal power is extracted from heat stored in the earth from radioactive decay of minerals, and from solar energy absorbed at the surface. This source of power is cost effective, reliable, and has the potential to help mitigate global warming.

 

 

hydropower

Hydropower

Hydropower uses water to power machinery or make electricity. Hydropower uses a fuel—water—that is not reduced or used up in the process because the water cycle is an endless, constantly recharging system.Biomass energy is obtained from plants, and plant-derived materials. Wood, food crops, grassy and woody plants, residues from agriculture or forestry, and the organic component of municipal and industrial wastes can all be used as a biomass energy source.

 

For more information regarding renewable sources of energy, visit the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) website at:

For more information regarding renewable sources of energy, visit the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) website at:

http://www.nrel.gov/learning/

NREL’s website describes their research in renewable energy technologies, and also provides information on energy efficiency and various applications of renewable energy.