Home Energy Education: Renewable Energy

Updated January 18, 2018
home renewable energy
Solar panels on top of a home roof to produce renewable energy.

Renewable energy is gathered from sources that are replenished naturally.

Energy created from wind, rain, waves, tides, geothermal heat, biomass energy, and the sun can power anything fossil fuels do, including the heating and cooling of air and the use of vehicles. While fossil fuels are found in limited amounts around the world, renewable resources offer a much larger supply that's easier to obtain. Renewable energy is growing in efficiency and viability. In many countries, at least 20 percent of their energy comes from renewable sources.

Solar Power

Solar power is the use of the sun's energy to produce electricity. The sun produces enough energy to meet the power needs of the world, but it needs to be harnessed and transmitted using specialized equipment. Solar energy is collected using solar cells, which contain silicon, a semiconductor. When photons from the sun strike the silicon atoms, their energy knocks electrons loose, and these electrons jump between silicon ions, creating an electrical field. Solar energy can also be thermal, using large mirrors to concentrate the rays of the sun to produce steam, which can be directed into a turbine to produce electricity.

  * How Solar Power Works

  * How Does Solar Power Work?

  * Solar Electricity

  * Pros and Cons of Solar Energy

  * Rethinking the Utility Company as Solar Power Heats Up

  * Solar Power 101

Wind Power

Wind power is obtained by harvesting the energy of the wind's motion using turbines. Wind turbines have blades much like those found on aircraft propellers, and these blades are turned by the wind. The blades spin a shaft that is connected to a generator that converts this motion into electricity. Generating power using the wind has many advantages. Not only is it a clean way to create electricity, generating no pollutants that harm the environment, but it's an endless resource. In addition, the wind power development industry brings economic benefits to the areas in which wind farms are located. These areas are often rural, and cash-strapped farmers, ranchers, and other land owners can make a living from wind power rather than having to rely on growing crops that can be affected by droughts, cold snaps, and severe storms.

  * How Do Wind Turbines Work?

  * Wind Energy Basics

  * Wind 101

  * Job Sectors in Offshore Wind

  * Wind Power Information

  * Renewable Energy Sources: Wind

Biomass Energy

Biomass energy is derived from plants and other organic matter. This type of energy has been used throughout history, as far back as humanity's discovery that setting fire to wood could generate heat and light. Although wood is arguably the largest source of biomass that can be used to generate energy, it's not the only one: Energy can also be generated with plants, agricultural residues, algae, and even landfill fumes. At a biomass power plant, steam is produced from the burning of organic material. This steam is fed into turbines to generate electricity. Biomass energy is carbon-neutral, cost-effective, and abundant.

  * Biomass Energy Explained

  * Biomass Energy Basics

  * Biomass Energy

  * How Biomass Energy Works

  * What Is Biomass Energy?

  * Biomass Energy

Hydropower

Hydroelectric power, also called hydropower, harnesses the energy of rushing water to create electricity. About 6.7% of the energy generated in the world comes from hydroelectric power. In locations where there is a waterfall or where a dam can be used to create one, hydropower is a low-cost energy option, though the up-front costs of building dams and power plants can be high.

  * Hydroelectric Power

  * Hydropower

  * Facts About Hydropower

  * Hydropower

  * The Role of Hydropower Development in the U.S. Energy Equation

  * A Brief History of Hydropower

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is energy from under Earth's surface. The deeper you dig toward Earth's core, the more heat you find. At Earth's core, temperatures reach higher than 7,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat of the molten rock below Earth's surface warms water in the ground, and the hot water and steam can be piped upward to use for heating buildings or as a hot water source. The steam from this super-hot water can also be directed into a turbine to generate power.

  * The Basics of Geothermal Energy

  * How Geothermal Energy Works

  * Geothermal Heating and Cooling

  * Geothermal Energy: Exploring Google Parent's Investment

  * Electricity From Geothermal Energy

  * Geothermal Energy

Home Energy Conservation

Energy conservation starts at home, and there are many ways a home can be become more energy-efficient. When individuals and families begin to learn about energy-saving methods, communities and societies often follow, and everyone benefits from lower energy bills and a cleaner environment.

  * Energy Conservation Starts at Home

  * DIY Energy Audit

  * Home Energy Checklist

  * Ten Ways to Save Energy

  * Save on Energy at Home

  * Easy Ways to Save Energy

  * Ways to Winterize the Home

  * Save Money and Energy in the Home

  * Home Energy Yardstick

  * Summer Energy-Saving Tips

  * Six Ways to Save Money and Energy at Home

  * Energy-Saving Tips to Save Money on Air Conditioning

  * Solar Power in the Home

  * Home Solar Power

  * Renewable Energy in the Home