What is Renewable Energy?
Renewable energy, or clean energy, is energy derived from natural sources or processes that are continually replenished on a human timescale, and include sources like sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. With more widespread use of energy from renewable sources, we can lower our future carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which is the primary cause of global warming.
Often thought of as a new technology, utilizing the power of nature for heating, lighting, and transportation isn’t a new thing at all. We have used windmills to grind grain and wind to navigate boats for centuries, but since the 1600s, we have unfortunately looked to easier, cheaper, and nonrenewable energy sources such as oil and coal.
With renewables becoming an increasingly important power source and now accounting for more than one-eighth of U.S. power generation, we have gotten increasingly more efficient at capturing and retaining renewable energy. And this expansion is happening on both a macro and micro level, from solar panels on single homes to giant offshore wind farms and even entire communities working together to utilize and rely on renewable energy. As the need for renewable energy continues to skyrocket, modernizing America’s electricity grid will be crucial, making it smarter, more secure, and an integral part of the infrastructure across regions.