Renewable energy sources
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Renewable, regenerative, green, eco-friendly, alternative energy are just different names of the same phenomenon: inexhaustible power sources that will not disappear one day or other. Unlike, say, coal or oil, the solar energy, biomass, wind, wave or tidal power, hydroelectric or geothermal energy will, hypothetically, never or, at least, in the foreseeable future of the humankind, cease to exist.

Introduction of renewable power sources in whatever sphere of life, from industrial sites to homesteads, has recently become a mainstream.

Solar Energy

Solar energy production converts electromagnetic solar radiation into electrical or heat energy by means of semiconductor photovoltaic modules, generally silicon based.

Advantages:

  • Nearly unlimited location opportunities, including both free grounds and roofs
  • Power generation capacity even in cloudy conditions, although somehow limited.

Disadvantages:

  • High effectiveness only in regions with high average sunshine a year (number of sunny days)
  • Particular installation angle required which can be inappropriate to a certain terrain or architectural style.

Wind Energy

Wind turbines convert kinetic wind power into mechanical rotation energy which is afterwards transformed into electrical or thermal energy.

Advantages:

  • Wind turbines can be erected in unpopulated areas or off-shore
  • High effectiveness in the long run.

Disadvantages:

  • Effective performance only in regions of steady and rather strong winds, like coastal areas.

Hydropower/Hydroelectric Energy

Here a water stream is the energy source. Hydroelectric power stations can be built on a barraged/dammed river in order to produce energy from falling water. Otherwise, hydroelectric power stations can be located so as to use ocean streams, tides, waves or osmosis.

Advantages:

  • Hydraulic power is cheaper than energy from other alternative sources
  • High effectiveness in the long run
  • Dams can block fish flows, but can have an advantageous effect on the fish resources of the whole water reservoir and promote fishing industry.
  • Disadvantages:

  • High cost of hydroelectric power station building
  • Landscape alterations for the needs of a hydroelectric power station can have ill effect on adjacent territories.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Heat pumps use the heat energy that is ever present in water and surface soil, which energy is gathered by collectors. The heat pumps can be fed by various energy sources: water, air, ground.

Advantages:

  • High ratio of available effective heat and consumed electric power
  • In addition to heating in winter, heat pumps can be used for air conditioning in summer
  • Applicability to individual homes
  • No expensive design or equipment required.

Disadvantages:

  • Not for agricultural and horticultural lands.