Renewable energy refers to a series of technologies that harness the energy circulating in our natural environment for human needs. To generate electricity, we can use wind turbines, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, concentrated solar power (CSP), geothermal energy, biomass, hydroelectric, and tidal power. For non-electric energy needs like heating, we can use solar-thermal, geothermal, and biomass. For transportation, we can use biofuels from plants in the forms of biodiesel, ethanol, and algae-based fuels.
There are many great things about renewable energy. The main benefits are fairly obvious. Renewable energy uses fuel sources, like sunshine and wind, that are limitless and available everywhere. They are also free! Most importantly, they do not pose a threat to the environment like traditional energy sources such as coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear energy. These traditional sources are responsible for climate change, atmospheric and local air pollution, acid rain, mercury pollution, nuclear radiation, and a whole host of harmful effects on the environment that occur during the extracting, refining, burning, and waste disposal processes.
As humanity transitions to a sustainable, renewable energy-powered society, we believe that we are witnessing the next step in human evolution. We are living through a turning point in history. Humans learning to harness renewable energy is an enormous breakthrough, similar to our early ancestors’ discovery of fire and the development of tools. It is a discovery that will fundamentally change the course of human history. From this point on, humans will be able to power their work, their play, and their lives with energy that’s abundant, sustainable, decentralized, and accessible to all. That's why our organization is called RE-volv: Renewable Energy + Evolve.
For more resources, visit the Solar Energy Industries Association's customer resources page.