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Renewable Energy: The Future of Power

future of renewable energy

We all know that we have only one planet- Earth, which has enough food, land, and water for everyone if we use her resources judiciously. Human beings, being the most cognitively evolved species, utilize all natural resources for their needs. However, the growing population put a lot of pressure on our natural resources and led to issues such as biodiversity, climate change, etc. Therefore, it’s the need of the hour to harness renewable energy, such as wind, sunlight, water, and geothermal. Let us dive deep into renewable energy to understand its future.

What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy, also known as clean energy, comes from natural processes that can be replenished, such as sunlight that keeps shining. Though we think that renewable energy is new, it has long been used for heating, transportation, etc. We have been using winds to sailboats; the sun is providing us warmth, and many more. But, over the past decade, we have switched to cheaper and dirty sources such as coal due to many reasons. However, now, as we have less expensive ways to harness solar and wind energy, renewable energy is being used more.

Types of renewable energy sources

1. Solar energy

Humankind has been harnessing sunlight for thousands of years to stay warm, grow crops, and many more. Even today, we use sun rays to warm water, heat homes, power devices, etc. Solar or photovoltaic cells are used to harness the power of the sun. Photovoltaic cells absorb sunlight and convert it into solar energy.

Many homeowners and businesspersons install solar panels on their rooftops to reduce their dependence on traditional sources of electricity. This not only helps reduce their electricity bills but also aids in lowering their contribution to carbon footprint. The government of India has also taken many initiatives to increase electricity generation from solar energy. As per reports, India’s solar efficiency has surged from 21,651 MW to 70,096 MW in 2023. Moreover, under the production-linked incentive scheme, India has planned to increase its efficiency to 500 GW by 2030.

India's largest solar park, Bhadla Solar Park, is located in the Thar desert of Rajasthan. It has a generation capacity of 2,245 megawatts, making it the largest solar park in the world. The project was started by the Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation, established as a joint venture between the government of Rajasthan and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Other major solar power plants in India are Pavagada Solar Park in Karnataka, Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park in Andhra Pradesh, and many more. An international public school will offer you in-depth insights into solar power plants across India.

2. Hydropower

Hydropower is one of the earliest and most substantial sources of renewable energy, which utilizes the flow of water to generate electricity. However, ongoing advancements in solar and wind energy will surpass hydropower shortly. Most hydropower plants contain a big reservoir of water, a valve or a gate to control the flow of water, and a place where water ends up after following downwards. Water gets potential energy before it is made to fall on top of the dam or down the hill. As water flows downwards, the potential energy is converted into kinetic energy. The falling water moves the turbine blades, which in turn produces electricity.

There are three different types of hydropower electric plants. The most common is the impoundment facility in which a dam is constructed to control the flow of water which is stored in a reservoir. Once water is released, gravity helps the water flow downwards, which helps move the turbine and generate electricity.

Another is a diversion facility, which you may not have heard before. This type of facility does not use a dam but a series of canals that make the water of the river flow towards the turbines. The third type is the pumped stored facility, which collects the energy produced  by solar, wind, and nuclear plants. The plant stores this energy by pumping the water uphill from a low reservoir to a high reservoir. So that, when there is a higher demand for electricity, water in the higher reservoir is released, which moves the blades of the turbine and produces electricity. Some major hydroelectric power plants in India are Hirakud, Nathpa Jhakri, Nagarjunsagar, Bhakra Nangal, and many more.

3. Wind energy

Wind energy uses the kinetic energy of moving wind to generate electricity, which can be in the land or sea. Though we have been using wind energy (remember the old-fashioned windmills), we have evolved a lot with skyscraper-like turbines. Wind energy turns the big turbines connected to an electric generator that produces electricity.

India has the fourth-largest wind power capacity in the world (44.736 gigawatts). Top wind power states of India include Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Rajasthan. Out of them, Tamil Nadu has the highest wind power generation capacity.

It’s worth noting that you will get to learn more about wind energy at educational institutions such as schools and colleges. Most of the best schools in Nalagarh educate students on renewable energy, such as solar and wind energy, to foster an environment-conscious generation.

4. Geothermal energy

If you have ever bathed in the hot springs such as the hot springs of Manikaran, you have used geothermal energy. The earth's core is as hot as the sun due to the slow decaying of the radioactive particles in rocks. When the earth’s surface is drilled, underground hot water reaches the surface, which is pumped into a turbine to g1enerate electricity. Geothermal energy produces the lowest emission, especially if they use the steam of the hot water and put the condensed water back in the reservoir.

The bottom line

No one can doubt the potential and the environmental benefits of renewable energy. And as global communities are increasing their priority on sustainability, the future of renewable sources is bright. Moreover, the transition to renewable energy will create new jobs in the thriving green economy and encourage technological innovation.