HomeOpinion & AnalysisLet’s turn to renewable energy sources

Let’s turn to renewable energy sources

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A RENEWABLE energy source means energy that is sustainable — something that can’t run out, or is endless, like the sun.

When you hear the term “alternative energy”, it usually refers to renewable energy sources too.

It means sources of energy that are alternative to the most commonly used non-sustainable sources  like coal.

The most popular renewable energy sources currently are solar, wind, hydro, tidal, geothermal and biomass.

On solar energy, sunlight is one of our planet’s most abundant and freely available energy sources.

The amount of solar energy that reaches the earth’s surface in one hour is more than the planet’s total energy requirements for a whole year.

Although it sounds like a perfect renewable energy source, the amount of solar energy we can use varies according to the time of day and the season of the year as well as geographical location.

Wind is a plentiful source of clean energy. Wind farms should be an increasingly familiar sight in our country with wind power making an ever-increasing contribution to the national grid.

To harness electricity from wind energy, turbines are used to drive generators which feed electricity into the national grid.

Hydro power is one of the most commercially developed sources of energy.

This energy source can often be more reliable than solar or wind power (especially if it’s tidal rather than river) and also allows electricity to be stored for use when demand reaches a peak.

Like wind energy, in certain situations, hydro can be more viable as a commercial energy source (dependent on type and compared to other sources of energy).

Tidal energy is another form of hydro energy that uses twice-daily tidal currents to drive turbine generators.

Although tidal flow unlike other hydro energy sources isn’t constant, it is highly predictable and can, therefore, compensate for the periods when the tide current is low.

Geothermal energy involves harnessing the natural heat below the earth’s surface, which we can use to heat homes directly or to generate electricity.

Biomass energy is the conversion of solid fuel made from plant materials into electricity.

Fundamentally biomass involves burning organic materials to produce electricity, and nowadays this is a much cleaner, more energy-efficient
process.

By converting agricultural, industrial and domestic waste into solid, liquid and gas fuel, biomass generates power at a much lower economic and environmental cost.

Zimbabwe is a country endowed with natural resources and we should never be in an energy crisis.

As a country, we can make do with some of the above-mentioned energy sources.

Energy Activist

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